Saab's supply chain solutions story Part Two
The decision to go with Infor was based on Saab’s longstanding relationship with the company, confidence in the system and a thorough knowledge of the software. These combined factors meant that levels of trust were high, and the risk involved was low.
The teams then collaborated with Saab Automobile Parts AB’s IT department and agreed that while the timescale was achievable, it presented a number of challenges. Firstly, Saab had a myriad of systems rather than a single ERP solution, and secondly, data quality was inconsistent. Finally, numerous third party hardware, software and consultancy providers were involved, which meant multiple teams were necessary and that some decisions took longer than may have otherwise been the case. However these issues had to be overcome – there was no other option.
“Having the right system to support our operations was fundamental, but of equal importance was the ability for Infor to implement quickly and to our timescales. Failing to meet the deadline simply was not an option,” explains Kent Juter, business project lead, Saab Automobile Parts AB.
In line with expectations, Saab Automobile Parts went live with Demand Planning, to include Demand Forecaster; Inventory Planner; and Replenishment Manager, and Supplier Commerce Portal, in November 2010 following a six month implementation.
Demand Planning helps Saab’s 12 planners to create a live picture of demand at any one time, using advanced statistical capabilities to track and shape demand for 64,000 different parts, minimizing inventory and maximizing service levels. Since using the system, Saab has achieved measurable service improvements, hitting targets of 97.5% based on product availability when an order is placed. It also helps fulfillment in maximizing the number of orders which are picked, packed and shipped before 3pm on the same day as the customer request.
“Demand Planning helps us to manage expectations and deliver consistently high service levels. Without it, we simply wouldn’t be able to plan effectively and meet requirements fully,” Kent continues.
Furthermore, the team now has greater control over the management reports which are flexible, intuitive and easy to use, helping to provide both relevant information and a single view of the truth in the creation of plans.
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AN EFFICIENT SUPPLIER PORTAL
Efficient collaboration with suppliers is also crucial in meeting demand, and Supplier Commerce Portal supports Saab in managing relationships and communication with its network of 1100 suppliers.
“Around 50 percent of our suppliers use EDI, and the rest rely largely on e-mail,” comments Kent. “Supplier Commerce Portal facilitates effective collaboration with all of our suppliers regardless of the systems they use. For each order, Supplier Commerce Portal simply creates a file which then goes directly into the EDI or creates an e-mail containing the PDF.”
“The level of efficiency facilitated by Supplier Commerce Portal means that we are already benefitting from reduced inventory and improved supplier performance.”
“Looking ahead, we are considering a number of additional projects. One of those projects is ‘direct deliveries’ whereby the dealer places an order for a part and the system redirects the order straight to the supplier, who then dispatches the item. This clearly reduces inventory and expedites the order process.
“We are also preparing to use Demand Planning and Supplier Commerce Portal as we plan new warehouses within Saab Automobile Parts AB. The solution’s functionality in supporting multi-level warehouses will be integral in helping to meet this need.
“Ultimately Infor’s supply chain management solutions are helping Saab to achieve its short, medium and long term goals. From a project perspective, the Infor team worked relentlessly to ensure that we were live within unprecedented timescales. And now, the systems are helping us to meet customer expectations in the most efficient, profitable means achievable,” Kent concludes.
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles
FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics.
The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener".
FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”
The changing role of couriers
Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time.
But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse.
“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”
Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds.
Last mile's role in ESG
Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings.