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The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

December 2011 Annual


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Special Technology Report Round-up: ERP PLANNING VOICE AND WMS DECEMBER 2011


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A move in the right direction With all the ongoing dramas concerning the future of the Euro and talk of a doubledip recession it is encouraging to see the UK Government introduce a new initiative of up to £125 million, set up to improve the global competitiveness of UK advanced manufacturing supply chains. In essence, the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative aims to help existing UK supply chains grow and achieve world class standards while encouraging major new suppliers to come and manufacture here. The new fund will support innovative projects in established UK advanced manufacturing sectors such as aerospace, automotive and chemicals. It will also target newer growth areas where the UK is well placed to take a global lead, such as energy renewables and other low carbon sectors. The competitive fund will invite applications early in the New Year and, according to the Government, will be flexible in the type of support offered to successful proposals. The initiative sets out to recognise that, to fulfil their potential and address market failures, suppliers and supply chains may require a combination of investment in capital equipment, associated R&D and improved skills and training support. Business secretary Vince Cable has commented that recent economic and natural shocks such as the ash clouds, tsunami and Japanese earthquake have shown the fragility of long-distance and single-source supply chains. “I want to seize on the increased preference that big global companies are showing for co-locating key elements of their supply chains with their UK manufacturing operations,” he said. “British suppliers have a lot to offer and we need to help them realise and develop their strengths and sell them on the international market.” While still encouraging free trade, the business secretary added that he also wants to gain maximum value for the UK by ensuring suppliers are in the best position possible to compete for the very significant new private and public investments being made in the UK over the next few years.

Ed Holden Editor

John Cridland, CBI director-general, said the initiative will enhance our manufacturing competitiveness and build on strengths in advanced engineering, research and innovation. “Better coordination of effort and a concerted focus to develop areas of comparative advantage will create new manufacturing jobs and drive growth as part of a rebalanced economy,” he remarked. “This initiative will help ensure we make the most of value chain opportunities in key sectors such as chemicals, food, automotive and aerospace. It is a clear step in the right direction as part of a new approach to industrial policy.” Applications will be assessed by the Technology Strategy Board. Its chief executive Iain Gray commented that the Board’s goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. He added that this competition provides an opportunity to see innovation move rapidly into the market across whole supply chains in a broad range of advanced manufacturing sectors. Although the Government rightly or wrongly suffers its share of flack in terms of the level of industry support it provides, the new programme has to be welcome news and will complement and work alongside other publicly funded schemes such as the Regional Growth Fund, Growth and Innovation Fund, Manufacturing Advisory Service and UK Trade and Investment to maximise impact. Let’s applaud this move in the right direction.



December 2011



IT December 2011



CONTENTS Manufacturing and Logistics IT December 2011

Transportation Focus 6

Norbert Dentressangle

The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

ERP technology report 10

Editor: Ed Holden Publisher: Dean Taylor

Change and opportunity

Manufacturing 15

Exel Computer Systems: Mobile CRM – doing business wherever business needs to be done

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December 2011

Supply Chain 49

Columbus: Itʼs easy once you know how ByBoxʼ 365-day-a-year service ready for any challenge


Norbert Dentressangle

Transportation Focus

Driving growth Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with Arnaud Giuliani, IT director for Norbert Dentressangle's UK Transport business, and Grant Robertson, IT director for the company's UK Logistics business, about the transport and logistics giant’s recent landmark acquisitions, the benefits of a lean management structure, and how a sound IT infrastructure is critical in order to provide the best possible service to the end customer. or over 30 years, Norbert Dentressangle has experienced continuous and controlled growth. From its origins in 1979, with the development of international transport on the Europe/UK axis, until recent years, in which it has acquired a truly international dimension, the company’s growth has been based on the objectives of satisfying customer requirements, optimising its IT solutions, improving overall company performance and winning new markets. The company currently employs over 33,000 people globally.


Between 1979 and 1989: Norbert Dentressangle created an international

road transport company in London, and business soon flourished in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and the Benelux countries. The years 1997 and 1998 saw the company acquire several leading French companies in the logistics market. However, it was in 2007, following the acquisition and integration of the Christian Salvesen company, that Norbert Dentressangle became an undisputed major European player within the Transport and Logistics marketplace. More recently, this status has been further reinforced with the integration of Schneider’s Freight Forwarding activities in the USA and China during 2010, and the integration of TDG during

Arnaud Giuliani: Strong customer focus. 6




December 2011

2011, which has further strengthened Norbert Dentressangle’s three areas of expertise: Transport, Logistics and Freight Forwarding. Following on from the TDG integration has been the recent completion of the acquisition of APC Beijing International, the China-based

Because we operate in different markets and in different geographies we can switch transportation tasks to a number of partner businesses or our own fleets, depending on availability and suitability.” – Arnaud Giuliani, Norbert Dentressangle. freight forwarding company. This transaction strengthens Norbert Dentressangle's network in China, a major hub for international trade, and enhances its service offering in airfreight forwarding.


Transportation Focus

In the first nine months of 2011, Norbert Dentressangle’s consolidated revenue totalled €2,640 million, up 24.9 per cent on a published basis versus the same period last year. Organic growth contributed to the increase, with revenue advancing 6.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis, excluding the impact of TDG, consolidated as of 1 April 2011. Transport revenue for the nine-month period was up 19.9 per cent including TDG, and up a strong 7.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis. Norbert Dentressangle gained Transport market share during the period with growth of some 5 per cent, without passing on the diesel fuel impact. Logistics revenue grew 25.8 per cent on a published basis due to the integration of TDG, which continued to increase its contribution to Norbert Dentressangle’s revenue stream. On a likefor-like basis, Logistics revenue rose 4.1 per cent in the first nine months of 2011, with a continued uptrend reported, notably in the UK, Norbert Dentressangle's leading Logistics market. In terms of governance, Arnaud Giuliani, Norbert Dentressangle’s IT director for Transport Services, explained that since 1998 the company has relied on a lean

Norbert Dentressangle

management structure, which facilitates quicker decision making and faster reaction times to both in-house and customer needs. The Supervisory Board is headed by chairman and founder Norbert Dentressangle. Reporting directly to the Supervisory Board is the Executive Board, headed by CEO Francois Bertreau. This two-tier management structure jointly controls the activities of the company’s three main divisions; Transport, Logistics and Freight Forwarding. “Keeping close to customers is what we’re good at, and our flat management structure certainly helps in this respect,” said Grant Robertson, IT director for Norbert Dentressangle’s UK logistics business. “Without layers of management in place, effective decisions can be made faster and more effectively.” Norbert Dentressangle’s clients cover a wide range of vertical sectors; primarily automotive, aviation, cardboard/paper, domestic electrical, food industry, food packaging, high-tech, hygiene & cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, retail, textile and industrial and chemical/petrochemical. Quality and safety are key drivers for the company. Norbert Dentressangle’s quality management system monitors customer satisfaction at all

levels, while its training policy develops employees’ skills in order for the company to provide the best possible service to customers. Norbert Dentressangle is also fully compliant with all current regulations; including ISO, SQAS, COMAH and HACCP standards. By anticipating and managing risks, Norbert Dentressangle teams’ objective is to avoid all types of accident linked to the transport and storage of dangerous substances (explosions, fire, water pollution, inhalation of toxic gases). Its teams are trained to anticipate and react to any risks and the company’s buildings are equipped to ensure optimum safety standards (sprinklers, holding tanks, etc.). In terms of Transport, Norbert Dentressangle’s distribution networks are ADR certified (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road).

IT infrastructure – Transport division Because of the different business and operational nature of the company’s Logistics and Transport businesses these separate divisions have their own specific IT infrastructure requirements. “Within Transport, we have a strong multi-country footprint and need to keep very close to our customers in each of the 15 separate countries we serve,” explained Arnaud Giuliani, head of IT for Norbert Dentressangle's UK Transport business. The division relies on two data centres – located in France and the UK – in order to ensure 24/7 availability of the division’s IT systems. Within these data centres Norbert Dentressangle relies on VMs, mostly comprising Intel-based servers, while the core of the company’s systems is IBM iSeries based. “We completed this virtualisation exercise three years ago and it has worked very well for us in terms of greater flexibility and cost savings,” said Giuliani. The Transport division provides a number of different services to customers under a wide range of service-level agreements (SLAs). Giuliani points out that the division provides flexible and tailored solutions from single




December 2011



Norbert Dentressangle

pallet to full load, through to managing transactional business processes and 4PL activity. “Because we operate in different markets and in different geographies we can switch transportation tasks to a number of partner businesses or our own fleets, depending on availability and suitability. We always look to use the best means of transportation and the best transportation provider to ensure each service-level agreement (SLA) is best served.”

Core systems

Transportation Focus

The Transport division also utilises the Cloud for non-core data storage and access. Guiliani points out that typical Cloud-based applications tend to be related to such disciplines as payroll and email. Core systems such as SAP are kept on premise because, as Giuliani explains, the information stored on them largely defines Norbert Dentressangle as a business. He added that core systems such as SAP also ensure that acquired companies are quickly and seamlessly integrated within the organisation as a whole. They also ensure close links with

…regardless of the applications we use we always look to follow the same flexible strategy because it’s this that keeps us close to our customers.” – Grant Robertson, Norbert Dentressangle.

In terms of back-office IT, the Transport division uses SAP across Europe. SAP is also partly rolled-out within the UK, although this remains work in progress. The SAP system first went live in 2004, and as other companies have been acquired by Norbert Dentressangle the reach of the system has been further extended. SAP is used within all 15 countries the Transport division currently operates within.





December 2011

customers on a day-to-day basis.

Telematics asset tracking and traceability From a vehicle monitoring perspective, the Transport division of Norbert Dentressangle made a substantial investment in Telematics during 2010, sourcing its system of choice

from a major UK-based provider. “This Telematics system is important for us for two main reasons; fuel efficiency and safety,” said Giuliani. “The system helps us to monitor how vehicles are being used and what can be improved in order to ensure greater levels of driver safety. In fact, we have already seen a considerable drop in accidents since implementing the system.” The Transport division has invested in a large volume of Motorola handheld RF scanning devices for the drivers of its fleets. Additionally, Giuliani comments that because the Transport division not only relies on its own internal drivers but also sub-contracted partners, it is critical that full traceability is never jeopardised, regardless of who is delivering goods to the customer. Giuliani explains that the division has therefore invested in around 1200 Smartphones for its partners in France and Portugal and intends to roll out similar handhelds within the UK in the near future. The Smartphones are sourced from a number of the leading suppliers, and are installed with Norbert Dentressangle’s preferred uniform application software.

Business Intelligence Another area where the Transport business of Norbert Dentressangle has made a sizeable investment recently is in Business Intelligence with Qlikview. This, explained Giuliani, is in order to benefit from greater analytics related to customer buying trends and customer service requirements. He added that the company also needs to think about its own people and the way they work together. “This is ultimately how we are able to provide the best possible service to our customers,” said Giuliani. “Therefore, IT focus is based around internal productivity and collaboration.” As an example, Giuliani pointed out that the Transport division went Gmail in order to benefit from web-based chat and video chat and other collaborative tools – Gmail being accessible anywhere and via a wide range of mobile devices. “We set out to ensure that the level of collaboration across the network is as effective as it can be,” he said. “When you've got thousands of people within an organisation you have to ensure they have the


Transportation Focus

best means to work efficiently and flexibly as a team, and be able to quickly adapt to changing requirements on the go.”

IT infrastructure – Logistics division With regard to the Logistics division of Norbert Dentressangle, Grant Robertson explained that one of the key differences between Transport and Logistics is that the latter revolves around a per-country strategy. “Within Logistics there are no uniform systems across the division or across different geographies,” he said. “It's very much a percountry solution, and the reason for that is that our IT strategy follows our business strategy in terms of being close to customers and providing solutions in a localised fashion.” In terms of the IT estate used by the Logistics division in the UK, Robertson explained that Norbert Dentressangle runs its infrastructure from two UK-based data centres. The company has a number of in-house IT departments that are focused on bespoke

Norbert Dentressangle

solutions design for the customer. Robertson pointed out that Norbert Dentressangle also has in-house teams focused on system implementation and the continuous support of these implementations. The in-house teams also undertake integration work, ensuring the best links between Norbert Dentressangle’s own systems and those used by customers. “Everything from solution design, implementation, integration and ongoing support are key functions for our in-house teams,” said Robertson. “And regardless of the applications we use we always look to follow the same flexible strategy because it’s this that keeps us close to our customers.” Because the IT systems used are largely developed around the needs of individual customers, Robertson explained that the Logistics division doesn’t deploy a ‘one size fits all’ IT strategy. “We have a mix of warehouse management and transport management applications,” he explained. “Some of those are applications completely developed by our own staff and some are package solutions where the core system is provided by a third party. We will then

Grant Robertson: No ‘one size fits all’ IT strategy. manage the integration, algorithms, reporting and the data extraction ourselves.” Robertson pointed out that RedPrairie is one good example of a package solution the Logistics division uses for warehouse management. “In this instance, we manage the integration in and out of RedPrairie,” he said. “We also implement it and support it ourselves. This keeps us close to the solutions and close to our operations as well. Whether we use in-house solutions or package solutions we believe it is important that we largely manage these systems in-house. However, although we do the ongoing support ourselves we naturally have maintenance contracts with package solutions suppliers such as RedPrairie. Within the Logistics division, all back-office IT systems are hosted on-premise, with the exception of payroll, which is a Cloud application (as is also the case in the Transport division).Robertson explained that the Logistics division is also planning to roll out the use of the Cloud-based Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS)in the UK shortly. In conclusion, Arnaud Giuliani and Grant Robertson stressed that their divisions’ respective IT infrastructures are primarily geared around the company’s focus on delivering the best possible service to the customer. “This is the main driver for all of us,” said Robertson. 




December 2011



Special technology report ERP

Change and opportunity Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of key spokespeople within the ERP vendor, systems integrator and process management community, about the current state of play, together with a look at potential future trends. ike any technology vertical within

to provide the automated, integrated means

demanding that

the manufacturing and logistics IT

of accessing and adding to the flow of

employees squeeze

space, the functionality of

business-critical data across the whole

more and more

Enterprise resource planning (ERP)

enterprise and its business stakeholder

productivity from

solutions is being constantly

network – everything from manufacturing,

their working day,”

orders, finance & accounting and more.

he said. “If the


changed and adapted, both to better leverage a particular ERP vendor’s USPs, as

companies ERP

well as to better fit the current business and

But where are the key developments to be

system is able to

operational requirements of the target end-

witnesses in early 2011, and how are both the

deliver the user with

user base – and let’s not forget the need to

vendors active R&D departments – and the

the right information,

keep up with a raft of changing legislation

end users’ changing requirements – steering

easily and

related to things such as standards, quality

these changes? Kevin Bull, product manager

effectively, allowing it

control and the environment. The basics of an

at Columbus IT, first focuses on user

be manipulated and

ERP system may remain largely the same; ie.

productivity. “Business pressures are

presented, the

Andy Latham, managing director

Business Technology Group

business becomes

With the increasing use and availability of mobile phones, iPads and iPhones, users are expecting to have company information at their fingertips when out and about with customers and suppliers alike.” – Andy Latham, K3 Business Technology Group.





December 2011

better positioned to react to change and opportunities. Modern ERP systems need to be intuitive and easy to adapt and easy to deploy, they need to be able to seamlessly share data with desktop tools.” Bull also



Special technology report

observes that compliance has become an increasing burden in many businesses; both from a legislative, environmental and quality management Kevin Bull, product manager

perspective. “ERP systems need to include tools that allow business

process documentation to be generated and held in a central resource and linked to system processes,” said Bull. Richard Turner, ERP solutions director at CSC, considers that one of the recent key talking points has been Oracle’s move to the new R12 E-Business Suite. “This has been

environment and reduction of carbon

allowing users remote connectivity to their

due to the announcement that from November

consumption has been talked about for

operations, and this requires data to be

2011 there will be an increase of 20 per cent

generations,” he said, “but in the last ten

available at all times to all users, anywhere.”

in support costs for prior releases, and final

years huge strides have been made by

Orme added that the ability to access

legislative patches will be released March 2013,” explained Turner. He added that the Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) Release 12 is a major new addition to the market, with significant changes in

ERP systems need to include tools that allow business process documentation to be generated and held in a central resource and linked to system processes.” – Kevin Bull, product manager, Columbus IT.

data model and

governments in the way

business systems worldwide, without the need

they legislate on this

to load client software, is now a necessity for

area, and provide

any business.

incentives for businesses to

According to Phil Burgess, RVP, base ERP

demonstrate their own

sales at Infor, Mobility is a key area of

reductions.” In the UK,

development. “People expect this capability

Norwood points to

these days due our familiarity with a range of

programmes such as

mobile devices and the ubiquity of wi-fi and

the CRC Energy

broadband,” he said. “Simply put, the

functionality, especially in the Financials

Efficiency Scheme, which have accelerated

expectation is that it should be as easy to

product area. “It introduces centralised

the need for organisations to report accurately

access any enterprise app as easily as

functionality to handle accounting, taxation,

on their use of carbon throughout the

anything at home, on the move.” Another

access to data across organisations and

business. “This is extremely complicated to

development, says Burgess, is to be found in

offers more flexible implementation options

do,” said Norwood, “but making it an integral

the area of reporting – KPIs, balanced

than were available in Release 11i,” he said,

part of enterprise-wide systems, such as

scorecard, BI etc.

pointing out that this is in order to meet

Epicor, can remove a lot of the headache,

“Reporting still rules a

today’s wider variety of business needs.

improving governance and reducing risk.”

lot of reasoning,” he

Jonathan Orme, sales operations manager at

remarked. “You must

Exel Computer Systems, observes that more

be able to make

‘Green’ incentives

and more companies now demand browser-

informed decisions

According to James Norwood, senior vice

based ERP solutions from their system

based on the

president of product marketing at Epicor, one

providers. “These businesses,” he said, “are

intelligence in the

key area is carbon accounting. “The

looking to continually increase productivity by

business. This is now ‘uber-critical’ as

… in truth, full-blown ERP SaaS offerings are only just reaching a point where customers are prepared to entrust their businesses to them.” – James Norwood, Epicor.


every decision (especially in the

James Norwood, senior vice president of product marketing

current finance climate) must be



December 2011



Special technology report ERP

external systems to

Globalisation is pushing organisations towards centralisation and standardisation, resulting in simplification in order to compete and react swiftly to changes in business, markets and regulatory and security needs or to locate goods and services in lower cost markets.” – Richard Turner, CSC.

be easily defined and easily maintained, without having to resort to specialist technical software personnel and by using the internet as a

rock solid. The better your handle on information (especially cash flow and


connectivity pipeline.

projections), the better access to funds you’ll

Gordon Fleming, senior executive and chief

Cost of ownership is

be likely to have.”

marketing officer at QAD, believes that

further improved

integration remains a key challenge for ERP

through the use of

Andy Latham, managing director K3 Business

users and vendors alike. He comments: “When

these tools.”

