When Horizon Lines was sold late last year, it threw a monkey wrench into the engine for many automotive companies. For 56 years, the carrier played a key role in the auto parts business flowing from the U.S. to Puerto Rico and its exit from the market left customers scrambling for capacity.
Lynden customers were in good hands. “We kept an eye on the situation and were ready to help customers find alternatives including our Dynamic Routing service which combines air and sea transport,” explains Mike Nagle, Lynden Logistics Vice President, Strategic Accounts. “We now monitor each sailing to Puerto Rico from a ‘rode as booked, priority containers moved, and how many containers rolled’ measurement. We are doing everything we can to protect our customers and keep the auto dealers in offshore markets supplied with the essential materials and auto parts they need.”
Special attention to offshore markets of Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Alaska is just one of many benefits Lynden offers to its automotive customers which include Mazda, Toyota, Honda, Porsche, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Chrysler, Kia, Hyundai and others. Services like parts replenishment and return, warehousing options and consolidations from major gateways to offshore locations sets it apart from other forwarders.
Lynden’s unique air, ocean and surface options give customers flexibility and the speed needed to reduce shipping delays and prevent lost sales opportunities – air for overnight, urgent shipments or ocean for slower moving restock parts. Bumpers, stereos, tires, fenders, engines, sheet metal and plenty of oversized freight moves through Lynden to auto dealers throughout the U.S.
District Sales Manager Maggie Parks oversees the distribution process for the auto companies she works with from her office in Los Angeles. “The dealers often call me directly when they have an issue,” she says. “This personal contact is a differentiating factor along with our company-owned and operated offices in offshore markets of Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico. With our own people onsite, we can call on the dealers to personally check in and resolve situations. Boots on the ground is a huge advantage.”
For long-term customer Mazda, Lynden picks up freight from the company’s Parts Distribution Centers (PDCs) throughout the Lower 48 and ships them via air to Hawaii and Alaska and ocean to Puerto Rico from various points including Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Lynden also handles Mazda’s inbound freight from Malaysia, mostly comprised of navigation and stereo equipment for dealer installation. Pictured right, Lynden’s Maggie Parks is with Joe Wright at Mazda North American Operations Headquarters in Irvine, CA.
Lynden is sometimes asked to step in and mobilize quickly. Last year, employees made a presentation to a potential customer on a Thursday. They were awarded the business on Friday and began moving freight from San Diego to Puerto Rico on Monday. Within two months, 215 loads were delivered with 99 plus percent on-time performance.
Another customer asked Lynden to repair a deteriorating situation with a company handling delivery of spare and replacement parts to its Alaska dealer network. Using Dynamic Routing, the customer chose a transportation mix based on preferred delivery schedules and a goal of lowering operating costs. The Lynden team went one step further by developing an Auto Parts Handling guide for the customer outlining specific procedures for shipping parts.
“Lynden’s creative approach reduced shipment damage through improved packaging and handling procedures and resulted in a significant reduction in claims for the customer in just the first year,” Nagle says.”
Pictured left, Guthrie Adams wraps a consolidation for shipping in Lynden’s Portland warehouse. Damage-free shipping and claims prevention is always a factor for customers, but it is extremely important in the automotive industry. “Auto parts can be tough to handle. We sometimes have packaging integrity issues with shipments coming from Asia,” says Sam Parsley, Operations Manager at Lynden’s Portland Service Center. In one case, head lamps were arriving in a plastic bag inside a cardboard box with no padding. Lynden’s operations team made a suggestion to the manufacturer and the head lamps now arrive packaged securely in foam.
Lynden recently met a shipper’s requirement for no trans-loading or disturbance of a container-load of hand-packed auto parts from Taiwan. The parts rode ocean to the Port of Seattle where the container was picked up and loaded onto a steamship to Alaska. The parts arrived untouched and in perfect condition (see photo) at Pro-Fit Parts in Anchorage. Owner Mike McGovney said he was having trouble finding a way to get the parts shipped direct to Anchorage and called Lynden. “We were sending parts to Las Vegas and repacking them for shipment to Anchorage which was very costly. Every time they are touched there is a risk of damage,” he explains. “One of our selling points is guaranteeing customers direct delivery of after-market parts from the manufacturer. Lynden allows us to keep that promise,” he says.
Lynden is known for finding solutions. “We want to ensure that the parts get to the destination in good condition so they can be put into the system immediately,” Parsley says. “We also build affordable consols that allow our customers to enjoy air transport at barge pricing,” Parsley says. “Our packaging and prices are hard to beat.” Lynden ships three to four containers each week from Portland to Anchorage for automotive customers.
“Lynden has been a great partner for us here at Mazda. They provide a great service, but additionally, they clearly understand the customer service piece,” says Joe Wright, Transportation Manager for Mazda North America Operations in Irvine, CA. “Throughout their organization, their staff really wants to get it right.”
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