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MARCH 2019

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


Interview: BV DAIRY

Also in this issue: Accelerating digital transformation with

ap p

manufacturing ERP

distribution centres of all sizes 4 factors that will impact the future supply chain

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M an uf ac tu rin g

How Voice technology can be a game changer in

Do w & n Lo lo gi a st d ics

Ne ws

Sunny skies for used solar modules


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LogisticsIT.com LogisticsHandling.com

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March 2019




The fading boundaries between business and IT Regular readers of this magazine will hopefully recognise the importance of IT solutions designed to benefit end users both operationally and financially. Of course, as a niche publication, it is natural that we set out to report on the latest developments within a range of solutions aimed at raising the game of professionals within manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and retail. Indeed, based on the wide range of analyst surveys, these solutions have become invaluable to these types of organisations in order for them to remain efficient, competitive and profitable. However, in a very generic sense, it could be said that IT has become a non-negotiable asset within just about every business sector in today’s technologically dependent world. Indeed, as analyst organisation Forrester points out, a firm’s rate of success is now in great part determined by its ability to exploit technology to its highest potential. This reality, says Forrester, is bringing about a very different future for the IT organisation where technologydriven innovation will be a core competency – and the boundaries between IT and the business will fade. Forrester adds that a number of forces – from customers to executive leadership – are combining to compel IT to take a larger role in the business and ensure that technology creates new capabilities that shape and guide a firm’s strategy and operations. Forrester maintains that the future of IT will have implications in five key areas, and firms can watch for these signals to understand if and when immersive IT is approaching. These areas are: • Boards and CEOs will look beyond financials to value IT: Stakeholders will become fluent about technology choices and how to use business technology for strategic advantage. • Budget allocations will go to real-time: More organisations will shift away from annual budget cycles, embracing a more flexible funding model for easy reallocation of budget, human capital, and tech-driven innovation. • Shadow IT will evaporate: Business leaders will move into an immersive partnership with IT, creating teams with members who bring IT technology skills and business instincts on capitalising on existing and emerging technologies. • CIO personas will multiply: The changing role of the CIO will move from a support function to a central figure in what the company does, moving from caretaker to

Ed Holden Editor

disruptor and technocrat to business visionary. • Tech skills gaps will shrink: IT roles will no longer be built on specific expertise and hierarchies but will be dynamic to the task at hand and expected to pull capacity and competency from a broader range of sources. We’ve certainly come a long way since the abacas and a reliable supply of quills and vellum. Computer technology has become more or less omnipresent in business, and with all the current developments concerning AI and machine learning it looks like the technology will continue to become even more of an inextricably entwined asset within the workplace and beyond.

March 2019





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IT March 2019



CONTENTS Manufacturing and Logistics IT March 2019 The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Editor: Ed Holden Contributors: Bill Birnie, Honeywell Derek Bryan, Verizon Connect Paul Croft, 3DGBIRE and Ultimaker GB Brent Dawkins, QAD Alex Mills, ProSKU




Special Technology Report



Matthew Robertson, NetDespatch Craig Summers, Manhattan Associates Jonathan Wilkins, EU Automation John Williams, Instant Offices Publisher: Dean Taylor Designer: First Sight Graphics Ltd, www.firstsightgraphics.com

24 28

Production: Carolyn Pither Circulation: Carole Chiesa IT Manager: Ian Curtis Accounts: Sarah Schofield Published by: B2B Publishing Ltd PO Box 3575, Barnet, Herts, EN5 9QD UK Tel: +44(0)208 440 0372 Email (publishing): info@logisticsit.com Email (editorial): editor@ibcpub.com






March 2019

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

More than two thirds of manufacturers and distributors rate their ERP implementations a success Safety in numbers – The benefits of clustering for manufacturers Capgemini to help Imerys to design and implement an intelligent platform QAD: Accelerating digital transformation with manufacturing ERP Gartner: Digital twins are entering mainstream use