Technology Group, concurs with Burgess on

we look at the proliferation of point

the mobility front. “With the increasing use

applications, many of which are in the Cloud –

and availability of mobile phones, ipads and

such as Salesforce.com for CRM or Workday

SOA uptake

iphones, users are expecting to have

for HRIS – we see a need to integrate not only

Norwood’s view is that there have not been

company information at their fingertips when

with applications in the same data centre but

any major shifts in ERP integration the past

out and about with customers and suppliers

also with applications that are in the Cloud.” To

two years, “since Service-Oriented

alike,” said Lathan. He also reflected that

address this, Fleming explains that QAD has

Architecture (SOA) has been widely

handheld factory devices are now popular for

both an integration layer and API set called

considered to be the most reliable way to

increased real-time transaction processing for

QExtend. QAD has also developed a set of

integrate systems”. But, what has changed,

capturing crucial business information. “The

connectors to common applications, whether a

according to Norwood, is the uptake of SOA

days of a factory being a shift behind with

specific application for common applications or

in organisations of all sizes. “The technology

their data are long gone,” he remarked.

generic for applications classes. “These

has proven itself, and middleware toolsets are

connectors allow simple integration and simple

available such as Epicor Service Connect, to

maintenance,” said Fleming.

simplify the process of both application-to-

Of late, Dinesh Mohan, industry principal, enterprise solutions at Infosys Technologies, has been observing a growing trend of backto-basics among ERP product vendors. “… product vendors are now going back to the drawing board to see how the product can be provided more as a platform that enables customers to quickly build additional functionalities their businesses need, with minimal incremental costs,” he said. Thus,

Richard Turner, ERP solutions director

application and business-to-business integration, giving IT decisions makers the

[The Cloud concept] feels like a

major shift in the same way as it did when the trend moved from large mainframe computers to client server, but things are definitely going in that direction.” – Ian Wahlers, Lawson.

says Dinesh, the modern breed of ERP will

confidence to wrap legacy applications in SOA wrappers and create solid reliable connections between their applications.” Orme also focuses on the SOA theme. “Modern-day system providers who have listened to customer demands have tailored their architecture to be SOA enabled, thus

see more infrastructure and plumbing (read

allowing integration with other software or

forms, workflow capabilities, integration

According to Bull, customers are looking

mechanisms for data input,” he said.

adapters, BI capabilities, security, etc.)

increasingly to find end-to-end solutions. And

However, he adds that there is still a big

coming from the

while ERP systems have made huge bounds

requirement for ERP systems to contain the

package vendors

over the past decade to function within more

majority of the functionality, as companies do

while the customers

and more corners of a business, Bull believes

not want costly and time-consuming

will design the

there will always be requirements to integrate

integration projects that need constant

interiors (read

with specialist software and hardware. He also

upgrading and maintaining to keep abreast of


maintains that connectivity in a modern global

the latest versions of all the software solutions

process modelling,

economy means that businesses need to

in place.

integration and

communicate and collaborate with members of

reporting) with the

their supply chain in many facets of business

help of their interior

activity; from product design through to product

Fully connected

designer (systems

returns and recalls. Bull continued: “Modern

Burgess considers that businesses now

integrator firms).

ERP systems include web service tools that

rightfully demand that systems be able to talk

allow the connections between both internal and

to one other. “Technology should live and act

Ian Wahlers, industry strategy director





December 2011



Special technology report

Officers (CIO) to

Reporting still rules a lot of reasoning. You must be able to make informed decisions based on the intelligence in the business. This is now ‘uber-critical’ as every decision (especially in the current finance climate) must be rock solid.” – Phil Burgess, Infor.

accept SaaS. “The era of the IT empire is dying, and the modern CIO is one who is focused on

as one these days,” he said, “from a CAD

Smart Office, which integrates Microsoft

the needs of the

system to ERP to Microsoft to document

Office, makes the screen very personable,

company and

management and so forth.” He added that, in

facilitates online chat, pulls together a

aligning with the

the case of Infor, its ION approach to

company’s enterprise applications, and much

business,” he

interoperability is all about ensuring fully


remarked. “The

connected systems. “Based on the OAGIS

On the application side, Wahlers has seen

growing acceptance

standard, ION has really opened up the Infor

things go very much down the end-user

of Cloud ERP is

portfolio to work together,” Burgess enthused.

vertical route, with ERP being more

beginning to change the mind set of ERP

“On a wider industry level, I think it is fair to

specifically tailored to certain vertical markets.


say that people have been talking

This, he believes, has been one of the biggest

open/interoperable systems for a while – but

shifts. Integration-wise, whilst adding

In the enterprise applications market, Dinesh

in reality not making much progress.”

functionality along that vertical capability,

considers that the most notable first mover on

Wahlers has no doubt that users want to

the SaaS model has been CRM. “We can also

Turner observes that, in simple terms,

integrate vertically along their supply chains

see substantial HR management, benefits

integration-related developments are indeed

more and more. “And while the core essence

administration and Payroll functions being

taking place. However, he adds that these

of manufacturers or distributors is making

offered in a SaaS model,” he adds. “The

developments are only slowly affecting ERP

margin out of making things or sending

observed commonality between these

systems as business drivers move companies

things, in the West there has been an

different areas is the fact that they are

towards a global business platform that drives

standardisation and simplification throughout the enterprise for long-term benefits. This, says, Turner, is being achieved in several ways; including increased speed and capacity of databases such as Oracle’s new Exadata machine, and integration of those

Phil Burgess, RVP, base ERP sales

More and more companies now demand browser-based ERP solutions from their system providers. These businesses are looking to continually increase productivity by allowing users remote connectivity to their operations, and this requires data to be available at all times to all users, anywhere.” – Jonathan Orme, Exel Computer Systems.

databases/middleware and application

increasing shift within the vendor community

somehow considered 'non-core' in the


towards providing value-added services,”

applications portfolio in any enterprise, where

said Wahlers. “So at Lawson we have

an ERP application is considered 'core'. The

Ian Wahlers, industry strategy director,

developed service management; things that

tendency of the enterprises to hold the ERP

Lawson Software reflects that, in terms of

can go round the edges of the application

processes and data closer to heart, tied with

usability, ERP systems increasingly offer the

such as aftermarket service, maintenance and

the need for data privacy, maximum

ability to combine information and to manage

so on.”

availability and complete control, has always

processes more efficiently; pulling information

kept the demand for hosted ERP solutions

together in one place

Jonathan Orme, sales operations manager


and at the same time

Cloud forecast

making it usable in a

For Fleming, the emergence and growing

friendly workable

acceptance of On Demand or Cloud ERP one

Ahead of the curve

way. “On the

of the most exciting trends in the ERP space.

In Dinesh’s view, ERP vendors, big and small,

usability side Lawson

“Companies are looking for effective ERP

have been agile enough to get ahead of the

has done a lot with

solutions without the difficulty of management,

curve and offer their ERP solutions in a SaaS

the Microsoft .Net

and now are deploying full-strength ERP, like

model in expectation of a gold rush in the

platform,” he

QAD Enterprise Applications in the Cloud,” he

near future. “They have seen some cautious

explained. “We've

said. Fleming pointed out that over the past

early adoption in certain industry verticals and

worked with

decade, QAD has seen the reduction in cost

geographies,” he said, “but are yet to see the

Microsoft in

and the increase in availability of

expected deluge of enterprises rushing to

developing what we

telecommunications combined with a more

adopt ERP on the cloud.” Dinesh continued:

call the Lawson

pragmatic mind set from Chief Information

“The SMB segment is definitely sitting up and




December 2011



Special technology report ERP

When we look at the proliferation of point applications … we see a need to integrate not only with applications in the same data centre but also with applications that are in the Cloud.” – Gordon Fleming, QAD.

Gordon Fleming, senior executive and chief marketing officer

taking notice of the

offices and remote engineers,” he said. “We

SaaS-based ERP

are now seeing even more elements of the

option, as it presents

business coming under the umbrella of the

a never-before

ERP system – the call centre, the

opportunity to

administration activities (Document

leapfrog decades of

Management/Workflow), the travelling

multi-million dollar

salesmen. As we move forward over the next

investments made by

few years this will extend even further to the

large enterprises and

entire supply-chain (customer and supplier

yet have the same

web-portals, web self-service).” From

capabilities in time-

Fleming’s perspective, we are likely to see

to-market and

further growth of mobile computing in


applications around ERP, together with more


growth in On Demand deployment. “We anticipate further emphasis by businesses to

Wahlers considers that one of the issues

compete on business effectiveness,” he said,

worth discussing is whether a SaaS

“thus more emphasis on ERP partnership with

thinking about apps and their usability in the

application is multi-tenant or not.

vendors and the need to help customers

consumer world. And, he maintains, in the

“Salesforce.com is probably the best example

achieve their goals.”

same way that apps are sometimes created in

where, in the CRM world, there are relatively

a somewhat speedy and reactionary way for

predictable processes and where you can

the consumer market, then the enterprise

share multi-tenant deployment of an

Driving development

world may also see certain types of business

application, and follow relatively consistent

Bull comments that the ability to get at the

applications being written for similarly quick

processes while also having the means for

right information easily and to present it in an

and easy deployment in the future.

some level of customisation,” he said. “But I

effective way is key to user productivity. “Over

believe, for ERP, many of the current Cloud

the next few years we will see new reporting

According to Perry, Microsoft will become

models are either quite thin in terms of

tools being delivered that are increasingly

more and more dominant with its Cloud-

functionality or scalability. To deploy

visual, increasingly interactive, delivered

based office solutions, “and subsequently,

something in the Cloud as large and complex

through web browsers and having a user

with less software installed on your desktop,

as an ERP system you’re likely to require a

experience that is not dissimilar to using

the need for state-of-the-art or powerful desktop PCs and laptops is reduced,” he

Users will demand access to be made more universal yet secure, and hence we will see package vendors providing tablet-based and mobile devicebased user interfaces for working with ERP products.” – Dinesh Mohan, Infosys Technologies.

said, adding: “SaaS and Cloud are in effect a ‘war of attrition’ on the PC’s power base. This, coupled with the increasing introduction of thin client PCs and with the powersaving benefits that

single-tenant model because you want

touch technology,” he said. “Today's

these devices have,

something that’s unique to you and something

workforce has many powerful computing tools

will ultimately reduce

that you can easily modify when required.”

at their fingertips; smart phones, tablet

the need for

So, in terms of where the Cloud ERP model is

devices in addition to the now traditional 3G-

technical onsite

currently, Wahlers believes it is early days.

connected laptop computer. The plethora of

support to maintain

new format devices on the market place will

these devices.” 

Orme sees a continued and further push of

drive the development of ERP system

the ERP business system to the extremes of

extensions to take advantage of these tools.”

the business. “Over the past ten years ERP has moved from the office-based staff to the

Wahlers makes the point that Apple has

shop-floor, and more recently out to the sales

somewhat changed the game in terms of





December 2011

Dinesh Mohan, industry principal, enterprise solutions



\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Mobile CRM - doing business wherever business needs to be done hen it comes to Customer


Relationship Management (CRM) the traditional starting point for the majority of businesses has

rightly been ‘the customer is king’. From an early CRM perspective, if the customer was ‘king’ then CRM systems – whether manual or basic computerised versions – were attempts to manage the relationship between the world of the customer and the world of the supplier. These systems held historical information about the interactions between customers and supplier and accessing this was essential prior to any visit to a customer or whenever a customer contacted the supplier. Each new interaction would then be entered into the system, typically as a batch update, and in the case of sales or service managers out on

on the advantages it can deliver.” He

independent of any vendor or operating

the road, sometimes taking days to be done.

continues, “Basic applications have been

system enabling the user to select the right

around for years, of course, such as email on

device for the right job. They should run on a

In other words, the business of doing

the move and diaries on your mobile. But

wide range of mobile devices, including

business tended to be rather static, either

now, with huge improvements in network

handhelds, ruggedised laptops and

being done ‘here’ or ‘there’. However, thanks

structures and mobile communications,

touchscreen devices, with or without barcode

to the explosive growth in mobile technology

applications have come onto the market that

readers. Where FSM systems are concerned,

and the underlying communications network

are enabling information to be shared, in real-

these ideally should seamlessly integrate in

on which this is based, the business of doing

time, across every element of the enterprise.

real-time with your back office system via a

business for many companies has become

This means that wherever someone from your

mobile app, using a wireless LAN or 3G

‘any time, any place.’ The customer is still

company needs to interact with a customer,


king but gone are the restrictions of suppliers

he/she can be armed with the most up-to-

and customers being confined to a fixed

date information possible, and therefore bring

location such as a manufacturing facility or

about the best possible outcome for all

sales office. Also gone is the ability of the old


model of CRM that modern suppliers need in

Service optimisation Dilhe continued: “It is not enough to just access activity data in real-time, you need

order to provide the levels of service that their

CRM and the related area of Field Service

the ability to constantly update, recreate and

customers demand.

Management (FSM) have both stood to gain

edit jobs, in relation to each and every

dramatically from this but according to Dilhe,

customer because no one can anticipate

there are a number of key considerations that

every question that may be put to them. But

need to be taken into account to get the right

make all of that information accessible in

Rue Dilhe is managing director of Exel

system for your business. The first of these

real time, while the rep is with the customer,

Computer Systems, a leading UK supplier of

concerns platform independence and

then the business has every opportunity to

business information management systems of

compatibility of mobile devices with the

boost productivity, accelerate sales cycles

over 25 years, and comments on the

CRM/FSM system. “If you are tied into one

and increase customer satisfaction. It’s the

symbiotic relationship that this has created:

vendor, you are far more limited, especially

same with Field Service Management

“As mobile technology has become more

when you consider the advancements of

solutions. These should allow service

prevalent over the past decades, the need for

smartphones and new offerings that are

engineers real-time access to jobs,

it has accelerated, driven in ways in which

happening almost on a weekly basis now.”

schedules and mobile data, and then relay

businesses have grown ever more dependent

The ideal solution should therefore be

that directly to the management system,

Best possible outcome




December 2011



\\\ Manufacturing \\\


ensuring that company-wide mobile data and office-based information are unified throughout. Not only does this ensure that the customer gets the best service, it also means that the supplier can optimise the use of their service engineering resource.” With the cost of mobile devices continuing to fall as their use within industry continues to increase – especially with the huge uptake in the use of tablet PCs – Dilhe maintains that not only has mobile CRM come of age but that it seems destined to remain so for the foreseeable future. “The sound business maxim of putting the customer first remains central to success – Mobile CRM and FSM will be central to achieving this because it delivers not only for the customer, but when chosen and used correctly, for the supplier also.” 

“It is not enough to just access activity data in real-time, you need the ability to constantly update, recreate and edit jobs, in relation to each and every customer because no one can anticipate every question that may be put to them.” – Rue Dilhe, Exel Computer Systems.

Exel Computer Systems Plc

Corporate Profile

Exel Computer Systems plc, a UK software author, have been developing, implementing and supporting business software solutions from their offices in Nottingham for over 25 years. With hundreds of successful implementations and thousands of users around the world, Exel’s customer base spans industries as diverse as food, aerospace, engineering, automotive, electronics and packaging. Exel’s experience and extensive industry knowledge ensure that they are best placed to assist their customers to achieve competitive advantage through the employment of a state-of-the-art business solution. The EFACS business solution is a highly flexible, browserbased, platform independent ERP suite built using the latest Internet technology. The Eagle Field Service management system is a complete mobile service engineer and back-office management solution, providing real-time information and resources to field based engineers. Eagle Sales Force extends the EFACS CRM functionality to the mobile sales team so that the benefits of EFACS can be realised wherever your sales team are operating. Solutions offered Exel’s highly flexible EFACS solution incorporates a broad range of business functions including Product Management, Change Control, Manufacturing, Finance, Business Intelligence, Reporting Tools, Mobile and Touchscreen Applications, Document Management, CRM, Workflow and many more. EFACS is a comprehensive, flexible and fully integrated





December 2011

business solution. It is a highly customisable, browser-based ERP software package built with the latest Internet technology. Due to its Variable Component Architecture EFACS can be easily adapted to fit the exact requirements of any business. For companies with comprehensive and sophisticated needs, EFACS Enterprise integrates with Oracle’s world-class application software packages. The Eagle Field Service management system is a complete mobile service engineer and back-office management solution, providing real-time information and resources to mobile field based engineers, as well as unprecedented levels of control and visibility to management. The Eagle Sales Force system utilises Exel’s innovative mobile computer technology to provide companies with the power and tools to deliver real competitive advantage. By extending the EFACS CRM module to the mobile sales team the benefits of EFACS can be realised wherever your sales team are operating. Industrial markets served Exel’s market sectors include discrete manufacturing, general engineering, sub-contract engineering, aerospace, automotive, electronics, plastics, food, pharmaceutical and companies with a field service requirement. Countries served With hundreds of successful implementations and thousands of users around the world, Exel serves an increasingly diverse customer base across a wide range of industries worldwide.

