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How Bush Brothers Got Much More Than a Canned Network Analysis With Coyote’s Supply Chain Consulting

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About Bush Brothers

Bush Brothers has been a family-owned business operating out of Chestnut Hill, TN since 1908. Most famous for their canned baked beans, they currently offer an extensive lineup of products including multiple varieties of canned beans, side dishes, soups and snacks. They ship millions of cases of product nationally.

Coyote Services They Rely On:

Challenges and Results

Bush Brothers’ Challenge:

Setting a resilient long-term warehousing and transportation strategy after successfully navigating pandemic-era volatility and cutbacks.

Results With Coyote:

Our supply chain consulting team used Bush Brothers’ logistics data to conduct a successful simulation analysis of three unique facility placement scenarios. We consolidated this data into a concise, impactful deck for presentation to Bush Brothers’ internal stakeholders.


Bush Brothers Sense a Simmering Supply Chain Challenge

Like many companies, Bush Brothers adopted a “survive and advance” mentality during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the beginning of 2020, they were operating out of plants in Wisconsin and Tennessee with forward warehouses in the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest. But when the economy and labor force took a hit from COVID, they made the difficult decision to exit their forward warehousing and ship directly from their factories.

By June 2021, business was booming, as it was for most CPG businesses during this unusual time — they shipped a record number of cases in 2021. But the company now faces strong inflationary transportation headwinds that have intensified over the past year plus.

In particular, they are contending with:

  • Fuel costs that spiked in early 2022 as a result of disruptions to the global supply stemming from the ongoing war in Ukraine.
  • A warehousing capacity crunch driven by universally high inventories, resulting in warehouse owners seeking longer-than-normal five-year leases.

“Coming out of COVID, we said, ‘OK, we’ve got to figure out what we want to do from a systematic network perspective,’” said Ben Belk, Director, Logistics at Bush Brothers. “We understood [Coyote offered] some value-added services, and we said ‘We don’t have the bandwidth — and frankly, maybe the capability — to do this on our own.’”


Coyote Helps Boil Down a Complex Data Set

Bush Brothers first reached out to us to assist them with their supply chain planning in June 2021. From there, we conducted an analysis for them in two phases.

  1. We priced out what their network would look like with projected FY 2023 case demand from customers.
  2. We conducted a scenario analysis to assess how their overall spend might be affected by utilizing forward warehouses in their network.

For this analysis, Bush Brothers provided us with input data in the form of their master item list paired with expected demand by ship point, customer, SKU and week. From there, we mapped out multiple manufacturing and distribution scenarios based on the following variables:

  • Where would they produce each SKU?
  • Where would they ship to customers from?
  • Would they utilize forward warehousing?
  • How much interfacility freight would they ship?

boiling down data into actionable insights

Throughout this engagement, the Bush Brothers team felt heard and accommodated at every turn. 

“I’ve been a part of a lot of network studies,” said Belk, “and to me, what was great about working with Coyote was having a single point of contact, the cadence of the [Coyote] team reporting out as we were going, and even pausing when we were being ambiguous about where items were going to be made, where sites were going to be.”

This commitment to clear communication and fastidiously accurate data resulted a concise, compelling, and action-oriented report created in February 2022 that the Bush Brothers logistics team could take to company leadership to make recommendations.

“Coyote really helped us distill the dense, rich information down for our leadership team,” Belk said. “We created four or five pages that weren’t overwhelming from a data perspective that our CEO and Chairman of the Board could understand extremely quickly.”

At the end of the day, Bush Brothers chose a balanced approach — a scenario which allowed them flexibility and upside on manufacturing capacity and a distribution strategy that is both cost-sensitive and focused on agility and service.

They are confident that this decision, backed by their own data and our rigorous analysis, will help them respond effectively to any further market volatility.


We Know Beans About Supply Chain Strategy. Let’s Talk About Outsourcing.

Our outsourced supply chain team has seen it all, and we are more than happy to handle any or all of your logistics needs.

You can ask our outsourced logistics specialists about network analysis and consulting like we conducted for Bush Brothers, RFP management, KPI tracking, sustainability initiatives or even a fully managed supply chain.

Think you might be ready to turn over the keys to a trusted outsourced provider? Just fill out the form below to get the conversation started.

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