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TOYS 'R' US GIVES VENDOR-OF-YEAR AWARD TO AMERICAN PRESIDENT; First Award to a Transportation/Distribution Provider

 OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Toys "R" Us (TRU), which operates more than 700 stores in the United States and in 11 other countries, has given its top vendor-performance award to the American President Companies (APC) (NYSE: APS) group for supporting and improving the toy firm's global distribution activities. It is the first time the giant toy retailer, based in Paramus, N.J., has honored a transportation or distribution firm with its vendor-of-the-year award.
 "The award is especially significant because its shows how companies like TRU can achieve their highest objective in the current business environment: reducing costs while improving customer service," said Peter Young, senior vice president of marketing and business logistics for American President Lines, APC's ocean transportation arm. "TRU is an innovative retailer, and they were willing to explore innovative, cost-effective distribution approaches that spanned both their domestic and international activities."
 Information Is the Key
 TRU said APC earned the award in large part because of its ability to keep the toy retailer's traffic, purchasing and distribution operations apprised of the contents and status of each shipment. "The timely, accurate flow of information and documentation to support a global distribution program like TRU's can literally be as important as the actual movement of goods," said Maureen Saul, TRU's director of traffic.
 "With as many as 9,000 containers of TRU cargo expected to move between global markets during 1993," said Saul, "the management of our consolidation, transportation, documentation and customs clearance operations is a monumental task. APC is now helping us manage these operations electronically, using proprietary shipment-tracking systems that they customized to meet our needs." The result, said Saul, has been a substantial reduction in the time and effort required to manage paperwork, correct errors and correlate data. "It gives us a competitive edge," she said.
 18 Distribution Centers to Satisfy
 TRU is now achieving additional efficiencies by further streamlining the logistical process, with APC's help. According to Don Baylous, TRU's director of purchasing administration, much of the inbound freight moving from Asia to TRU's 18 U.S. distribution centers has had to be deconsolidated at the West Coast because it was not pre-sorted, by destination, in Asia. Now, before TRU shipments even leave Hong Kong, APC receives the merchandise from multiple vendors and allocated it to the specific intermodal containers that will carry it directly to each of the U.S. distribution centers.
 Electronic manifests allow the merchandise to be precleared by customs while the ship is still at sea, and most shipments can be transferred directly to connecting intermodal rail services upon arrival at the West Coast.
 "The new process eliminates the need for deconsolidation on the West Coast for most of the merchandise, thereby reducing overall costs," said Baylous. "Of equal importance, we can better satisfy our distribution centers' inventory needs. The distribution centers gain an additional 12-13 days' advance notice in which to plan subsequent deliveries to the stores, and the stores get their new products and inventory replenishments faster," he explained.
 A Team Effort
 Bob Bushner, vice president of the American President Business Logistics Services unit that developed the program for TRU, said he is pleased with the integrated capabilities of APC's operating units. "The units are dedicated to working cross-functionally to meet the customer's overall international and domestic logistics requirements," he said.
 Based in Oakland, American President Companies provides container transportation services in Asia, North America and the Middle East through an intermodal system combining ocean, rail and truck transportation. American President Business Logistics Services, also based in Oakland, provides total logistics solutions for international and domestic clients.
 -0- 8/19/93
 /CONTACT: Peter Young of American President Lines, 510-272-7496; or Carol Fuller of Toys "R" Us, 201-262-7800/

CO: American President Companies; Toys "R" Us ST: California, New Jersey IN: TRN SU:

TM -- SF001 -- 4197 08/19/93 09:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 19, 1993

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