Website: www.exel.co.uk


Special technology report Planning & Forecasting

On schedule

Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of key spokespeople within the Planning & Forecasting vendor and process management community about some of the current talking points and key developments within to this mission-critical technology space. n this report, we focus on many of the current

support the process it couldn’t be easier.” However,

businesses to

main talking points within the planning &

Stork insists that the process remains king, and

improve these

forecasting software space – an area that can

without a real willingness from the management

processes, although

cover everything from predicting demand

team to make it work companies will continue to

there is probably

volumes right through to planning and


more awareness in


the boardroom about

scheduling production capacity on the shop floor – and more besides. So without further delay, just

Hugh Williams, managing director of

the value than

what are the key market trends and notable

Hughenden Consulting, agrees with Stork,

previously seen.”

technological developments that manufacturers and

citing one current keenly talked about area as

logistics professionals should be aware of with a

being S&OP, in addition to demand planning

In terms of current

view to optimising their daily operations? Malcolm

(forecasting). “Demand planning is reasonably

technology highlights

Stork, managing director EMEA at Demand

well understood, although businesses do not

to be aware of, Andy

Solutions, reports that he is currently seeing

yet generally understand what they need to do

Latham, managing

increased interest in the area of collaborative

to implement a good demand planning

director of K3’s Business Technology Group,

forecasting. “Getting a demand signal from closer to the customer can significantly reduce the amplification of distortions in demand and improve forecast accuracy,” he commented, adding: “Combined with easyto-use inventory

Anybody can create a good schedule given enough time, but the variability in demand and frequent changes in priorities mean solutions like APS products give the planner the opportunity to change the plan more frequently and test alternatives before releasing to the shop floor.” – Mike Novels, Preactor International.

optimisation tools, this

Mike Novels

process,” said Williams.

highlights multiple resource scheduling, which

“There is a debate

allows all required resources (such as tools,

about the difference

jigs, space and skills) to be planned for each

between S&OP and

job; therefore eliminating wasted time spent

integrated business

waiting or searching for missing items. Ideally,

planning (IBP), which is

says Latham, each resource or group of

serving to confuse

resources would have their own availability

more than clarify.

calendar. Having real-time capable to promise

IBP/S&OP, however, is

commitment as sales orders are taken allows

where we have seen

customer-facing users to offer customers a

the emergence of a

date by which delivery can be made. Latham

number of specifically

points out that in order to arrive at a date at

can make enormous improvements in inventory

designed software solutions – and where other

which goods in the required quantities can be

levels and mix.” According to Stork, another core

software houses say they have software

delivered, a number of factors need to be

area of development is Sales & Operations Planning

without really understanding what this process

taken into account; including availability of raw

(S&OP). “There is still major interest in this area,” he

requires. The economic circumstances of the

material and sub-assemblies as well as

said, “and now with dedicated tools available to

past couple of years are still the drivers for

available capacity at the work centres.





December 2011


Planning & Forecasting

Special technology report

In terms of market

solution across multiple plants in different

opportunity to identify any need for

demand for


customisation. For this reason each of our

advanced planning &

solutions has many different varieties – ‘made

scheduling (APS)

Atul Chandra Pandey, industry head for

to fit’. With a strong belief that the role of the

software systems,

Enterprise Application Integration and

end user is expanding and becoming more

Mike Novels, CEO of

Services at Infosys Technologies, explains

analytical, planning-related software will


that, based on his discussions with customers

extend to accommodate this evolution.”


in the manufacturing space and on studying

comments that he

current market trends, he observes that

Paul Lane, sales director at Seiki Systems,

has seen a definite

investments in the traditional supply chain

reflects that, with extreme pressure to not only

increase in both

planning systems are being sustained rather

maintain but improve business performance,

interest and actual

than increasing by any notable level. “The

one of the greatest drivers for the

investment since the

wave of supply chain planning solutions based

implementation of Seiki's finite capacity

financial crises started to abate. He states that

on ERP II (eg. SAP APO, Oracle APS) seems

scheduler is to fully extract the benefits of real-

most APS suppliers are reporting increased

to have levelled out,”

activity and that there have been various

he said. “Customers

reasons that have been put forward for this.

are looking at

One reason, believes Novels, is the


convergence of lean manufacturing principles

systems; especially as

with APS solutions. “Companies got so far with

the distinction

lean initiatives at shop floor level and were

between planning and

looking for the next step,” he said. “In parallel,

execution is blurring.

APS solutions were more and more looking at

Thus, interest is rising

improving flow at the shop floor and removing

in systems that go

waste in the form of setup time, queuing time

beyond traditional

etc to reduce make-span. In fact lean

strengths in planning,

manufacturing principles and scheduling

forecasting &

solutions seek to do the same thing and seek

scheduling and include additional capabilities

want it,” said Lane. “Finite capacity planning

to ‘pull’ through production based on demand.

such as rapid simulation/analysis, and

supports this by only allowing operations to be

This convergence of technology and

collaboration (supply and demand) at multiple

planned when resources are available and in

philosophy may be the reason for the uptick in

network tiers.”

optimal sequence that ensures efficiency and

Malcolm Stork

time visibility of

Getting a demand signal from closer to the customer can significantly reduce the amplification of distortions in demand and improve forecast accuracy. Combined with easy-to-use inventory optimisation tools, this can make enormous improvements in inventory levels and mix.” – Malcolm Stork, Demand Solutions.

demand for APS solutions.”

work in progress. “Organisations need to be more agile in today's highly competitive market, which means being able to respond quickly to changes and to deliver exactly what customers want, when they

output are maximised. The Scheduler, as a dynamic solution, also provides real-time

Novels added that another factor that has


visual consequences of any changes to

contributed towards greater take-up of APS

Johnny Hughes, business development

planned operations. This provides a significant

solutions is time. “Anybody can create a good

manager of Ortec UK comments that current

advantage to companies from a customer

schedule given enough time,” he said, “but

innovations/developments in planning related

satisfaction perspective – ie. confidence in

the variability in demand and frequent

software and solutions are becoming

delivery promises will be higher, but critically it

changes in priorities mean solutions like APS

increasingly specific to the customer, with a

also means materials are only ordered when

products give the planner the opportunity to

major focus now on the operational demands

they are needed,

change the plan more frequently and test

of each relevant industry. “Companies using

which can obviously

alternatives before releasing to the shop floor.”

advanced planning solutions are hugely

have a big impact on

In many of Preactor’s most developed

involved in the development,” he said. “We

cost reduction

markets, Novels is also seeing a trend towards

have found that full operational use of the

initiatives by keeping

having a common ERP and common APS

software in a live environment offers a great

inventories low.”

There is a debate about the difference between S&OP and IBP, which is serving to confuse more than clarify. IBP/S&OP, however, is where we have seen the emergence of a number of specifically designed software solutions – and where other software houses say they have software without really understanding what this process requires.” – Hugh Williams, Hughenden Consulting.


Furthermore, Lane adds that visibility of works order status

Hugh Williams

can accelerate throughput but highlighting potential bottlenecks and



December 2011



Special technology report

Kevin Bull, product manager

Planning & Forecasting

resource shortages

product category, by time frame, etc.” Next,

multiple functions, and provide analysis in a

that can then be

Bull looked at capable to promise. “When

connected way; this is particularly true of

avoided. “All

customers place a sales order they will often

areas like S&OP and IBP,” she said.

operations are

ask ‘When will it be with us?’ … Modern ERP

planned on factual

systems are able to provide this information

According to Rumble, the economic crisis and

capacity information

quickly and easily during the sales order entry

the need to make better decisions have

– what is truly

process – the customer can be informed

definitely created a surge in demand for new

possible with the

quickly and accurately of when they can

capabilities. This, she believes, is outstripping

resources available –

expect their goods to be delivered.”

the capability of BI platforms and stretching

so outsourcing can

the skills and resources of BI teams. “It is true

be reduced by

that historical reporting remains important, but

maximising the

Better end-to-end visibility

requirements for predictive analytics and event

utilisation of existing

Karin Bursa, vice president of marketing at

processing to maintain real-time views are

resources,” he said. “This means that

Logility, points out there are three key areas of

growing quickly,” commented Rumble.

additional overhead costs such as overtime

interest that Logility is seeing at the moment;

“Awareness of the need to interpret data for

can be minimised or planned for if required.

advanced demand

This is critical not only for current works orders

planning techniques such

but it also enables organisations to assess

as attribute-based

capacity for taking in new work.”

models, inventory optimisation, and sales & operations planning.

better decisions and

Integrating the ERP system with external systems – such as finite capacity planning or forecast generation tools – is only the start, as the same connectivity tools can be used to manage supply chain integration, EDI and web services etc.” – Kevin Bull, Columbus IT.

improved processes has never been greater. Interpretation is best done when traditional historical reporting is augmented

Increased functionality

Bursa commented: “As

Kevin Bull, product manager at Columbus IT,

supply chains become

points out that today's leading ERP systems

more complex and

have been extended to include more and

connect several partners

more functionality to assist the business in its

from around the world,

start-to-end cycle of planning scenarios. He

companies need better

explains that many ERP systems have now

end-to-end visibility

taken on functionality that was once the

(macro and granular), improved customer

applications, including those delivered via

exclusive domain of specialist software

service, the ability to more accurately forecast


systems. “From the initial sales forecast

demand and a supply chain network response

through to material planning and shop floor

that meets the financial and service goals of

production sequencing, business planners are

the organisation. These are three key areas

Improved information flow

able to use a single system, with consistent

that directly impact these needs.”

In addition, Rumbles believes the growing use

with real-time information and predictive analytics. To meet new requirements, specific analytic solutions are offered; standalone or embedded in business

of smartphones and tablets raises questions

tools, a single view that shows demand, supply and resource utilisation and without the

Alexandria Rumble, global product marketing

about how to exploit the new capabilities of

risk and time delay that is presented by

director at TXT, observes that there is a

these devices and to deliver better information

systems integration.”

definite move towards better use of planning &

in the context of how it is being consumed. “In

forecasting software. She commented: “The

the case of S&OP or IBP, for example, the

Bull then focused on specific tools and their

functionality has been available for some time

ability to connect company goals to plans, and

benefits: First, he looked at those related to

– in terms of attributes in planning &

being able to close any potential gaps, has

demand planning. “Where goods are retail

forecasting as well as attempts to segment

become crucial,” she said. “By integrating

goods, it can be advantageous for the

product and services – but we are finding that

consumer insight into demand and supply

business to be able to produce forecasts from

there is a greater focus on analytics, which

planning and consumer buying segmentation,

actual consumer sales information, often from

has triggered innovation and is also forcing

product launches will become more

retailer POS systems. One key aspect to

traditional business intelligence (BI) platforms

successful and more targeted.”

forecasts generation tools is the ability to

to rethink their strategy and develop their offer

visualise data at many different levels. When a

further.” Rumble is also seeing that isolated

Pieter Van Nyen, project manager at OM

business has extensive product ranges it can

point solutions for specialised problems are

Partners, also highlights the integration of

often be difficult to ‘see the wood for the trees’,

not an immediate choice for buyers as they

software functionality – such as demand

so it is important that the demand planning

can create new islands of functionality.

forecasting & planning, advanced planning &

tools are able to sales forecast charts in many

“Buyers are looking for innovative solutions

scheduling (APS), order allocation and sales &

different views – by market place, region,

that can connect multiple business users in

operations planning (S&OP) – within a single





December 2011


Planning & Forecasting

application as being a key current trend. “This allows the creation of innovative software solutions that were not possible in the past,”

Special technology report

Because revenue would be spread over several years when adopting SaaS, there could be a top-line revenue impact. Business leaders are choosing departmental and SaaS-delivered packaged applications that target specific domains.” – Alexandria Rumble, TXT.

he said. One

management and the ability to access role-

Novels believes we will see that companies

example he cites is

specific information from anywhere at any time.

who cannot move to an entirely make to order

an S&OP solution

The second is in the ability to better manage

scenario will use Heijunka based APS systems

that contains

new product introductions. “The pace of new

that will aim to minimise their inventory in all its

demand planning

product introductions continues to quicken,”

forms. For Williams’ part, he considers we will

functionality and

she said, “and companies need to accurately

see many more companies adopting

operations planning functionality with value-

forecast demand, clearly understand the

IBP/S&OP processes. He added that there will

based optimisation capabilities in a single

impact on production and distribution, and

be failures, largely because companies will not

software system. “This allows the end user to

optimise inventory investments.”

understand or accept what it means to go

Alexandria Rumble

run demand simulations and operations

down this route. However, Williams also

planning scenarios in a single software

Lane considers that solutions will become

believes there will be successes achieved by

system, without having to switch between

increasingly web-based, and with larger

those that accept the 10 per cent systems, 30

different software modules/programs,” Van

volume capacity, while Latham comments that

per cent process, 60 per cent people ratios.

Nyen pointed out.

real-time finite scheduling will receiving

“You will see more software houses attempting

increasing take-up. This, he explained, is a

to penetrate this space in addition to the

solution whereby the

current specialists,” he

Addressing the entire works order process

schedule is always

According to Lane, everything from the need

reported, thus saving the

to extract more from existing resources to the

user the need to ‘run’ the

desire for continuous improvement have

scheduler. “The ‘best’ next

driven the adoption of more integrated

action will always be

systems. He points out that the best integrated

picked in response to an

systems can provide accurate and reliable job

event; for example, upon

data as well as performance reporting. Lane

completion of an

adds that the desire for this increased level of

operation,” he said. “The

process control and visibility is not just limited

best next operation to be

to larger organisations running thousands of

run at the work centre is chosen, rather than

Advanced Planning seamlessly into their

operations. “There is an increasing awareness

simply picking the operation at the top of a

business. Moreover, he pointed out that Ortec

of the tangible benefits to be gained from

work-to list developed some time ago when

has noted a shift taking place in the world of

adopting technologies that can really support

the scheduler was last ‘run’.”

planning towards newer methodologies.

evolving as events are

Multiple resource scheduling allows all required resources (such as tools, jigs, space and skills) to be planned for each job; therefore eliminating wasted time spent waiting or searching for missing items.” – Andy Latham, K3.

business growth throughout the manufacturing

said. “So, as in the past, there will be many more who will say they have solutions without understanding the real requirements of these processes.” Hughes observes that more and more companies are integrating

Hughes commented: “As the reliance on

industry,” he said. “The challenge for vendors

Pandey maintains that the focus is on improving

planning grows, so

then becomes about how to deliver richer and

execution efficiencies and strengthening

does the need for

more flexible solutions to satisfy a more

visibility through better and real-time

innovation in the

diverse customer base.”

connections with suppliers, channel and

types of tools

distribution partners, and customers. He adds

available: solutions

that the supply chain is converging with

that can offer

Planning for tomorrow

marketing and sales, whether in terms of

automated data

What do our commentators believe might be

forecast consensus or collaboration, or

import, increased

the next key developments to look out for in the

determining shipment plans from manufacturers

calculation power,

world of planning and forecasting-related

to retailers. Similarly, he believes the integration


software over the next year or two? Bursa

between post-sale customer service and the


explains that there are two areas of increased

supply chain function is tightening; whether this

visualisation methods

innovation that Logility is currently witnessing.

pertains to quick replacement of a part or

and immaculate

The first is the mobility of performance

cutting lead time on repair.



