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Supply chain digitization

Navigating the supply chain: Insights from Accuride's industry experts

Learn from Skotti Fietsam, VP of Global Supply Chain at Accuride Corporation, and Matt Crowley, Director of Logistics at Accuride Corporation, as they talk through their professional journeys and how they harness transportation for agility and predictability.

by Sanjana Balaraman | November 9, 2023 | 5 mins read

Learn from Skotti Fietsam, VP of Global Supply Chain at Accuride Corporation, and Matt Crowley, Director of Logistics at Accuride Corporation, as they talk through their professional journeys and how they harness transportation for agility and predictability.

We had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with two incredible supply chain leaders from Accuride Corporation.

Skotti Fietsam, currently the VP of Global Supply Chain at Accuride, has previously worked in manufacturing, procurement, and even e-commerce at global industry-leading organizations. “My career has been a whirlwind of roles taking me across the globe, from Brazil to Mexico, and beyond. After a stint at Amazon, where I gained invaluable experience in e-commerce and technology, I found myself irresistibly drawn back to manufacturing, enticed by the tangible nature of creating physical products. Accuride presented an exhilarating opportunity to continue my journey in this exciting industry.”

Her colleague, Matt Crowley, is the Director of Logistics at Accuride. He began his career at Hinkel Corporation, where he worked for 22 years. “About a year and a half ago, I made the leap to Accuride Corporation, where I've been passionately championing transformative innovation in the transportation sphere ever since.”

In this blog post, we’ll talk about some of the highlights from our Crossroads Conversation session with Skotti and Matt, sharing their knowledge and insights on supply chain management with you.

Driving agility by diversifying their carrier portfolio

Before Skotti and Matt’s time at Accuride began, the organization heavily relied on manual routing with a single carrier, focused on ocean movement alone. These decisions prioritized faster transits, but often faster transits lead to higher costs. With the help of Pando’s TMS capabilities, Matt and his team were able to expand the carrier list to include more options, from cheap to expensive, fast to slow.

In Matt’s words, “Our primary focus in enhancing agility involves the optimization of routing decisions through a cutting-edge transportation management system (TMS). Rather than fixating solely on the swiftest transit options, we've diversified our carrier pool, each offering distinct service levels and costs. This diversity empowers us to cherry-pick the optimal choice based on a gamut of criteria, including transit time and cost.” 

Using data-driven insights to improve predictability

Once they had a TMS in place, the Accuride team found that they were able to gain understanding into a lot of data points they’d missed out on before. “We are bolstering predictability by meticulously collecting data on transit times, enabling us to make more accurate forecasts and, in turn, refine our operations.” Matt explained.

The team collected data on each lane for how long the transits actually are to build a bigger database of information. This helps them predict transits with much higher accuracy.

Achieving 100% visibility across all shipments

“When I came into Accuride, both the Director and Manager of Logistics had left, and with them went the knowledge of where exactly all our containers were located. We ended up spending millions in accessorial fees and charges because we weren’t arranging for our containers to be picked up on time from different ports.” Skotti recalled, “When bringing Matt onboard, I’d said to him that I wanted to be able to pull up a map that pinpoints the exact position of our containers real-time globally. And that’s what we’re able to achieve today with Pando.”

This transparency in knowing the location of their containers at all times proved incredibly useful to Accuride in June 2023, during Canada’s 13 day port-strike which impacted more than 30 west coast ports, disrupting billions of cargo. Matt and his team were able to divert shipments once they realized there was a problem with little difficulty. The task of tracking down 50 containers which would have taken the team a few hours and several website visits, now could be completed with just a click. “The data was at our fingertips.” Matt said.

Charting a course to sustainability by 2039

“Sustainability occupies a paramount position in Accuride Corporation's priorities. We are actively exploring a myriad of initiatives, one of which involves scrutinizing the sustainability practices of potential partners as part of our selection process. Additionally, we are optimizing our transportation practices to mitigate carbon emissions, including the adoption of intermodal transportation wherever feasible. An exciting optimization project is underway, amalgamating large LTL shipments into multi-stop truckloads to drastically curtail CO2 emissions. Matt explained.

Skotti shared some of the initiatives Accuride has taken up from the product front, “From a product perspective, we are championing sustainability through lightweight components. For instance, our aluminum wheels are the lightest in the market, leading to reduced fuel consumption. We're also in the process of developing carbon fiber wheels and venturing into aerodynamic designs for electric vehicles, all aimed at bolstering fuel efficiency and mitigating battery heating.”

Fostering a supportive ecosystem in supply chain

As we wrapped up our conversation, Skotti shared some great advice for women aspiring to join the supply chain space, “My counsel would be to foster a supportive ecosystem for women in the supply chain. Let's actively support and mentor each other while simultaneously encouraging young girls interested in STEM subjects, as the mathematical and scientific skills they acquire are eminently relevant in supply chain careers. By offering opportunities and early involvement, we can make a substantial impact in nurturing diverse talent and propelling female representation in traditionally male-dominated industries.”

Skotti and Matt’s journeys serve as valuable insights into the supply chain industry, highlighting the transformative work happening at Accuride Corporation. Their expertise in transportation optimization, sustainability, and female empowerment showcases the company's commitment to driving innovation and positive change in the field. Whether it's fostering agility, reducing carbon emissions, or supporting diverse talent, Accuride is at the forefront of reshaping the future of the supply chain industry.