Although its lineage dates back more than 100 years, Comprehensive Logistics Co., Inc. (CLI) can be viewed as a “21st century success story.” CLI is an award-winning third-party logistics (3PL) provider known for its lean logistics solutions for leading OEMs.
A Fast 100+ Years
Incorporated as a 3PL business in 1995, CLI traces its roots back four generations, to 1903, when J.V. McNicholas started delivering goods with a horse and wagon from the train station in downtown Youngstown, Ohio. Today, CLI is excelling for Fortune 500 automotive and adjacent sector OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers by leveraging its ability to meet very stringent lead time and quality requirements in high-volume, high-velocity manufacturing environments. The company manages 18 operations comprising 4.5 million square feet of value-added warehousing and subassembly space with ISO 9001:2008 and ISO/TS 16949:2009 certifications.
A Comprehensive Approach
CLI’s approach combines warehouse, yard and transportation management services. The company specializes in creating dedicated, highly engineered, process-driven manufacturing support facilities that successfully co-locate and synergize logistics operations with value-added services and subassemblies in support of OEM assembly plants.
The centerpiece of the company’s approach is its “plan for every part” (PFEP) methodology. From point of receipt through shipment, CLI effectively and accurately manages the high volume of manufacturing materials while mitigating risk for its customers.
Highly Efficient Processes
From advanced quality planning and highly engineered processes to a superior IT support infrastructure and focus on continuous improvement, CLI’s lean culture delivers measureable results for its customers.
Once facilities reach steady state, CLI’s continuous-improvement initiatives spearhead constant refinements that bring core operations closer to perfection. The company’s engineered approach employs PFEP and derivatives of W. Edwards Deming’s total quality management principles. Each core process is carefully managed to control even the slightest variation.
CLI has spent years perfecting its error-prevention controls through in-depth corrective and process action (CAPA) management. Whether driven by its own continuous-improvement initiatives or evolving customer requirements, CLI manages change through a formal Change Management Request (CMR) process, which fast-tracks and streamlines improvements.
“As processes are designed and begin to cycle, every process will generate a certain number of nonconformances,” CLI’s Director of Corporate Services Trey Lyda explained. “We use those nonconformances to design additional error proofing and controls, whether systems based or otherwise, to improve the process. Each time you go through that loop for a particular nonconformance, it is one revolution of the continuous improvement cycle.”
A Unique System
CLI lets customers see what drives success by affording them 24/7 real-time visibility to material moving through its support facilities. Using its sophisticated STREME™ warehouse management system (WMS), designed specifically for highly complex, high-volume operations, CLI synchronizes material flows to manage inventory levels and event alerts holistically in one system. Robust to handle more than 250,000 scans daily, STREME precisely tracks flow and inventory levels. By pushing instructions to hand-held scanning devices, STREME eliminates task memorization and errors while increasing productivity.
“We have what’s called ‘production status,’ which tells us what everybody is doing every second of the day. It’s basically the tool we use to manage our business,” CLI’s Vice President of IT Steve Olender said. “It [STREME] is a Web-based proprietary system that works with any browser available to anybody, anywhere, including mobile applications.”
The system is animated and user friendly.
“From the point of receipt at our facility, STREME makes it easy for customers to get a real-time, animated view of all touch points for any part at any time,” Olender explained.
STREME fits right in line with CLI’s focus on complete transparency.
“By giving customers visibility and fact-based communications, equal to our own, we make everything transparent. We actually like them to see, in real time, what’s going on in our facilities,” Olender said.
Truly Comprehensive Logistics
With its 99.97% inventory accuracy rate, 99.4% on-time delivery rate, and less than five defective parts per million, CLI has achieved better than world-class standards. There are end-to-end checks to ensure that everything is where it should be at any given moment.
“Customers are looking for security even as they seek out supply chain advantages based on leaner and more capable processes,” CLI’s Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Hume said. “Maintaining launch capacity and executing clean launches are a very high priority as customers look to leverage our core competencies and versatility in diverse outsourced scenarios.”
In terms of new business, CLI executed six major new launches in 2014, including a $20 million investment for a dedicated warehouse, and is focused on the growth of other aspects of its business, including transportation and yard management.
“The key factor in everything we do is transparency,” Hume said. “The environments that we were formed in are high stakes, high speed, high volume, and have very stringent quality requirements. We made a conscious choice, as a management team, to be fact based and open in our communications and let the process science speak for itself that we were going to be forthright and open in our communications.
“This extends to the visibility that our systems create,” Hume added. “The fact that we are personally happy to do open-book pricing and to share our engineering, I think makes us overall easier to do business with. I think customers appreciate that.”
If past performance is indicative of future success, CLI’s growth potential is unlimited. As a fourth-generation, privately held company, CLI continues to experience year-over-year double-digit growth and to reinvest earnings to ensure future growth