Andy Latham, managing director

Business Technology Group



December 2011




lanning Success story

Balancing workloads

is child’s

play with Preactor laydale Playgrounds is a leading

type of work over the space of a month is

UK manufacturer of children’s

critical to success. £50,000 of work could be

outdoor playground equipment.

one long job or 50 smaller jobs. The same

Employing more than 150 people,

value of work to the company can tie up a few

the company’s main markets are

or many of our resources for either a short of


local authorities, community groups and leisure

long period of time.”

operators. While UK based, the company is expanding its business internationally and current has distributors in several countries

The change factor

internationally. Playdale currently has 400

Prior to Preactor, Playdale had relied on

standard products that comprise between one

spreadsheets for its planning. Not only did it

and over 800 individual components with order

take a considerable amount of time entering

values ranging from approximately £5000

information in the first place, the very fluid

including installation up to close to £500,000.

nature of the business means things can and

Typical lead times are approximately 6 to 8

do change often. “The spreadsheets also

see when to off-hire these as hiring equipment

weeks from receipt of order to commencing

didn’t offer any possibility for our vital

longer than necessary can significantly

on-site construction. Products can be supplied

volume/product mix calculations,” explained

increase costs.

in kit form but the standard practice includes

Hutchings. “More importantly, neither could

professional installation and maintenance by

they allow for the varying skill levels of our

Playdale, both of which require accurate

different installation teams.” And, because

Unique requirements


Playdale works with a rolling 8-week planning

Perhaps the most significant example of RMS’

“[Success is] ensuring that high volume of processes are completed at the right time so that finished components along with the appropriate installation teams are in the right place at the right time.” - Mike Hutchings, Playdale Playgrounds.

window, every change meant manually

expertise in delivering exactly what Playdale

Unlike more traditional manufacturers,

updating each of the following 7 to 8 weeks.

needed is the Histogram function that shows

Playdale’s primary challenges lie in optimising

When Hutchings joined the company in

the all-important volume by product group mix

its human resource off-site both in terms of

January 2007, Preactor had already been in

on a week by week basis. Warren Roberts of

installation and maintenance. This means

the company for a year. Despite being

RMS comments on this bespoke Histogram

knowing when and where to schedule the

implemented correctly, the system wasn’t

functionality: “It is one thing to configure a

company’s installation teams and external

delivering its maximum effectiveness due to

piece of software, it’s another to be able to

subcontractors. However, when it comes to

the abilities of its then users. Hutchings

completely customise it to meet the

human resource, different workers not only

therefore began compiling a list of

customer’s most exact requirements.

have different skill levels, different teams also

requirements about how ideally he wanted

Playdale’s requirements are unique in our

work at different rates – all of which needs to

Preactor to work to meet Playdale’s needs.

experience but because of the inherent

planned effectively. Mike Hutchings, Playdale’s

Once this was complete he contacted

flexibility of Preactor, we were able to develop

external operations manager, describes

Preactor partner RMS, which he then worked

a totally unique and bespoke element of

success as “ensuring that high volume of

closely with to make these an actuality.

functionality which they are very pleased

processes are completed at the right time so

Playdale now has 8 various bespoke options

with.” Hutchins agrees: “Now we can see and

that finished components along with the

written to allow it to view a range of

balance our entire workload at the press of a

appropriate installation teams are in the right

installation specific information including the

button. More than that, we can check at any

place at the right time”. A key factor here is the

status of various operations per job or site,

time how we are doing in reality against our

huge potential variance in the volume, as

the site hire and storage considerations per

projected plan and to make informed

Hutchings explains: “Because we plan on a

job, and the safety surface requirements per

decisions on the basis of this.”

volume by product type mix, balancing the

job. Just as importantly the company now can Ongoing development has seen Preactor extended to other areas of the company; including management of customer contact, co-ordinating installation subcontractors and aftersales service engineers. Hutchings concluded: “Preactor has brought greatly increased efficiency and much more accurate planning resulting in major cost savings.” 





December 2011



lanning Success story

Preactor International

Preactor offers a family of applications ranging from mid- and long-term capacity planning to detailed scheduling and is translated into 30 languages. Preactor runs on industry-standard hardware, operating systems and databases. With 18 years of expertise in production planning and scheduling technology, 3000 companies as users, more than 12,000 licences installed and an extensive partner network offering local expertise and support, Preactor International offers global companies with a proven solution and the global resources for the execution of multinational projects. Technology sector Finite Capacity Scheduling (FCS), Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS), Supply Chain Scheduling (SCS), Graphic Master Production System (GMPS). Market sectors served Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical, Electronics, Healthcare, Chemicals, Heavy Industry, Glass & Ceramics and Automotive. Countries served Over 68 countries worldwide – global expertise, locally delivered.

Website: www.preactor.com




December 2011


Corporate Profile

Preactor International is a world leader in production planning & scheduling software used by a wide range of businesses. Frequently integrated with ERP, MES and Supply Chain Management solutions, Preactor’s technology is used by more than 3500 small, medium and large multinational companies located in 68 countries. Preactor has established partnerships with more than 400 companies located around the world to provide local expertise to support the implementation of the solution for each company. These 1000+ accredited professionals offer a key resource working closely with users to ensure each company’s unique requirements are met.



Success story

LoBue Citrus automates traceability with Intermec Smart Printing, FoodLogiQ oBue Citrus is a family-run grower


and distributor of oranges

Labelling made smarter

accounting for approximately four

Most intriguing to Clark's team was the

to five per cent of the California

standalone nature of Intermec PM4i industrial

citrus industry. That equates to

smart printers; the printer didn't require an

between 4 and 5 million boxes each year, with

additional computer to print labels, which

40 per cent of the product exported to Asia.

minimised the cost of the solution. The system

Based in Lindsay, California, the company

was also easy to use, which simplified and

recognised the need to automate its produce

sped up worker adoption. "We always look at

traceability programme in October 2010.

simple as being the best solution," said Clark.

Formerly, the process was manual, which tied

"With the [Intermec] Smart Printers, all you

up critical resources and increased the

need is a small area on a desk or a rolling

likelihood of error.

cart to make this system functional. It seems to be a very cost-effective, simple solution to

FoodLogiQ, which provides software and

satisfying the requirements that are being

solutions that meet the needs of the Produce

requested of us today."

Traceability Initiative (PTI), engaged LoBue Citrus with an automated system using

Workers are able to scan a FoodLogiQ-

Intermec Smart Printing solutions. Operations

generated barcode using an Intermec SR30

manager Tom Clark, commented: "The key

handheld scanner, which tells the Intermec

benefit for us is having a real-time, automated

PM4i industrial printer what label to print. The

inventory control system, versus the manual

worker uses the PM4i printer's keypad to

the consumer or buyer and, instantaneously,

system we've had in place, and being able to

select a quantity on the display. Because the

we can pull up all information associated to a

make decisions both in sales and production

printer isn't tethered to a computer, workers

certain lot," explained Clark.

on what we have available to us in real time.�

can move the cart on which it is stationed directly to the boxes that

The difference with automation

require the tags. Once the

Workers are able to scan a FoodLogiQ-generated barcode using an Intermec SR30 handheld scanner, which tells the Intermec PM4i industrial printer what label to print. The worker uses the PM4i printer's keypad to select a quantity on the display.





December 2011

boxes are wrapped, the

The new system has made it possible for

workers use an Intermec

these trace backs to occur within a matter of

PB50 mobile printer to

minutes, whereas before the implementation it

generate a pallet tag. The

took roughly two hours. The inventory

box labels from the PM4i

accuracy has improved as well. Every

and pallet labels from the

additional percentage point in accuracy helps

PB50 include a barcode that

a produce distributor stay competitive. Before

identifies the kind of orange,

the implementation, accuracy ranged from the

ship date, destination, farm

high-80 to low-90 per cent; accuracy is now

source, and even the farm

between 98 and 99 per cent. Because the

lot. This is a powerful tool

system is automated, physical inventories

should the company need to

have become a thing of the past, saving eight

trace a shipment back to its

to 16 labour hours each day, which equates to

origin. "At any given

approximately $96 to $240 saved in labour

moment, if we were to have

costs per day. Given the early improvements,

a trace-back for some

Clark believes the system will pay for itself

reason, it's simply a matter

within two years, and all subsequent gains

of getting notification from

beyond that will further help the business.


Success story


Because FoodLogiQ presented an entire solution – incorporating their PTI solution with a full line-up of Intermec technology (a PM4i industrial printer, PB50 mobile printer, and SR30 handheld scanner) – LoBue Citrus was able to focus on its core business. "The whole process with FoodLogiQ was hands-on," said Clark. "We didn't have to go out and try to piece together our own system. FoodLogiQ has been able to integrate the whole package of requirements that we need beyond just the G10 code identification number. They've incorporated food-safety programmes, and you can actually keep your food-safety documentation in their system."

A single hardware manufacturer

LoBue Citrus decided to go with a single

LoBue Citrus processes up to 1200 packages

complexity of the system. The system

an hour, and the system has held strong.

operators needed to be able to work with a

Key benefits

During the day, the Intermec hardware sits on

handheld scanner, industrial printer, mobile

a warehouse loading dock that is open to the

computer and mobile printer. Hence, having a

outside. Even in conditions such as these, the

commonality in the interface was essential to

equipment works day-in, day-out. "All the

avoid a lengthy training period. "I find that once

equipment I've ever used from Intermec is

you find a system that you can rely on, it's

bullet-proof," Clark said. "My experience has

much easier to have a single-source

been that, if you want to go with a system that

manufacturer, versus trying to integrate pieces,

you can count on to be there day after day

especially pieces that have to communicate

after day, it's Intermec."

with one another," commented Clark. 

hardware manufacture to simplify the

In today's market, there is no shortage of supply chain technology providers. What is harder to find is a partner to not only deliver the best-in-class solution for your business needs but to also be there with the expertise and connections to implement a new system and provide quality support long after. It is that extended scope, a commitment to serve your broader business needs, which makes Intermec different. Intermec is in the business of helping customers to achieve the most return from mobile computing and automatic data collection systems – going beyond the design and building to provide a complete portfolio of rugged, reliable products including mobile computers, fixed and mobile barcode printers, 1D & 2D handheld barcode scanners and RFID. Intermec leverages strong relationships with resellers and industryleading alliance partners to help create a total solution that harmonises with enterprise networks, platforms and processes.


• •

Corporate Profile


Food trace-backs can occur within minutes vs. two hours before. Inventory accuracy is now 98 to 99 percent versus 86 to 94 per cent before. 8 to 16 man hours saved on physical inventories per day. $96 to $240 saved on labour costs per day.

Solutions offered • Rugged mobile computing. • Automatic data collection systems (AIDC). • Mobile and fixed barcode printing. • Barcode scanning. • RFID. • Global services. Industrial markets served • Industrial Goods. • Consumer Goods. • Retail. • Transport & Logistics. • Field Service. Countries served • Worldwide.

Websites: www.intermec.co.uk



December 2011




Key issues

RFID and privacy: The delicate balance veryone's version of privacy is a


little different. Unfortunately, less privacy is almost always tied to heightened security risk, and security is the battleground upon

which this privacy reckoning is being fought. As with geo-location technology, privacy and security issues are also coming to the fore in the RFID sphere, where business-focused applications are beginning to bleed over into the consumer world. Radio frequency identification is not a new technology, but it has only really begun to blossom over the past five years, as the science has matured and tag prices have dropped. "RFID tags can store tremendous amounts of information," commented Jorma

The Internet of Things is just around the corner.

Lalla, CEO of RFID handheld computer manufacturer Nordic ID. "You can also add data

The likelihood of passport data getting stolen is

card via the Internet and it becomes unusable.

to tags as they travel, which is what makes

low, since a rogue reader can only pick up

Other applications don't have the same chain of

them truly valuable. The information captured

secured information when it is being read with

IDs, and encryption is either non-existent or

on tags during manufacturing or logistics

an official device. But the same kinds of

easily cracked." Encryption and security has not

processes is data that can be mined on an

concerns are also being raised about more

been a concern for traditional RFID processes.

aggregate basis to see where efficiencies lie.”

pedestrian uses of RFID. A second-hand RFID

Many of Nordic ID's clients, for example, use

Some tags are the size of seeds, while others

reader, bought online for as little as five dollars,

RFID to track consumer items from point of

are as big as books. Some can be immersed

can be outfitted with a high-power, clandestine

production through to point of sale. "We have

and dropped; others can take the form of an

antenna that will allow it to pick up nearby RFID

fashion retail clients who use RFID end-to-end

adhesive sticker. Tag costs vary tremendously

information, for example on a credit card. Open

throughout the supply chain," said Lalla. "They

depending on specifications—from a few cents

source software can enable hackers to de-

send manufacturers RFID-equipped care tags

to many Euros. Another advantage of RFID

encrypt that information and use it in nefarious

to sew in, ensuring that all items are trackable

technology is that read/write tags allow some


at the item level."

information written in.

Playing catch-up

That's all beneficial to manufacturers, but what

Clandestine interception

Heikki Seppä, a professor with the VTT

designed to become unreadable after a couple

Technical Research Centre of Finland, believes

washes, so there should be no privacy problem

This is the kind of tag that several European

that encryption and security are playing catch-

there – but nor is there any consumer benefit.

and other nations have embedded in

up to RFID implementation. "If you look at one

"RFID is only just starting to become useful to

passports. With a read/write RFID chip in

kind of RFID use – that of nearfield

consumers," said Seppä. "But the Internet of

place, governments can keep precise digital

communication (NFC) in mobile phones –

Things is just around the corner. Imagine

records of citizens' movements. That's all well

security, and consequently privacy, works very

scanning a toaster with your cell phone to read

and good for record keeping, but encrypted

well," said Seppä. "That's because encryption is

receipt and warranty information. Or scanning

RFID information has, in a few cases, been

not only built in, but there's also a chain of IDs

your car to find out when maintenance is

clandestinely intercepted from several metres

that work together to form protection—mobile

recommended. There are hundreds of possible

away. When customs officials scan passports,

serial number, security passcode, SIM card

uses." While there is no doubt that the Internet

data is being decrypted and read—

serial number and NFC serial number. Together,

of Things is coming, we still need to work out

presenting an opportunity for signal

this all forms a unique chain of identity. If you

the parts that deal with privacy and security. 


lose the phone, you can deactivate the SIM

levels of information to be erased and new





December 2011

about consumers? Those same RFID tags are


Success story


Trailcon reduces trailer check-in time process by half with Motion tablet PCs erving the Toronto and Edmonton,

time workflow for employees to

Canada areas, Trailcon Leasing

utilise in the office, in the yard

opened in 1992 offering expertise

and also on the road via a

in freight transportation and

mobile broadband connection.


specialises in trailers, intermodal

equipment and fleet management. The company provides flexible rent and lease

Fully optimised

programmes, as well as maintenance and

Trailcon initially launched G&C

service options. Trailcon has an inventory of

Software Solutions Unit

over 5400 trailers available for rent or lease,

Management System (UMS) on

plus the company provides service,

Motion Tablet PCs to its Fleet

maintenance and storage for other fleets of

and Service personnel, and the

trailers for clients in Alberta and Ontario,

transition was so


advantageous that the company also implemented the UMS shunting

G&C software solution allow the service team

Trailcon required a sophisticated technology

module as well as UMS Smart Yard Check to

to have all of the customer information at their

solution to track and manage assets, service,

further control and automate yard processes

fingertips, so they can access the account

maintenance and parts inventory at the facility

and moves. The software is fully optimised for

immediately, process the return using the

and on mobile mechanic vehicles. The

the tablet PCs, and employees easily use the

drag-and-drop functionality, note any

company needed to move from a paper-

drag-and-drop environment, digital camera

maintenance needs and if there is damage,

intensive environment to a paperless, real-

and barcode scanner to manage assets.

use the tablet PCs’ integrated digital camera

Additionally, the Motion tablet

to take photos, which are instantly attached to

PCs allow for quick check in,

the record. “This process now takes about 10

check out and inspection of

minutes to complete, down from 20 minutes,

rental and lease trailers.

but with a few more enhancements this will improve to 4-6 minutes very soon,” said Stuart


On any day, Trailcon receives

Innes, IT manager, Trailcon Leasing Inc.

between 10-25 units for

[subhead] Enhanced customer experience

return. The typical process to

Although Trailcon had some level of

check in a trailer requires the

computerised automation for many years,

customer’s original rental

there were many limiting aspects to the

paperwork, checking for

solution, and the company had outgrown

damages and any general

much of the system. This was having a less

maintenance and then

than desirable impact on customer service, as

invoicing the customer. The

clients were expecting more information in

Motion tablet PCs with the

less time. Additionally, customers were asking



December 2011



AUTOMATIC DATA CAPTURE for a means to access their own records, so

Success story

as the tablet PCs’ integrated barcode

and review maintenance schedules.

Advanced yard equipment management

Previously, if a customer called for specific

“Yard equipment management is the most

no longer temporarily loses track of the

details regarding prior maintenance on their

difficult process,” Innes said. With Trailcon’s

equipment in the yard because the moves are

trailer, the question might have been referred

5400+ assets on the yard, keeping track of

recorded and the company can see who last

to the fleet manager, would be researched and

each trailer’s exact location is a huge feat.

managed the asset.

the customer called back in 2-3 days. “We can

“We were managing our yard equipment with

now answer questions in about 15 seconds,

clipboards, writing notes, making copies and

they could pull up accounts, check billings

scanner, trailers are scanned and easily tracked across the yard. Innes said Trailcon

We can now answer questions in about 15 seconds, and anyone with access to the computer can retrieve it, so we’ve significantly improved our customer service levels.” – Stuart Innes, Trailcon Leasing Inc.

