Kingsdown is one of the largest independent sleep-system manufacturers in the United States. Building on a nearly 100-year-old tradition as an industry leader, Kingsdown's premium sleep systems combine handcrafted quality with innovative technology. The company called on UPS Freight Truckload to bring the same kind of attention to detail and advanced technological capabilities to the management of its delivery fleet.
Kingsdown is headquartered in Mebane, North Carolina, and operates four additional manufacturing facilities in Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and Oklahoma. The company distributes its premium sleep systems to hundreds of retailers throughout the United States and internationally.
Previously, Kingsdown outsourced its domestic delivery fleet to a third-party logistics provider. In order to continue growing its business, Kingsdown made the move to UPS Freight Truckload, capitalizing on a long tradition of professional service, an extensive logistics network and advanced IT systems. Additionally, UPS was able to brand its fleet with Kingsdown’s logo and colors – thereby building added brand awareness for the company.
"We made the right choice," said Patrick Flippin, Kingsdown president and chief operating officer. "With UPS Freight Truckload, we moved up from a basic dedicated contract carriage service (DCC) to one with the kind of automation that has expanded our opportunities, lowered costs and increased customer service."
UPS Freight Truckload introduced advanced transportation technology to the Kingsdown delivery network, increasing visibility and providing real-time confirmation throughout every key phase of the operational loop.
Dispatch operations supervisors use automated routing tools that map out optimal trip plans for dedicated Kingsdown operations and trucks departing from the company’s five manufacturing centers.
The routing tool also aids in the loading configuration of the tractor-trailers to ensure that unloading proceeds efficiently. Sophisticated handheld computers with global positioning system (GPS) and scanning capabilities bring tremendous value to the solution.
Complete trip plans are accessible, including a tag number for each product to be delivered and the delivery stop associated with it. As items are loaded onto a trailer, tag numbers are scanned and the data is simultaneously uploaded into the handheld computer and the dispatch management system. At each stop, product verification is captured by the handheld units. Delivery confirmation is transmitted via satellite to the UPS Freight Truckload dispatch system, enhancing visibility and tracking capabilities throughout the Kingsdown fleet.
"Not only are we reducing days in our billing cycle, we’re also getting information about scheduling, routing, deliveries and any discrepancies in real time," Flippin said. "With our previous system, once the trucks left the loading dock we were unable to track them. Now the delivery trucks are an electronic extension of our manufacturing operation."
Flippin views UPS Freight Truckload as a critical part of his business.
"Our fleet is on the front line to deliver solutions that meet our customers’ demands," he said. "The entire UPS Freight Truckload team works hard to help us accomplish our goals."
While on the road, directions for each stop on the route are accessible via handheld computers. The automated trip plan estimates the time and mileage required to arrive at each stop. Operations supervisors can communicate with the fleet using the text messaging feature of the computers, enabling proactive responses in case of unexpected delays.
In addition, the automated route planner also determines if raw materials can be picked up efficiently for Kingsdown on return trips, or if the empty trailers can be filled with third-party freight. Maximized route planning helps drive greater efficiencies across Kingsdown’s transportation fleet.
Key performance metrics captured by the DCC system provide accountability throughout the delivery cycle. Regular management reports validate that UPS Freight Truckload consistently exceeds 98 percent on-time delivery performance and reduces Kingsdown’s total transportation costs.
"The synergy of the information technology that UPS Freight Truckload brings to our company and our customers is vital," Flippin said. "Our expertise is in the furniture and bedding industry. There is no way that we could provide the sophisticated technology that UPS employs to get us to where we are today."