Case Study 2: The Synergies of
Logistics and Systems:
The client is a third
party logistics provider to a major European manufacturer of consumer
packaged goods. The client runs three distribution centres across
Western Europe, taking deliveries from manufacturing sites, and, in
turn, delivering to a range of sites (from hypermarket level to 'mom
and pop' outlets. A range of contracted carriers makes these
The manufacturer uses SAP (R3) as its ERP system,
while the client runs EXE Technologies Exceed warehouse management
The client was suffering severe
problems with distribution of transportation instructions to
carriers. Delivery instructions were being transmitted from the
manufacture's system, via a VPN to the local WMS. Pick sheets were
produced locally and, once picking was completed and confirmed,
delivery notes were printed. These printed delivery notes were then
being faxed to the carriers. This was obviously a time consuming and
error prone method of handling data transmission.
manufacturer demanded that any systems based solutions should be
available on a 24/7 basis, and to support this any servers involved
should have full fail over cover.
- The client insisted that any
solution should cope with the fact that not all delivery instructions
received could be executed (stock shortages etc.).
manufacturer was planning to change ERP systems and was therefore
unwilling to invest any time or money in modifications to SAP.
client wanted rapid results that would not impact current
developments on the WMS application.
identified a downstream data source - a package used at the loading
dock to print shipping labels. This package produced an output that
represented EXACTLY what had been loaded to a truck, thus minimising
any possible data discrepancies. This package produced a clean ASCII
file detailing cartons, weight, address etc.
together with a one off extract from the ERP system, 3DL were able to
construct an engine that could produce output ready for input to the
hauliers' own systems. This engine was prototyped using MS Access and
demonstrated to client remotely.
Given the costs of duplicate
servers etc, this solution was impractical for a rapid deployment at
each of the client's sites: to solve this, 3DL converted the engine
to operate on a web based server (with fail over). This enabled each
location to load its daily output to a web based application, which
then translated this into instruction files for hauliers and
transmitted these instruction via either FTP or email to the
hauliers' desired location.
This solution took approximately one
week of elapsed time, and produced a rapid payback. It has since been
enhanced with further functionality and has also been integrated into
a self-bill system for the client, enabling even tighter management
of the hauliers.
Use of web based
technology allowed a rapid, low cost system to be deployed which met
all client criteria and time scales. Investment costs were minimised
with public domain software while development costs were cut to a
minimum through the use of offshore labour, working via the internet
to remove travel costs.
For low investment the client achieved
a long lasting solution that made significant operational savings across its
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