Motion helps sell Trailcon to potential customers Trailcon is staying competitive by promoting its technological advancements. Innes concluded: “We’re known for personalised service and quick turnaround times. The Motion tablet PCs are a sales tool for us because it helps us sell our service and

and anyone with access to the computer can

passing paper around the office. Once it

maintenance, since we can show customers

retrieve it, so we’ve significantly improved our

finally got entered into the system, it was

the benefits of choosing Trailcon with our

customer service levels,” said Innes. With the

probably only 50 per cent accurate because

‘best-of-the-best’ technology.” 

requests for the ability to self-serve – and to

the assets are constantly moving,” continued

compete with other trailer companies –

Innes. The yard is now divided into quadrants,

Trailcon also created a web portal for

and the assets are barcoded. Using the drag-

customers to access their account history.

and-drop environment of the software as well

Corporate Profile

Motion Computing


Motion Computing is a leading global provider of tablet PCs and supporting mobility solutions for field service computing. Rugged, lightweight and highly mobile, Motion Tablet PCs are designed for field professionals that require real-time computing at the point of service. Users can gather, access, analyse and transmit the critical information they need in order to be productive in today’s de-centralised work environments. Purposely designed, developed and built for business, Motion’s complete line of innovative tablet PCs and supporting mobility solutions improve in-the-field efficiency, accuracy and performance while saving time and reducing costs. Solutions offered The Motion Computing CL900 Tablet PC is durable, lightweight and purposefully built for mobile business. Running Microsoft Windows 7 and powered by the Intel Atom Z670 Processor, the CL900 balances power, performance and a battery life of up to eight hours. Weighing less than 2.1 pounds, and offering added durability and productivity features, the CL900 helps users work more efficiently, providing the capabilities, applications and connectivity mobile workers need for improved field productivity. The Motion Computing J3500 Tablet PC is rugged, powerful and purposely built for field professionals that require a highly mobile device for often harsh work environments. Built for business with Intel Core vPro technology and running Microsoft




December 2011

Windows 7, the J3500 offers new levels of performance, security and manageability, and it is packed with integrated features that improve in-the-field productivity. Optimised for digitiser pen and touch input, users can easily navigate a variety of software applications. The Motion Computing F5v Tablet PC is rugged, powerful and mobile, providing real-time access to information in the field. Built for business with Intel Core vPro technology and running Microsoft Windows 7, the F5v offers performance, security and manageability, and it is packed with integrated features, such as a hot-swap battery and barcode scanner. The F5v is light enough for all-day computing, tough enough for harsh environments and powerful enough to get the job done. Industrial markets served Manufacturing, supply chain management, shipping and distribution, logistics, automating and managing operations, processes and data, inventory tracking and management, inspections and quality control, the capture, analysis and transmission of data. Countries served Worldwide.

Websites: www.motioncomputing.co.uk


48,73/$<,1* $5281'

- )Y







Success story

Diary Crest secures on-site, real-time productivity in its warehouse and production facilities Dairy Crest is reaping major third-party management improvements since the deployment of Motion Computing F5 Tablet PCs at its distribution centre and factories. The Tablet PCs form part of a turnkey mobile system provided by Box Technologies and Prime Design Consultants. ith a need to ensure


practical contractor compliance at the place where permit to work activities are to be carried

out, Dairy Crest sought out a new mobile solution. The result was the introduction of the Motion Computing F5 Tablet PC at its distribution centre and factories throughout the UK and Ireland as part of a highly effective turnkey mobile system.

Improved monitoring With an aim of continually improving the way in which it managed third-party contractors on its sites, Dairy

Pascal Durdu: “Zetes is able to help food manufacturers benefit from many of the lessons already learned within the pharmaceutical sector as it continues its fight to improve consumer safety by preventing counterfeiting.”

Crest wanted to improve the paper-based systems it was using. This would then enable the company to better monitor

Design’s core control of contractors’ application ‘Salutis – Tracker’.

contractors’ activities; including the issuing of permit to work documents, and conducting risk

Signatures’ are captured directly onto the Motion

assessments to meet its statutory obligations. In

F5 Tablet PC using technology from IDSL Global

this way, Dairy Crest could better ensure

and Topaz systems called ‘SigPlus’. The same

improved management of on-site contractors to

technology is utilised on a IDSL Global signature

prevent any accidents and to ensure full

pad when the software is installed on a

contractor compliance while on-site.

conventional PC or laptop and ‘electronic ink’

Obtain contractors’ signatures with ease.

Take a picture with the build-in camera of any possible safety risks.

Eliminate any communications or safety compliance delays.

The technology

functionality is not available. By using SigPlus the

The semi-rugged Motion F5 Tablet PC has

More specifically, the challenge was to collate and

signatures can be encrypted and stored in the

replaced paper-based documentation at Dairy

manage a database of contractor-approved

database. Signatures are not stored as digitised

Crest and provided a central technology point for

documentation; issue an authorisation to work and

images and can only be displayed on the

the monitoring, control and issuing of

permit to work, when appropriate onsite at the

document they were originally signed against.

documentation. The main features of the Motion

place of work including appropriate signatures,

This therefore gives a high level of security to the

F5 Tablet PC include:

which remained auditable across the company.

signer and maintains the document integrity. •

Semi-Rugged Design.

A turnkey solution was provided by the

The opportunity with Dairy Crest and Prime

Powered by a Intel Core 2 Duo Processor.

combined expertise of Box Technologies and

Design’s software led directly to the deployment

Lightweight Design (3.3lbs).

Prime Design Consultants. Although Prime

of the Motion F5 Tablet PC to provide on-site,

View Anywhere Display.

Design already had a pilot version of an

real-time productivity in its warehouse and

Powerful Lithium-Ion battery.

Electronic Permit to Work application, the solution

production facilities. The additional features

Integrated Camera.

took a further two years of software development

designed into the lightweight Motion F5 Tablet

Desktop Docking Capability.

and found the perfect hardware ‘fit’ in the semi-

PC – including a powerful Intel Core 2 Duo

The units were supplied by Box Technologies

rugged Motion F5 Tablet PC. The

processor and improved battery life – allowed

under the product line of Box Mobile through its

software/hardware combination utilises Prime

Dairy Crest to:

ISV partner Prime Design Consultants.





December 2011


Success story

AUTOMATIC DATA CAPTURE for the Motion Computing F5 Tablet PC: “The

manager, Andy Cornick, said: “The

system has transformed the way Dairy Crest

deployment of the Motion F5 Tablet PC at

handle their health and safety

Head of group health and safety, Andy

Dairy Crest’s warehouse and production

documentation,” he said. “In companies

Malachrino, commented: “The electronic

sites has enabled us to address the real-time

where there are multiple sites or several

permit to work system has given us the ability

issues and auditable challenges associated

operational scenarios, the need for flexible

to more effectively control our contractor

with paper-based documentation.”

electronic systems is all too clear.” 

activities, with the Tablet PC giving us the

Continuing this theme of versatility, the

flexibility to manage work at the point where it

managing director of Prime Design, Keith

is actually carried out.”

Gibbons, can see much wider applications

Box Technologies With over 20-years of experience working in retail, hospitality, finance & banking, transport and logistics and many areas of the public sector, Box Technologies supplies a wide range of integrated IT- based business solutions. Box Technologies is well known the marketplace today for its consultative approach to business challenges. The company’s success lies in its vision and delivery of systems ranging from ‘off the shelf’ products to a completely custom built business solution, coupled with technical excellence in implementation and deployment. Box Technologies is adept at understanding how technology

interfaces with users to increase return on investment, respond to changing business needs and improve overall operational efficiency. Solutions offered Box Technologies bases its core foundation and commercial success on key business relationships with leading manufacturers, working within major product categories: EPoS, Mobile Computing, Self Service, and Digital Signage all supported by our in-house service delivery teams. Countries Served UK & Ireland.

Corporate Profile

Hanworth factory compliance and projects

Better control contractor activities

Websites: www.boxtechnologies.com

IT Solutions which work for you! From managing stock to delivering product, Box Technologies has DVROXWLRQWRPHHW\RXUVSHFLÀF requirements.

Box Technologies offers a solutions based approach: ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

End to End Project Management Design and Installation Implementation and Training Life Cycle Management

01844 264 000 sales@boxtechnologies.com


Delivering the Customer Interface Through Technology &LOGISTICSIT www.logisticsit.com MANUFACTURING

December 2011


Special technology report

Voice and WMS

Speaking sense Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with a number of key spokespeople within the Voice-directed system and Warehouse Management space about a range of current talking points and possible future developments. oice-directed systems have been


from the start by incorporating a Voice module

adding: “It has got to the stage now where

in use in warehouses and

into their own WMSs,” said Harper. “This gave

nearly all the major businesses, especially in

distribution centres (DCs) since

their customers the option of fully Voice

the retail industry, have already adopted Voice

the late ’90s, but since then there

directed warehousing including putaway,

for their order fulfilment operations. To the

have been a raft of further

picking, replenishment and counting – all by

Voice suppliers this means that most of the

developments and enhancements to the

Voice, in real time and with the Voice terminals

major Voice opportunities – the ‘low hanging

technology, although the basic benefits remain;

communicating directly with the WMS.”

fruit’ – are gone, with just the small-to-medium

including providing a paper-free method of

opportunities remaining.” With this in mind,

managing a range of warehouse functions

Harper observes that over the past year or two

including goods receiving, put-away, picking,

Bread and butter

the main Voice technology manufacturers have

dispatch and replenishment. And by ensuring

On the whole, though, Harper adds that most

worked towards making it much easier for

warehouse workers are able to operate hands

WMS companies did not embrace Voice

WMS companies to integrate Voice into their

and eyes free, Voice-directed systems can

technology entirely, with just a few supplying

warehouse management systems in the hope

substantially improve levels of efficiency and

an option for picking by Voice if the customer

of addressing many of these smaller

accuracy. Reflecting on developments in the

specifically asked for it. “This created a big

opportunities. “This should result in more Voice

Voice-directed systems marketplace in recent

market for middleware, which became the

choices for the WMS user,” said Harper.

times, John Harper, sales application manager

Voice technology resellers’ bread and butter

at Dematic, comments that Voice has served

over the last decade,” he remarked.

its time as an emerging technology and is now

Middleware, as the name suggests, provides

accepted within the

some software functionality that fits between

Truly configurable applications

logistics industry as

the host WMS and the Voice terminals. Harper

Stephen Gerrard, vice president, marketing &

one of the most

comments that it is this method that has been

strategic planning at Voxware, comments that a

efficient and accurate

the most popular method of adopting Voice

major current development within the Voice-

methods of manual

thus far. “It has enabled countless companies

directed systems space is the emergence of

order fulfilment. He

to use Voice-directed picking, even though

truly configurable Voice software applications.

points out that Voice

their WMS does not support it,” he said,

“Warehouses are dynamic work environments

can now be used on an ever widening Stephan Vennemann, business development manager WMS

range of host devices. “Some WMS companies ‘saw the light’ many years ago and embraced Voice





December 2011

The most important reasons for integration of software in logistics processes are faster and more accurate delivery to customers in combination with possibilities for cost reduction because of better planning of the entire process.” – Stephan Vennemann, Vanderlande.


Voice and WMS

David Stanhope, CEO

Special technology report

where managers

For Richard Adams, vice president of sales at

maximum benefit from existing investments in

continually look for

Vocollect EMEA, one of the most striking

Voice and to broaden the scope of use of the

ways to improve

developments for Voice-directed work is the

technology. He states that Zetes sees market

business processes,”

use of Voice beyond traditional picking

growth in two directions. “First, there is

he said.

applications. “While some Voice customers

horizontal growth – expanding usage within the


migrate from paper to

software enables

Voice across multiple

enterprises to control

workflows from the

the cost of change

outset, others typically

far more effectively,

begin with Voice in the

whilst making it

picking workflow,” he

possible to evolve the

said. “Once they realise

use of Voice within the operation.”

double-digit gains in productivity and

warehouse to different

Voice picking continues to provide the ‘quick win’ by producing a rapid ROI, but after that investment has been made users are increasingly looking for other areas in the operation that could also benefit from Voice to maximise their ROI.” – David Stanhope, VoiteQ.

activities i.e. from picking to stock management and putaway applications,” he said. “Secondly there is vertical expansion across different industry sectors. So Voice implementations began with 3PLs and

In Gerrard’s view, industry consolidation is

accuracy in picking,

another major development, with the

they quickly discover

acquisition of US-based Vocollect by Intermec

the value of deploying

earlier this year. “Vocollect was the last

Voice to other workflows for their hands-busy,

sectors such as healthcare, pharma and within

boutique manufacturer of Voice-only devices,”

eyes-busy workers. They soon find increased

manufacturing operations.”

he said, “so this sets up a showdown between

productivity and accuracy benefits, as well as

the major manufacturers for market share in the

efficiencies such as a 10 to 20 per cent

arena of rugged Voice-capable mobility

reduction in warehouse vehicles, which lowers

Demand for ‘plug and play’

devices. Naturally this benefits customers

capital expenditures and ongoing

Andreas Finken, director of topVOX US and

because device prices will continue to drop,


managing director of topVOX UK, explains that

allowing for wider marketplace adoption.”

consumer goods industries and uptake is now broadening to new

the key issue for topVOX customers is the

Gerrard adds that customers also benefit from

David Stanhope, CEO at VoiteQ, comments

demand for a ‘plug and play’ system for the

a clearer playing field of Voice vendors, and

thatVoice is increasingly being used for more

use of Voice in logistics. “The expenditure for

can more readily discern between hardware

than just picking; such as goods in,

integration into the existing IT structure should

manufacturers, system integrators and software

replenishment and inventory. “Although VoiteQ

be as minimal as possible,” he said. “With our

solutions providers who all play in the Voice

Voice-enabled all warehouse operations almost

Voice suite topSpeech Lydia, we offer a


13 years ago it only now seems to be being

custom-fit solution. Our standard interfaces

widely talked about taking Voice beyond

allow a quick and easy connection to leading

picking,” he said. “Voice picking continues to

WMS systems. We have already mapped all

Out of reach

provide the ‘quick win’ by producing a rapid

current work processes related to intralogistics

Gavin Clark, commercial manager at Synergy

ROI, but after that investment has been made

in our Voice system, so that no additional time-

Logistics, reflects that, typically‚Voice‘ has

users are increasingly looking for other areas in

consuming adjustments are necessary. Thanks

historically been for the larger operators. “The

the operation that could also benefit from Voice

to the speaker-independent speech recogniser,

costs involved in licensing and implementing the solutions always took Voice out of reach for the majority,” he said. “In recent years, the move towards Software as a Service (SaaS) business models has moved not only WMS but also

What has developed in the past few years is a much wider range of available integration methods to suit different sizes and types of warehouse operation and the integration preference of customers and WMS/ERP companies.” – Richard Adams, Vocollect.

Voice-directed solutions

to maximise their ROI.

employees can immediately work productively

This has lead to the

with topSpeech-Lydia without training.”

expansion of Voice ‘tasks’ being created to meet

And, specifically with

these requirements.”

regard to the WMS space, what have

In the opinion of Steve

been some of the

Binder, senior director,

key developments in

sales & marketing at

recent times?

Zetes, there are two main

According to


Stephan Vennemann,



towards a monthly subscription, which has

points. First, he believes customers are looking


made the benefits of Voice available to a far

to move away from proprietary systems and

manager WMS at

wider audience and at a far more cost-effective

implement open systems. Secondly, Binder’s

Vanderlande, one of

price point.”

view is that customers want to get the

these is Performance


Richard Adams, vice president of sales



December 2011



Special technology report

Voice and WMS

Management. “We see

Steve Binder, senior director, sales & marketing

requirements, the downside is a high cost

developments focusing

Partnership approach

(more programming) every time the solution

on business process

What are some of the main functionality

needs to be modified,” he said. “Today we see

optimisation,” he said.

differentiators among the Voice-directed

configurable software products in the Voice

“Warehouses and

system and WMS vendor community? In

market – and this is the wave of the future.

distribution centres

Stanhope’s view, all Voice-directed systems

Configurable products enable the Voice

(DCs) face continuous

should be able to deliver the same level of

solution to be tailored to the company’s unique

changes, such as

functionality. However, he adds that it is down

needs, and the cost to modify such a product

changes in order

to the quality and experience of the Voice

is far less than with traditional Voice solutions.”

patterns, seasonality,

provider to deliver functionality that precisely

product range, and

meets the customer

various peaks (peak

needs; including meeting

days, peak weeks,

timescales, service level

peak months). As

and budget i.e. to deliver

Finken considers that while

Customers investing in Voice today are doing so during a difficult economic environment in which any capital expenditure is carefully scrutinised.” – Steve Binder, Zetes.

WMS providers model the logistics work flows of a logistics facility in their

business changes over time, the logistics

on promises. “This needs

system needs to support these changes in

to be consistently true

the best possible way. Is capacity still

throughout the

sufficient? What are the bottle necks? Are the

partnership, not just at the

processes still adequate? In an automated

initial agreement stage, ”

DC, these challenges provide an opportunity

he said. “At VoiteQ we

to implement highly intelligent material

always take a partnership approach with our

providers, what is important is that the

handling systems, based on a thorough

customers, to develop specifically solutions for

customer is supported in the efficient

understanding of the supply chain and DC

them, be it Voice picking on a conveyor at

management of employees and that he is able


Littlehampton Book Services or creating a

to optimise the quality of the order picking,” he

direct interface to new in-house WMS

said. “In this way we ensure that our customers

Sudip Masoji, business development manager

functionality at Mamas & Papas, it essential to

increase their business success.”

at DLoG UK, maintains that organisations need

be able to develop solutions that work for the

to be more agile in today's highly competitive


systems, the pick by Voice application provides ergonomic and efficient implementation of the commissioning processes as a subsystem. “For Voice

For Clark, Voice-only systems can sometimes

market, which means being able to respond

be very role-specific, which, he says, can take

quickly to changes and to deliver exactly what

Gerrard considers that, from the highest level,

away the flexibility and efficiency delivered by

customers want, when they want it. “This has

all Voice solutions look pretty much the same –

an RF operator controlled in real time. “For

resulted in a demand for integrated real-time systems to help maximise operational efficiency and productivity, and to increase visibility of the movement of goods through the warehousee,” he said. “This is achieved through

…the cost of Voice is starting to come down, but the customer should always consider the ROI rather than the initial cost of the implementation; as the difference in hardware costs won’t increase the time to ROI by much.” – John Harper, Dematic.

a closed-loop approach

workers receive

example, a Voice operator with specific

instructions through a

hardware (no barcode scanner) would be far

headset and they give

slower if directed to receive at Goods In, than

verbal responses as work

an operator with a barcode scanner,” he

progresses. “Under the

commented. “Voice-specific devices often

covers, however, there are

have no screen, which can limit their

big differences that

usefulness outside of picking and make user

impact ease of use,

training slower, which must be taken into

operational flexibility, and

account in smaller,

long term cost,” he said.

more nimble

“Smart buyers will probe


for these differences to

that facilitates the easy flow of data throughout

ensure getting a solution that fits their needs

the organisation by being able to electronically

both today and tomorrow.

distribute and collect essential process data to

Many Voice solutions are fat client applications

Minimal errors

and from the operator at the point of use.”

built on proprietary scripting languages and

In terms of the

According to Masoji, the essential nature of the

thus entail a closed architecture. Other

differentiators among

information exchange process, particularly

solutions are based on open standards and

the larger vendors of

within wireless and mobile network

promise wider flexibility for the future.” Gerrard

Voice systems,

infrastructures, means that companies must

reminds us that, traditionally, Voice solutions

Adams maintains that

also consider a robust platform that can

were bespoke applications. “While companies

the quality of the

effectively and reliably support this process.

got a solution crafted for their specific

voice recognition is





December 2011

John Harper, sales application manager.


Voice and WMS

Special technology report

lower costs and best-of-breed solutions.”

critical. “It must work

way as it doesn’t see how it can support a

with minimal errors or

system that it has not developed itself. “But we

repeats in noisy

always give the IT department a big input into

Gerrard comments that, increasingly, Voxware

environments,” he

how the final solution should work and make

is seeing demand for Voice to be integrated

said. “And it must

them as independent from us as is possible,”

with other modes of data collection to maximise

take into account the

he added.

worker performance. “This requires software that can easily be used to create Voice and

language and accent

multimodal workflows,” he said. Binder points

of the speaker; i.e., train the system to

Make or break

out that to reduce the level of hardware

recognise the worker,

What might be the next

investment required Zetes sees a trend towards

not train the worker to

innovations/developments to look out for in the

implementing more server driven systems,

speak to the system.”

world of Voice-directed systems and WMS

whereby the role of hardware is more limited

Another key

software in the near future? Harper believes

than it has been in the past. From topVOX’s

differentiator for Voice-based systems,

that the next year or two will make or break the

perspective, Finken envisages that with its

according to Adams, is their capability to easily

SaaS model of warehouse management

Voice system the entire closed process chain –

integrate with the ERP/WMS. Binder’s view is

system delivery. He added that we are likely to

from order placement and handling in the

that there are two main differentiators. First,

see Voice driving more warehouse processes,

warehouse site to transportation and delivery –

there are untrained/trained systems, available

and the next couple of years should prove

will be accompanied by topSpeech-Lydia.

Stephen Gerrard, vice president, marketing & strategic planning

from Zetes. Secondly there is the thin client approach which aids the Voice dialogues and flow control being completed by the WMS systems. “This creates a very flexible software architecture,” he said. Masoji highlights the benefits of ruggedised

whether or not Voice

Warehouses are dynamic work environments where managers continually look for ways to improve business processes. Configurable software enables enterprises to control the cost of change far more effectively, whilst making it possible to evolve the use of Voice within the operation.” – Stephen Gerrard, Voxware.

industrial computers

can deliver an acceptable ROI for

Double-digit gains


According to Adams, Vocollect has a bold

processes in the retail

vision for the warehouse and distribution centre

business. Clark makes

market. This includes the belief that companies

the point that the

will expand their use of Voice-directed

number of business-to-

solutions beyond picking to workflows such as

consumer shipments is

cycle-counting, receiving, loading, put-away,

growing in the UK, with

replenishment, put-to-store and more. “This

an increasing focus on

number is growing, as executives continue to

service levels. “Many

recognise the impact that Voice can bring to

WMS companies are

their logistics operations,” he said.

now offering carrier

designed specifically to operate reliably in

integration, but this technology will be required

Stanhope observes that complementary

harsh environmental conditions. He also makes

much earlier in the buying cycle, even before

functionality is being added to Voice solutions

the point that WLAN/mobile infrastructures can

the checkout, ” he said.

such as barcode scanning, data presentation

extend the accessibility of these solutions to

on screen, and increasingly Voice is being

areas where non-industrialised units can prove

Vennemann sees further developments taking

used on a handheld or vehicle mounted

less proficient. As an example, he explains that

place in business process optimisation, to

terminal. And, like Adams, he foresees a

a PC with a fanless design and IP protection

support the ever changing and increasingly

greater move towards the Voice-centric

rating can be used in a wider range of

complex business environment of

warehouse, with Voice being used not only for

temperatures – hot and cold – and are suitable

Vanderlande’s customers. In addition, he

picking but also for

for moving between indoor and outdoor

believes WMS product development will

other disciplines such


continue to focus on modular, configurable

as goods-in, putaway,

system solutions, created from standard

picking, replenishment,

Harper considers that some Voice

building blocks. “Vanderlande will continue to

through to despatch. 

manufacturers offer ‘open’ Voice systems

develop such solutions,” he said. “For our

where the manufacturer sells the customer the

customers, this means faster implementation,

Voice hardware, the software and give them some training on how to create their own Voice ‘task’. This, he says, can be appealing to some companies where the IT department wants to develop all the systems they deploy. However he points out that Dematic doesn’t work this


Some SaaS WMS vendors even include Voice in their overall package, bringing the best of both worlds together for their clients.” – Gavin Clark, Snapfulfil.

Gavin Clark, commercial manager



December 2011



Warehouse Management


Success story

Hilton Meats successfully takes fully automated warehouse, built by Vanderlande Industries, into operation ilton Meats, a large pre-packed meat producer based in Zaandam, the Netherlands, has successfully taken a fully automated warehouse into operation. The order fulfilment system, built by Vanderlande Industries, is based on the Automated Tote Picking concept. It includes a six aisle miniload automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), which enables fully automated order picking of totes with packed meat. The new facility ensures a more efficient order picking process, makes better use of available space, lowers operational costs and improves stock management and control.


Prepared for future growth The new system was installed during the busiest production time of Hilton Meats, with minimum impact on ongoing operations. The solution is scalable and prepared to accommodate future business growth as well an upgrade to store / shelf ready order picking. Vanderlande was selected as a partner because the company proposed a very compact solution with high storage density and had strong IT capabilities. Vanderlande also has a strong track record in meat logistics, with references such as EDEKA (D) Micarna (CH), Bell AG (CH), Casaventa (B)

Stacks of single SKU totes stored in a miniload.

Meats wanted to increase the storage density in the warehouse, while at the same time increase the efficiency of the order picking process.

Automated Tote Picking The order fulfilment system is based on the Automated Tote Picking concept. In the warehouse, stacks of single SKU totes coming from Production are stored in a six aisle miniload automated storage and retrieval

The fully automated warehouse process has significantly improved the efficiency in the order picking process. It makes much better use of available floor space thanks to high storage density. It also lowers operational costs and improves stock management and control.”

and ProMessa (NL). Hilton Meats Zaandam processes and packs meat for Albert Heijn, the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands. To keep up with the growing demand from Albert Heijn, Hilton





December 2011

system (AS/RS) with a storage capacity of 200,000 totes. Order information on tote level is transferred from the Hilton’s ERP system (SAP) to Vanderlande’s Vision Warehouse Management System (WMS). Stacks are retrieved from the miniload AS/RS and routed

through two stackers to the dolly loading area. Here the totes are automatically loaded in the right sequence on dollies with an output of 300 dollies per hour. The system includes Vision.BPI, a business process intelligence module, which provides insight into all warehouse processes and enables logistic process optimisation. The fully automated warehouse process has significantly improved the efficiency in the order picking process. It makes much better use of available floor space thanks to high storage density. It also lowers operational costs and improves stock management and control. Hilton Meats Zaandam is part of the Hilton Food Group PLC, a leading specialist in the meat-packing business, supplying major international food retailers, such as Tesco, Albert Heijn, ICA and Coop. All packed meat is distributed from state-of-the-art facilities located in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and Denmark. 


Warehouse Management

Vanderlande Industries is a leading material handling company with more than 60 years of experience. The company has successfully automated more than 1000 warehouses and distribution centres worldwide. Vanderlande Industries specialises in designing and building intelligent IT-driven material handling systems and related services, which cover the entire distribution centre process, from Goods Receiving to Shipping. These solutions enable customers to organise their process in the most efficient, cost effective way. Vanderlande Industriesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; automated material handling solutions have low labour requirements, make efficient use of available floor space, and enable companies to deliver higher customer service levels, while keeping costs down. In financial year 2011 the company had sales of â&#x201A;Ź566 million. Vanderlande Industries operates from its headquarters in the Netherlands and Customer Centres in many countries. Solutions offered Vanderlande Industries specialises in designing and building intelligent IT-driven materials handling systems and related

Success story

services, which cover the entire distribution centre process, from Goods Receiving to Shipping. Our solutions include order picking/order fulfilment systems, automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), sortation systems, conveyor systems/internal transport systems and Warehouse Management and Control Systems (WMS/WCS). Industrial markets served Vanderlande Industries has automated well over 1000 warehouses and distribution centres, which can be found in a wide range of industries, such as: food retail; non-food retail; fashion, footwear and accessories; media and games; office supplies; business-to-consumer; pharmaceuticals and personal care; parts & components and automotive. Countries served Vanderlande Industries serves customers worldwide from its headquarters in the Netherlands and Customer Centres in many countries.

Website: www.vanderlande.com

Corporate Profile

Vanderlande Industries



Empower your stores. Streamline your warehouse operations. Reduce out of stock, improve in-store logistics, process orders quickly and accurately, realise lowest cost per case. Find out what we can do for you at:





December 2011



Warehouse Management


Success story

Sobeys puts its trust in Witronʼs OPM solution for a second time ith annual sales of more than CAD 15 billion, 85,000 employees and 1300 stores, Sobeys Inc. is Canada’s second-largest food retailer. The company has been using Witron’s automated case picking system since mid2009 at its DC in Vaughan, Ontario. The success of that project led Sobeys to award Witron with a second project in Quebec. The Quebec contact was signed in April 2010, with a planned start-up at the end of 2012. The Quebec DC will be designed to supply many hundreds of stores and handle a SKU base of nearly 18,000 dry grocery articles. The facility is planned to cover 424,000 square feet and will provide a peak daily picking output of nearly 275,000 cases and totes. In order to synchronise all the logistical requirements with maximum efficiency and cost effectiveness, Witron will implement its OPM (Order Picking Machinery), DPS (Dynamic Picking System) and CPS (Car Picking System) modules in the Quebec DC. “In today’s competitive work environment, the ability to rely on partners such as Witron who possess expertise in this field will ensure our leadership in the field,” stated Stéphanie Brisebois, project director.


Next generation The DC’s core logistical element will be the OPM system for fully automated case picking. The OPM for Quebec represents Witron‘s next-generation of OPM technology. The new generation installed in Quebec will offer even higher picking performance and lower energy requirements than previous OPM versions. Witron’s OPM system at Quebec will be driven by 16 pallet building machines (‘COMs’) that will be fed by 32 tray cranes with access to 350,000 storage locations. Small-volume articles in the Quebec DC will be picked at ten ergonomic workstations within Witron’s DPS system. The corresponding 3-aisle automated small parts





December 2011

warehouse will boast 70,000 tote storage positions. The main feature of the DPS is the order-driven static and dynamic staging of articles in a tote pickfront which is replenished by AS/RS cranes. The picking of large and bulky articles at the Quebec DC will take place in Witron’s Car Picking System (CPS). CPS is a pallet picking solution with path-optimised order picking supported by pick-by-voice operator guidance. The pickfront is automatically replenished by AS/RS cranes. The CPS module will be integrated into an automated high-bay warehouse with 28,000 storage positions and 10 stacker cranes. Replenishment for the OPM and DPS areas will also be controlled from this warehouse. Witron will act as general contractor on the Quebec project, designing, delivering, and installing all the components for the mechanics, material flow, IT and controls. The conveyor elements used will be manufactured by Witron’s subsidiary FAS. This second Sobeys project is significant for Witron for two reasons. First and foremost, it demonstrates the trust that Witron’s clients place in OPM technology. Secondly, the Quebec project marks a milestone in that it brings the total number of COMs sold over the 385 mark. Witron’s OPM system is having a profound impact on grocery distribution throughout the world. The world’s largest and most respected companies in retail industries have recognised the benefits of the OPM system as a tool for maintaining and gaining competitive advantage.

Store-friendly pallets

Witron’s proprietary COM (Case Order Machine) is at the heart of Sobeys’ Order Picking Machinery (OPM) system.

benefits are made possible through Witron’s proprietary COM (Case Order Machine) at the heart of the OPM system. The COM allows cases to be automatically stacked on top of order pallets in a store-friendly sequence, without any of the gaps around the cases that result in many robotic pallet-building applications. Although revolutionary in its approach, the majority of the components and processes that drive the OPM are standard within the world of warehouse automation. In just six years, Witron’s patented OPM solution has developed into the most successful automated order picking system in food retail. To date, more than 2 billion cases have been picked fully automatically with the Case Order Machine (COM). Every day, 3 million cases are stacked onto pallets or roller containers in a store-friendly manner. The OPM solution can easily handle up to 15,000 different articles in both dry and temperaturecontrolled environments. A repeat business share of 80 per cent is indicative of the cost effectiveness of this solution. 

The OPM system allows store-friendly deliveries to stores, while virtually eliminating picking labour within the DC. The benefits of such a system extend beyond the DC, with a reduction in effort to fill store shelves as a result of store-friendly pallets. In addition, transportation benefits can be realised from improved order pallet density. All of these


Warehouse Management


Success story

Witron designs and realises turnkey picking and material flow solutions that provide clients with competitive advantages. As a systems integrator, Witron’s scope includes design, integration, ramp-up and life-cycle services. Solutions can be found in a variety of industries, from manufacturing to retail distribution. Headquartered in Parkstein, Germany, Witron has remained family-owned since its foundation more than 40 years ago. With over 2000 projects under its belt, the solution provider has experienced steady and solid growth. As of 2011, the company employs around 1200 people worldwide and has sales in excess of 200 million Euros. Other branches are located in Arlington Heights/Illinois (USA), Venray (the Netherlands), Madrid (Spain) and Stokeon-Trent (UK). Witron staff has multidisciplinary competence, enabling the company to manage the complexities of sophisticated automation projects. The systems integrator takes functional responsibility throughout all project phases, from concept design through to implementation. This end-to-end approach allows the company to deliver its projects on-time and on-budget. In addition, Witron provides the support and service required to maintain its systems long after implementation is complete.

Solutions offered Witron plans and realises turnkey, fast and efficient warehouse, picking and distribution solutions. The main focus of the performance portfolio includes: Consultation, Planning and Engineering; Responsible General Contracting; Realisation of Automated Logistics Integrated Solutions; Warehouse Management Systems, Material Flow Control Systems; Integration of Complex Systems, Ramp-Up Management; Customer Support Services; Re-Engineering, Retrofits. Industrial markets served Among Witron’s customers are internationally recognised names in various manufacturing and retail sectors; such as Alliance Boots, Sainsbury’s, Edeka, Porsche, Staedler and Kroger. Countries served Worldwide.

Corporate Profile


Website: www.witron.com

Innovative Logistics Systems

Logistics Planning & Design General Contractor Software & PLC Control Systems Mechanics Service & Maintenance Plant Operation

WITRON Engineering BV Keizersveld 47c 5803 AM Venray The Netherlands Tel.: +31 478 551 855 Fax: +31 478 551 850 info@witron.co.uk


Retail / Distribution Industry / Manufacturing Food / Beverage Automotive / Electronics Health & Beauty / Pharma

Obtain the maximum in logistics Economical, flexible and reliable are the key words in the design and implementation of our automated systems for order picking and storage. Thanks to state-of-theart technology, WITRON offers its clients innovative and efficient logistic solutions that provide important competitive advantages.




December 2011



Warehouse Management


Success story

CLASS conversion for The Co-operative Group long-time user of a warehouse modelling tool, the logistics services team at The Cooperative Group first became aware of Cirrus Logistics’ CLASS (Computerised Layout and Simulation Software) when the business acquired Somerfield and, along with it, a CLASS licence. Until this point, the team was quite happy with the technology it was using and was initially doubtful that CLASS could better it. However, they decided to attend a Cirrus Logistics training course to learn more about CLASS. Then, the team led by The Cooperative’s warehouse design and project analyst Chris Sollinger trialled CLASS on a modelling exercise that had already been undertaken using the existing tool.


Faster and more accurate model building However, the team remained sceptical about the power of CLASS to successfully assess the real warehouse scenario until the latest generation of CLASS was released. This introduced a number of new features, key among which was the ability to import real warehouse activity direct from the warehouse management system. The facility meant that even faster and more accurate model building than before was now possible and that a range of simulation possibilities based on accurate and current data were

Testing CLASS The test project was for the design of a new warehouse in Scotland, transporting an AutoCAD design into CLASS and then preparing a presentation for The Co-operative senior management team. This included an animated fly-through video which was so well received and understood that the logistics team decided immediately to use this element of CLASS for all future

now available. Sollinger decided that it was time to employ the technology to tackle a problem at the new purpose-designed CDC in Newhouse, Scotland which was currently under construction.

the use of the Site Traffic Yard module of CLASS to simulate activity across the site – a capability that did not exist within The Cooperative’s previous system. Once again, The Co-operative team was trained by Cirrus, this time in the use of the module, so that the entire project could be handled in-house. The first simulation looked at movements in the de-kit area when the yard was at its busiest with both Co-operative and 3PL vehicles and it established that the perceived congestion

problem was not as serious as initially thought and that there were, in fact, sufficient bays. As before, the 3D modelling and fly-throughs meant that Sollinger’s team was able to demonstrate this clearly to the depot’s general manager and the senior team before moving on to test a plan to extend the vehicle turnaround time. This, CLASS showed, would actually result in an increase in site congestion. While the results of the simulations were convincing, Sollinger was also impressed by the responsiveness and reliability of Cirrus in dealing with any teething problems that arose – an important factor for a team determined to handle the work in-house.

Onto the next level

presentations of new depots to the board. Previously, The Co-operative had used architects to prepare these. Now Sollinger and his team had a tool that they could use themselves in-house which delivered compelling presentations – achieving an instant saving in architects’ fees.

With the business case made for CLASS, the logistics services team is now preparing for a major new project using the technology. Until now, The Co-operative has opted for an entirely pick-by-store approach in its warehouses. In the next project, after Sollinger and his team have been through a tailored advanced training course, they will be using CLASS to explore the impact on efficiency of the introduction of pickby-line operations in a number of their warehouses. 

The graphics are a million times better than what we had before, the help function is brilliant, the modifications between projects are easy because you don’t have to change all the co-ordinates, and being able to bring data in from the WMS makes a massive difference.” – Chris Sollinger, The Co-operative.





December 2011

The centre had its own dedicated de-kit area where the cages, trays and other used packaging were taken off vehicles returning from making deliveries. A degree of congestion was occurring in this area and the logistics team wanted to understand its extent and explore options for improvement. This required


Warehouse Management


Success story

Cirrus Logisticsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; focus in in warehouse modelling and simulation solutions. The company helps customers to improve their operation and minimise risk, by providing decision support tools across a broad spectrum of applications and industry types; including the logistics, oil, retail, food, pharmaceutical, chemical and air sectors. Drawing on this rich pool of experience and the skill of the team, Cirrus Logistics continues to set the standard in the application of simulation and optimisation technology.

SEABERTH SEABERTH uses sophisticated scheduling techniques and the 'human touch' to maximise port throughput, whilst minimising waiting time and demurrage costs.

Solutions offered CLASS CLASS is a leading software product for companies that wish to design, test and re-design the layout of their warehouses for maximum efficiency, as well as simulate a number of operational scenarios in a virtual environment.

Countries served Worldwide.

COST2SERV The COST2SERV product family helps customers to optimise their network strategy, supply chain planning and consignment fulfilment. Common questions COST2SERV can answer: How many depots do we need? Will the network work? What will it cost? Is it robust? What are the viable alternatives and what will they cost?


Industrial markets served Cirrus Logisticsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; solutions have been used to improve operations in a variety of industries, including the logistics, oil, retail, food, pharmaceutical, chemical and air sectors.

Website: www.cirruslogistics.com



December 2011


Corporate Profile

Cirrus Logistics


V OICE technology

Success story

Nisa-Today’s upgrades its Voice hardware across the estate isa-Today’s has purchased over

screen-based units. The selection criteria was

250 Vocollect Talkman T5

based on performance and user acceptance,

dedicated Voice terminals from

including the ergonomics of the unit. The

VoiteQ, replacing the

Talkman T5 was selected, following

company’s existing Talkman T2

impressive performance during the trial and


mobile computers in their Harlow, Stoke and

very high user acceptance.

Scunthorpe distribution centres. This signifies a significant investment in the company’s


future use of Voice technology, which forms

Wayne Swallow, Nisa-

part of its long-term software strategy.

Today’s IT director, commented: “We knew

In 2003 Nisa-Today’s launched an initiative to

we wanted to continue

terminals and to add

introduce the industry’s most advanced

to use Voice, as we

resilience to the current

technology for order-picking within its

believe that Voice is still

solution, so the IT backbone

Scunthorpe facilities. With paper-based

the right solution for

was already in place for this

picking in use at that time, the group opted to

Nisa-Today’s operation.

rollout. The new Talkman T5s

bypass traditional RF scanning-based picking

Having decided to

will also offer users the ability

technologies in favour of a then- cutting-edge

invest in our Voice

to ‘auto logon’ via their

Voice-recognition system, including the UK’s

solution, we wanted to

dedicated Vocollect

first pick-by-line using voice, for maximum

re-evaluate the

headsets, significantly

future-proofing. Seven years on the voice

hardware options that

reducing logon time for the

solution has more than proved itself, so the

were now available to

Voice users, including over

decision was made to upgrade the Voice

us seven years after our

120 concurrent users at the

hardware to invest in the future use of voice

initial implementation.

Scunthorpe site alone.

technology. In addition Nisa-Today decided to

VoiteQ was happy to let

implement the Voice solution at its new

us trial a range of options to enable us to

Livingston depot, to ensure all the depots

select which one would work best for us,

David Stanhope, VoiteQ’s CEO, said: “Being

benefit from Voice technology.

based on how they worked in our

hardware-agnostic offers VoiteQ customers

environment, with our team. Talkman proved

the option to choose which hardware they


would like to use, and we will interface,

Talkman proved to be the best choice from both a user acceptance and the performance point of view, so we decided to upgrade our existing T2s to the Talkman T5 device.” – Wayne Swallow, Nisa-Today’s.

implement and support it. For us it is key that long-term customers such as Nisa-Today’s, have this flexibility available to them to ensure they get a solution which exactly meets their ever-changing requirements.” Richard Adams, VP and managing director,

Although Voice technology is part of Nisa-

to be the best choice from both a user

Vocollect EMEA, added: “We are continually

Today’s long-term software strategy, the team

acceptance and the performance point of

consulting with our partners and end-

wanted to ensure the company had the right

view, so we decided to upgrade our existing

customers to ensure our new products meet

hardware for the operation. Thus it shortlisted

T2s to the Talkman T5 device.”

their business requirements. It is gratifying

six units to be trialled in the depots as part of

that early adopters like Nisa-Today’s are re-

the selection process. The hardware ranged

The Voice servers were migrated to run

affirming their commitment to the Vocollect

from dedicated Voice terminals, including the

Vocollect VoiceConsole at the end of 2009 in

solution and making further solid long-term

Talkman T5, to Voice on a handheld unit and

preparation for the upgrade of the Voice

investments in Voice.” 





December 2011


Success story

V OICE technology

Corporate Profile

VoiteQ Voice-directed solutions provider, VoiteQ, provides industry leading solutions that can increase productivity and accuracy, and enable greater visibility of warehouse operations.

Industrial markets served VoiteQ focuses on the Retail, Distribution and Logistics industry and continues to build on its rapidly growing list of 3PLs, wholesalers and large retail clients.

VoiteQ is a leading UK reseller of Vocollect Voice directed distribution systems, having supplied hardware, software, services and support to the majority of UK warehouses that have Voice implementations. VoiceMan, VoiteQ’s proven and functionally rich software product, is a highly popular application for Voice solutions.

VoiteQ recently received Vocollect’s ‘Best Industry Business Development Partner’ award for the reseller that had sold the most Voice systems into markets other than the traditional grocery retail sector in 2010.

Solutions offered VoiteQ delivers solutions via its Voice application, VoiceMan, or by working in partnership with market-leading WMS providers. VoiceMan is a mature and flexible product with an on-going roadmap. It seamlessly integrates with any existing warehouse management system to bring the substantial benefits of Voice-directed work to your warehouse operations.


Countries served Europe and USA.

Website: www.voiteq.com



December 2011



Special Technology technology report Report Supply Chain Management

Seeing the whole picture Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with a number of prominent spokespeople within the Supply Chain Management vendor community about some of the current key points of discussion within this vibrant technology vertical. any of today’s best Supply

spokespeople, whose opinions and reflections

classic time and money arguments – this

Chain Management (SCM)

make up this special report.

doesn’t seem to have changed much.”

functionality benefits;

For Dan Turner, chief technology officer at

Karin Bursa, vice president of marketing,

including Sales & Operations

ByBox, the current trends the company is

Logility, believes it important for vendors to go

Planning/Integrated Business Planning,

seeing are about providing increased visibility

beyond what a typical ERP or SCM solution

Business Intelligence (BI) and Demand

and then allowing a wider range of actions as

offers in order to leverage optimisation across

Planning & Forecasting. In recent times many

a result. “It’s Business Intelligence but on

the functional areas of the supply chain. This,

of the leading solutions providers on the

steroids,” he quipped. “For example,

she maintains, is one of the top

market have fine-tuned and enhanced the


solutions offer a raft of

way their systems can be integrated within the wider IT infrastructure of their end customer. There is also Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) to consider, and what the benefits or pitfalls might be for users considering these adoption models. And what of

Markets are changing rapidly. This can be seen in the short product lifecycles of consumer electronics goods; the impact of downloadable files on the music industry; and the complex mix of retail channels now available. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and retailers are being confronted with a whole set of new challenges – optimising inventory, order management and fulfilment across multiple channels.” – Craig Sears-Black, Manhattan Associates.

the effect mobile

Craig Sears-Black, UK managing director



technology is having,

customers not only want to know everywhere

considerations today. “Companies need to

and will continue to

they’re holding stock (including, for example,

optimally plan inventory across a multi-

have, on the SCM

repairers and engineers) but then they want to

echelon supply chain,” she said. “However

space? These are

be able to do something with it; like picking

most only address finished goods at a

just some of the

and shipping a good repaired part directly

specific distribution centre with limited

issues and questions

from repairer to engineer rather than shipping

visibility of inventory throughout their network.”

that we put to our

from repairer to warehouse first or, even

Additionally, Bursa considers that the ability to

guest vendor

worse, buying a new one. The benefits are the

evaluate multiple supply and productions



December 2011


Supply Chain Management

Special Technology Report

scenarios to

even R&D (especially in the consumer goods

requirements within the modern SCM space.

determine which

/ FMCG industry).” The ‘traditional’ S&OP

“Manufacturers are being driven to provide

plan best meets the

processes, believes Phillips, have quickly

better information and labelling on goods they

needs of the

become a comfort zone – and customers are

ship, with an emphasis on their customers to

business – while

now questioning the boundaries.

provide better forecasts to meet customer

meeting corporate

Shaun Phillips, global product manager

demands,” she said. Campbell added that

objectives such as

This is set against the

least cost or highest

context that S&OP buying

margin, customer

behaviour differs,

priority, etc. – is

considers Phillips. “We


regularly see customers approach with an S&OP strategy already under

customers are wanting to

By focusing on a given industry – or rather specialising by industry – you can offer a complete application that offers everything a business in that industry will need, but only what it will need. Integrations, configurations and analytics shouldn't be part of the implementation; they should be part of the application.” – Shaun Phillips, Infor.

make more immediate purchases and enjoy shorter lead times together with lower costs. She believes there is therefore a need for

Accelerated evolution of S&OP

development and they

Shaun Phillips, global product manager,

solutions they need to

supply chain planning, at Infor, reflects that

dive down to, in order to

the biggest development Infor has seen in

complete the next piece

recent times has been the accelerated

of that strategy. As a

evolution of Sales & Operations Planning

result, technology has

(S&OP) – the latest evolution of which is also

had to evolve to offer a

known as Integrated Business Planning.

range of specific

“Quite frankly, the growth in this area has

solutions. In addition to the initial planning

increasing, as are raw materials,” she said.

exceeded our expectations,” said Phillips.

and BI systems, the injection of workflow

So, in her view, better planning of transport is

This, he continued, has been driven largely by

technology has been critical, and the ‘what-if’

needed, while direct deliveries from

what he describes as a remarkable evolution

engines of optimisation/simulation have been

manufacturers are also required.

in customer demands. “In the early stages,

part of the appeal to FMCG businesses

S&OP focused on getting better BI into

looking to integrate product portfolio planning

operational plans and balancing supply to

and new product development into the S&OP.

Impact of Cloud and SaaS

demand,” he said. “However, with the addition

This has of course developed a huge

For Razat Gaurav, senior vice president EMEA

of work flow processes to automate and then

requirement for integration.”

at JDA Software, the Cloud is becoming an

ask us what point

optimise much of this balancing, businesses

visibility into the supply chain in order to offer those services and streamline the supply chain process. Another key current talking point concerning SCM is fuel, according to Campbell. “Costs here are

increasingly important topic of discussion in

have been incredibly proactive and fused the

Michelle Campbell, supply chain industry

the supply chain industry. As the economy

S&OP ‘architecture’ with promotion

director at RedPrairie, cites end to end

continues to struggle, he believes more and

campaigns, new product development and

visibility and better forecasting as being key

more businesses are looking to the Cloud model as a way of delivering capabilities in a non-intrusive, fast-to-deploy, pay-as-you-go fashion with minimal costs; such as an ondemand model. As a result, he maintains that SCM vendors need to ensure they adapting, are able to provide services via the Cloud and are able to work successfully in the agile environment. In Turner’s view the ‘Cloud’ doesn’t offer all that much above a responsibly hosted service. “But it certainly appears to be a more effective sales term than SaaS,” he added. “We are seeing customers trusting the reliability of their Internet connections more than previously, and therefore choosing Cloud-based systems rather than local hosting – and why wouldn’t you? These solutions are so much quicker to




December 2011



Special Technology Report

Supply Chain Management

implement. But the Cloud based systems are

optimising inventory, order

expected to perform almost as fast as local

management and fulfilment

solutions so application and connection

across multiple channels.”

performance is key.” And what is the supply chain For Bursa, SaaS/Cloud computing is just

impact of multi-channelling and

beginning to impact the supply chain market.

how can industry professionals

“Where we see the greatest interest is in the

manage this challenge? In

area of transportation, which is easier to

Sears-Black’s view, retail

leverage and integrate with order

organisations across the globe

management,” she explained. “Due to the

are being challenged by the

sensitive nature of forward-looking plans,

complexity of bringing cross-

many companies do not want to place supply

functionality to their many

chain planning and inventory optimisation in

channels to market. “To date,

the Cloud – yet.” Phillips maintains that the

few have attained this ‘Holy

Cloud has definitely had an impact. “For quite

Grail’ of multi-channel retailing,”

some time now, the majority of the Request for

he said. “However, many are

Proposals (RFPs) want the option of off-

now learning to manipulate

premise software – though we still the majority

stock and orders across all the

of projects then proceed along an on-premise

channels and fulfil from

route,” he said. “Though this will no doubt

anywhere in the enterprise to

change, it is clear there is still some way to

improve customer service and

go. One of the main elements that will drive

margins. For example, more

this adoption – and indeed inform cloud

retailers are sourcing products

development overall – is to give users a

from further afield, which results

seamless application experience, no matter

in longer inventory lead times.

where the applications are running. The other

If, demand drops off in one

main driver will be the ability to offer choice to

channel between the time a

businesses, be it on-premise, off-premise or a

purchase order is raised and

hybrid. Everything must still work seamlessly

the inventory arriving, the retailer will want the

you to tap into critical data across the

together – and this is again a key area of

ability to redirect that inventory to another

enterprise and ensure the entire company is

integration development.”

channel, where demand may be stronger.”

working from the same, consistent set plan,”

If demand drops off in one channel between the time a purchase order is raised and the inventory arriving, retailers will want the ability to redirect that inventory to another channel, where demand may be stronger.

she said. “These features are inherent in the Logility Voyager Solution suite and can extend

Multi-channel focused


to include data from other enterprise

Craig Sears-Black, UK managing director at

And have ways of best integrating SCM-

applications to further boost visibility and

Manhattan Associates, observes that markets

related solutions with other

are changing rapidly. “This can be seen in the

systems developed to any

short product lifecycles of consumer

notable degree over the

electronics goods; the impact of

past year or two? Turner

Karin Bursa, vice president of marketing



The ability to tie tactical and strategic objectives together with multiple scenarios will offer even greater flexibility and better decision making for global operations.” – Karin Bursa, Logility.

customer and supplier needs.”

downloadable files

points out that ByBox is

on the music

continuing to see a much

industry; and the

more open approach to

complex mix of retail

real-time data sharing;

channels now

mainly through the

available,” he said.

availability of web

“Consumers are

services. “This low

becoming more

overhead development approach is driving

ERP providers are more challenging to

sophisticated and

more innovative use of the data on both sides

integrate than leveraging a best-of-breed

retailers are being

of the transaction,” he said. For Bursa,

provider,” she commented. “For example, 90

confronted with a

advances continue to be made in the realm of

per cent of Logility implementations (including

whole set of new

visibility. “For example, Logility’s built-in

integration with existing systems) occur in

challenges –

performance management capabilities allow

less than 9 months. Compare that with the



responsiveness to

December 2011

One common misperception, believes Bursa, is that supply chain capabilities from ERP providers are ‘fully integrated’. “We often find supply chain modules from


Supply Chain Management

Special technology report

industry average of

code that translates from one application to

SCM and ERP or WMS, but a wholesale re-

70 per cent of

the next breaks with each modification or

imagining of how software can talk to other

deployments taking

upgrade. On top of this, the development of

pieces of software to accelerate business

greater than 9

the integration itself can be a huge project as


months.” For

it distracts from core business activity.”

Campbell, the

Dan Turner, chief technology officer

And how can companies tailor their


To get around these


problems, Phillips points

related to integration

out that one approach is

are in web visibility

the ‘loose coupling’ as

to demand and stock

found in Infor ION. “This

situations, as well as

is lightweight,

real-time information


related to transport; for example, where

middleware built on

vehicles are located.

open standards,” he explained. “Building on

Warehouse Management

We love to engage in bluesky thinking and rapid R&D prototyping but we’ll only do any of this in conjunction with customers as they’re clearly the ones who best know where value can be added.” – Dan Turner, ByBox.

System (WMS) to specifically integrate multi-channel requirements? SearsBlack comments that to deal with the challenges posed by multichannel supply chain strategies, companies and, in

Gaurav’s view is that integration between SCM

just the connectivity,

solutions and other software has notably

ION enables reporting & analysis, workflow

require a solution that sits outside traditional

improved. “Previously, bringing together

and business monitoring. Adding in event-

supply chain systems, one that aggregates

various IT systems was a major challenge,” he

driven architecture (EDA), the integration can

data and integrates with the full distribution

said. “For example, perhaps certain parts of a

pro-actively push data, work activities, and

network – including all the warehouses,

manufacturer’s mobile computing solution

exception notifications to users. This is not

stores, in-transit inventory and vendors – to

were incompatible with its inventory

just a matter of improving the links between

provide a consolidated and centralised view

particular, retailers will

management software. However, as the need to bring all areas of the supply chain together became increasingly important in the recession, vendors worked to improve this situation. Now, for example, manufacturers can integrate their ERP system with planning, analysis and execution software for an extremely responsive supply chain that adapts to consumer demand. This helps drive more precise forecasting and lowers inventory costs, positively impacting to the company’s bottom line. Although integration of supply chain management solutions is not yet perfect and there may still be issues, we are in a far better position to fix any problems that do occur.”

Speed Phillips considers that as speed has become the dominant facet of business and survival of the fastest has become a reality, software integration has been a real focus over the past two years. “SCM has traditionally relied on point-to-point integration leading to a lot of rigid and restrictive systems that cannot be easily upgraded or improved,” he said. “Because the application communicates with other applications in its own proprietary ‘language’, the custom-written integration




December 2011



Special technology report

of inventory across the network. “This will allow a retailer to respond, in a split second to a purchase request,”

Supply Chain Management

Cloud computing and SaaS enables manufacturers to improve forecast accuracy and provide more reliable demand visibility, leading to enhanced customer delivery performance, improved cash flow and reduced inventory across the supply chain.” – Razat Gaurav, JDA Software.

he said.

Michelle Campbell, supply chain industry director

he said, “but we think that technology will

or operations planning office. This

According to Sears-

start to enable physical network sharing, like

consumerisation will happen quickly in SCM –

Black, the software

cross-carrier shipments, making use of

in fact it is already underway – and mobile

managing this

smarter tracking labels and the routing

devices will be a natural focus for it.”

complexity needs to

information embedded within them.” Turner

be applied in layers.

also believes that RFID will finally become

“First it is important to lay a foundation where

more highly demanded as smart phones are

Quantifiable metrics

the retailer gains good visibility of inventory

now being built with NFC on board. Bursa

Gaurav considers that over the past two years

within its own warehouse and distribution

reflects that the next year or two will see

the movement of more business applications

operation, through multichannel enabled

continued evolution of S&OP that is tightly

into the Cloud has become more prevalent.

Warehouse Management Software,” he said.

integrated into the day-to-day supply chain.

This popularity is made clear, he states, when

“This approach allows a multichannel retailer

“The ability to tie tactical and strategic

one considers the recent report from ARC

to operate under a single roof rather than in

objectives together with multiple scenarios will

Advisory Group, which revealed the SCM

silos. Once the foundation is in place you can

offer even greater flexibility and better

market grew 7 per cent over the past five

then introduce an extended enterprise system

decision making for global operations,” she

years, while the SaaS market grew at a

over the top to gain visibility outside the

said. And this, believes Bursa, will help

compound annual growth rate in excess of 20

warehouse to the store network and to the

balance the need to improve service levels

per cent during those same five years. “I’d

‘extended network’, including drop ship

while creating a more efficient and transparent

expect this trend to continue,” he said.

vendors and third party logistics operated

supply chain.

fulfilment facilities. This will enable far clearer

Sears-Black believes that, in the near future,

decision-making, giving the ability to maintain

in-store assistants will require very different

inventory in different areas and locations.”

The impact of mobile

skills and technologies to deal with customers

Then, says Sears-Black, comes the order

For Phillips, the SCM market will feel the

who have comprehensive information on their

management system to coordinate the process by taking in demand from multiple channels so that it can be optimised across the inventory which could include inventory in the warehouse, retail store, dot.com, inbound or with the suppliers.

Manufacturers are being driven to provide better information and labelling on goods they ship, with an emphasis on their customers to provide better forecasts to meet customer demands.” – Michelle Campbell, RedPrairie.

impact of mobile

own smart-phones about competitive pricing,

profoundly. “Indeed it

product availability and alternative products.

may well drive a lot of

“To maximise sales in this situation the

the methods of mobile

assistant has to be a ‘supply chain’ expert,”

adoption in other areas

he claims, “able to offer convenient service at

such as

a competitive price, knowing how to get the

manufacturing,” he

goods to the customer in the way they want.

remarked. “Much of the

This service requires stock visibility on the

‘back end’ work for this

shop floor and the flexibility to reserve or

has already been done

deliver stock instantly.” Campbell foresees an

– porting applications

increased level of

for mobile devices,

Cloud and SaaS

ensuring the infrastructure is there to enable

offerings, and more

Development roadmap

connections etc. However the real key to


And with regard to future developments and

unlocking a lot of the productivity boosts that

solutions for end-to-

innovations within the SCM space over the

mobile can bring to SCM is based on

end business

next year or two, Turner believes we will see

delivering a consumer grade experience at


the professional socialisation of field service

work. Everyone knows how to use Facebook.

start to provide additional benefits and

Everyone can pick up an iPad or Android

efficiencies as competitors work together to

phone and figure it out in a few minutes –

provide more joined-up solutions for

even seconds. The challenge is to exploit that

customers. “We’re starting to see resources,

familiarity and intuitiveness to make it that

equipment and knowledge all being shared,”

easy to use the technology in the warehouse





December 2011

Razat Gaurav, senior vice president EMEA



It’s easy

Supply Chain

once you know how

Columbus is soon to launch RapidValue, a complete end-to-end solution based on manufacturing best practices to help maximise efficiency and overall business performance. In this article Thomas Vest, manufacturing lead at Columbus, answers questions on exactly what the new solution is and how it can help manufacturers.

Who is Columbus? Columbus has been around for over 20 years. In that time we have implemented over 6000 solutions and we currently employ over 1000 staff working out of 41 offices in 21 countries. Our focus is built around developing and implementing vertical specific solutions based on Microsoft technologies in the retail, food and manufacturing sectors. Our key goal is to help these companies maximise their efficiency and performance.

What is RapidValue?

Thomas Vest: Columbus helps companies to maximise their efficiency and performance.

RapidValue is an end-to-end solution that we have developed specifically for the manufacturing sector built inside Microsoft Dynamics AX. The principle is to take the best practices from industry and build these into Dynamics AX so that we can deliver a preconfigured solution straight from the box. However we understand that every business

will have its own specific way of working, so there will always be some customisation that is needed to ensure maximum efficiencies and performance.

Who is it aimed at? Columbus is developing RapidValue in three specific sectors – retail, food and manufacturing. RapidValue for Columbus Manufacturing is designed for mid-size to large manufacturing companies who want to supplement their IT-environment with business process documentation.

What would you say are the key benefits for the customer? The benefits are quite clear. Because we have put a lot of the work in upfront the customer receives a truly end-to-end industry specific solution. And, because it already contains pre-configured data, recommended

Columbus is developing RapidValue in three specific sectors – retail, food and manufacturing. RapidValue for Columbus Manufacturing is designed for mid-size to large manufacturing companies who want to supplement their IT-environment with business process documentation.




December 2011



Supply Chain


business processes and implementation documentation, it means that the implementation will be faster and smoother and return on investment will be reached in a shorter time.

What makes this different to other ERP solutions? For me it is the combination of a number of best-of-breed standards and solutions. Number one is that the solution is built inside Microsoft Dynamics AX platform. This ensures that customers are investing in the latest future-proof technology. Secondly, you have the solution set that we have developed. This has involved years of industry knowhow combined with months of careful process mapping and modelling to ensure customers are getting a solution that fits their specific needs and industry standards. And finally we have integrated the solution with our proven implementation methodology solution SureStep+, ensuring

your implementation is professional and smooth.

stand an egg upright on the table, and when all failed, he gently broke the shell on the narrow end and stood the egg up. “That’s easy,” they said. “Yes,” replied Columbus, “once you know how.” We have built our business on the same simple principle. 

When is it available? RapidValue for Columbus Manufacturing is available towards the end of 2011, coinciding with the launch of Microsoft Dynamics 2012.

Thomas Vest

How do I find out more about it? The best way to find out more information is to visit www.columbusglobal.com or contact your local Columbus office.

I notice that Columbus has changed its tag line to ‘Once you know how’ – what does that mean? “Once you know how” is associated with Christopher Columbus. Having discovered America, critics argued that anyone could have done so. Columbus challenged them to

Thomas Vest is the manufacturing lead at Columbus, a global provider of industry solutions. Before joining Columbus, Vest worked for 12 years at Microsoft in various roles associated with Microsoft Dynamics and the Manufacturing sector. He is working on the development of RapidValue, a complete industry solution comprising industry models, end-to-end business processes and integrated applications, with Microsoft Dynamics at its heart. RapidValue is being launched towards the end of 2011.

Corporate Profile



Columbus knows how to make clients more successful by adapting and implementing proven, Microsoft-based solution sets to maximise efficiency and overall business performance of manufacturing companies. With deep engagement in the manufacturing industry, Columbus builds targeted solution sets on top of the reliable Microsoft platform that let you adapt to market change on a future-proof basis. Columbus solutions often meet 80 per cent of the industry requirements right off, and, with individual adaption, the company comments that users will experience the full impact on their business performance with a lower total cost of ownership. Columbus helps you streamline processes to optimise your business in a professional and pragmatic way. Its proven SureStep+ process and unique solution sets ensure a faster and less expensive implementation. Exceeding 20 years of experience and 6000 successful business cases, Columbus is as a global top 3 Microsoft partner in the manufacturing industry.




December 2011

Solutions offered ERP solutions to optimise and streamline collaboration across the supply chain and within all stages of manufacturing, including Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Industrial markets served All manufacturing sectors including discrete, process, food, chemical and agri. Customers include: Progress Rail Services (previously Balfour Beatty rail track), Jeyes, Aliaxis, Rich Products, Fairfax Meadow, Garmin, Origin Enterprises, Sunlight, Muller Martini, Elliott Group and Sevcon.

Countries served Worldwide.

Website: www.columbusglobal.com


ARE YOU OUR NEXT SUCCESS STORY? Columbus C olum mbus is widely wi rrecognised ecognise nised as a global leade leader der in max maximising ximising e efficiency fficiency and an bu business usin siness performance perf o ormanc e ffor or manuf manufacturing acturin ng ccompanies. ompanies. i W With ith deep in industry ndustry e expertise xper xpertise w we e kn know now h ho how w tto o make mak e our clien clients ts mor more e suc successful cesssful b by y adap adapting implementing em menting pr proven oven M Microsoft-based icroso oft-based ting and imple solution solut tion se sets. ts. W We eo offer: ffer: The economic advantages off a global supplier The ec onomic adv antag ges o The attention attention to to detail detail of of highly qualified locally based industry consultants con The Competitive Competitive business a advantage dvantage thr through ough our pr proven oven Sur SureStep+ eStep+ pr process o Less e xpensive implem entations with our uniqu ue R apidValue+ sol Less expensive implementations unique RapidValue+ solution set

WANT W A T ANT TO O KNO KNOW W MOR MORE? RE? For F or mor more e in information formation on C Columbus olumbuss M Manufacturing, anufacturing, includ including case studies, videos vide eos and whit white-papers, e-papers, visit ww www.columbusglobal.com/manufacturing ww.columbusglobal.co

’Colum mbus’ is a part of the registered trademark ‘Columbu bus IT’

Supply Chain

Company focus

ByBox’ 365-day-a-year service ready for any challenge magine it is your busiest trading day of the year, the computer system has just crashed, an engineer has quickly turned up to fix it, but he doesn’t have the right part and it will take hours for that to arrive. Frustrating? Infuriating? Enough for you to switch service suppliers? In today’s busy 24/7 society no-one can afford to lose a competitive edge because they are waiting for a vital spare part to arrive. Delays and disruptions to business not only cost money, they inconvenience customers and can damage a company’s reputation.


Whether it is a simple problem such as a vending machine jamming up, or a more complex challenge such as a computer system crashing, companies nowadays expect a solution as quickly as possibly – normally within hours – seven days a week. Getting parts to field service engineers efficiently and effectively 365 days a year is a challenge that ByBox, the UK field service solutions provider, has risen to with proven success. Now operating seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, even on Bank Holidays, ByBox delivers in-night, pre-8 am to its network of more than 18,000 drop boxes at 1400 locations in the UK. Parts are ready for an engineer to collect before the start of a day’s work and the system can be easily used in reverse to route unwanted or faulty parts back to stock, to a repair shop or direct to the manufacturer for compensation under warranty. Moreover, for engineers who require parts urgently out of office hours, ByBox operates a network of over 30 Forward Stock Locations which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The reliability and robustness of ByBox’ network has won it a host of blue-chip clients; including Coca-Cola, Konica Minolta, Siemens and Computacenter, as well as a string of awards. Last year it achieved a 99.77 per cent delivery rate despite the appalling winter weather that reduced many carriers’ networks to chaos.

Peace of mind Chris Meltham, service delivery manager of





December 2011

The reliability and robustness of ByBox’ network has won it a host of blue-chip clients; including Coca-Cola, Konica Minolta, Siemens and Computacenter. Sunwin, which carries out services for the Cooperative Group, said: “We look after a store estate of over 3600 food and pharmacy sites, as well as another 1300 sites for travel and funerals, and needed a robust method of shipping replacement parts quickly to our team of 50 mobile engineers. The ByBox 7-day service is working exceptionally well, and gives both our customers and engineer’s complete peace of mind that we can deliver a high quality service to the Co-operative Group, the UK’s biggest retailer in terms of the number of sites. It has stores in every postcode area of the country.” Mark Garritt, managing director of ByBox, said: “ByBox customers know their engineers will always start the day with the right equipment for the jobs ahead – no matter how difficult the conditions. In the past we have coped with the Royal wedding, high profile sporting events and exceptional weather from floods to the ‘big freeze’ and we have robust contingency plans for dealing with the road closures around the Olympics.” Disruptions around the Olympics will start in May 2012 when the Olympic torch arrives in the UK and will continue through four days of celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June, the Olympic Games in July and August then the Paralympic Games in August

and September. ByBox reports that it is ideally placed to rise to challenges because it never loses sight of customers’ consignments, due to its unique software platform Thinventory, which in 2011 scooped the Best Use of Technology at the prestigious Motor Transport Awards. With the ability to pinpoint the exact whereabouts of customers’ stock, even when it is in engineers’ vans, Thinventory enables customers to reduce their stockholding, freeing up valuable working capital for other parts of their business. Parts can be easily diverted to the nearest drop box for a particular engineer. Founded in 2000, ByBox has grown to become a £44 million company, which last year was listed in the Sunday Times International Track 100 following the rapid expansion of its network in the Republic of Ireland, France and the Benelux countries. ByBox is now extending its offering to consumers with the launch of myByBox, which is aimed at online shoppers who hate waiting in for parcels. The company is investing £2 million to establish banks of myByBox locker boxes at convenient locations in the M25 London area and has recently signed a deal with Network Rail to install them in selected railway stations in London and around the rest of the UK. 


Company focus

Supply Chain

Corporate Profile

ByBox The ByBox offering is unique: it delivers in night to a network of drop boxes at over 1800 locations across the UK and Europe, with a 99.77 per cent delivery success pre 8am. By harnessing technology, investing in innovation and cultivating a culture of creativity, ByBox has stripped inefficiencies out of its customers’ supply chains, saving them both time and money. The success of this model has been reflected in ByBox’ rapid growth – turnover rose from £119,000 in 2002 to a predicted £44 million in 2011; recognised by a clutch of prestigious awards. ByBox was named the UK’s fastestgrowing technology company in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 in 2007, made its debut in the Sunday Times International Track 100 in 2011 following the successful expansion into Europe and was awarded the Best Use of Technology Award at the 2011 Motor Transport Awards.

Unattended delivery solutions. Drop boxes and unattended deliveries. Track & Trace. Outsourcing. Repair. Tech Courier. Engineering. 7 day delivery network. Supplier collections. Warehousing. Forward Stock Locations. Pick-up, drop-off sites.

Industrial markets served Retail, ePOS, reprographics, utilities, telecommunications, IT, white goods, logistics, fire & security, vending, manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutics.

Countries served

Solutions offered

UK, Republic of Ireland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and the US.

pre 8am delivery to drop box. Pre 10am delivery to customer site.

Website: www.bybox.com

24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year If you need an extended service on Sundays or Bank Holidays, contact ByBox.




December 2011





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Manufacturing & Logistics IT - December 2011  

Manufacturing & Logistics IT - December 2011  


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