Transportation Management

TIMOCOM: Sunny skies for used solar modules Verizon Connect: Going international – Controlling risk management across borders

Voice-Directed Picking

How Voice technology can be a game changer in distribution centres of all sizes VDC Research: Voice-enabled workflow solutions market to reach over US$173 million in 2022




Warehouse Management


Supply Chain Management

Printed by: First Sight Graphics Ltd, www.firstsightgraphics.com No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publishers. No liability is accepted for any action arising from the contents of this publication; readers are advised to check any manufacturer’s or supplier’s claim for products. The publishers do not endorse opinions expressed in any article by an outside contributor. While every care is taken over photographs and illustrations, which are returned when requested, no liability can be assumed by the publishers for the loss of such materials.

BV Dairy

40 42

Digital business requires integrated risk management TouchPath to install WMS system in global manufacturer Renold's new China operation ProSKU: Are you asking the wrong question about WMS? NetDespatch: The green (last) mile – sustainability in parcel delivery Paragon Software Systems: Integrated technology playing critical part in transport planning Gartner: 4 factors that will impact the future supply chain Manhattan Associates: Putting the WOW in the checkout experience

Automatic Identification & Data Capture/Mobile Computing Instant Offices: AI in business – trends and predictions

Printing & Labelling

3D printing is now driving the sustainability agenda Y Soft Corporation: Increasing IT efficiency through effective print management ILS showcasing pallet labelling system for beating the cold

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BV Dairy


Cream of the crop


Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with Mark Damen, ERP systems manager at BV Dairy, about the company’s IT estate and how this provides the end-to-end visibility and control BV Dairy needs to manage its ambitious growth strategy, environmental policy and focus on manufacturing excellence.

stablished back in 1958, independent producer BV Dairy has come a long way since its awardwinning Clotted Cream was first sold in the company’s local area of Shaftsbury, North Dorset. Now run by the third generation of the Highnam family, both the business and the range of speciality products has grown and developed to form one of the most respected and successful independent dairies in the South West of England.

mascarpone. All products are made using milk sourced daily from Red Tractor-accredited farms within a 25-mile radius of the production facility to ensure consistent levels of freshness. Products are processed and manufactured to rigorous food safety standards and are packed and supplied chilled in convenient size pots, bottles, containers, bags or pallecons.

BV Dairy now occupies a modern, wellequipped production facility employing the latest manufacturing technology situated on the edge of North Dorset’s Blackmore Vale, a centre of milk production in the West Country otherwise known as ‘the vale of the little dairies’, to quote Thomas Hardy. Each year, the company sources 35 million litres of milk from dairy farms within a 25-mile radius of its Shaftesbury production facility.

BV Dairy’s customers are found in the food service and production industries, mainly comprising manufacturers, food service & wholesale and brand owners.

Products BV Dairy’s product range includes its awardwinning Dorset clotted cream, as well as yogurts, buttermilk, soft cheese and



State-of-the-art manufacture The company operates an on-going development programme covering both new and existing products as well as employing modern technology and systems in its production halls and in maintaining strict levels of hygiene and traceability. One example of this forward-thinking approach is its Ultra Filtration (UF) plant, a world-class facility for

Mark Damen: “Stock management is particularly important in our industry because dairy products normally only have a maximum lifespan of around 28 days, so the need for products to be stored and accessed easily and quickly for fast despatch to our customers is critical.” manufacturing first commissioned in May 2004. At the time of installation, UF technology was a relatively recent manufacturing process and uncommon in the UK. The plant offers a high level of flexibility in the manufacture of a range March 2019





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BV Dairy


of different specialist dairy products. For the automation of the UF plant’s production equipment, including parts such as pumps and valves, BV Dairy relies on a Mitsubishi Q2AS control system and PID heating control of process flows. A Mitsubishi MAC E900 HMI (human machine interface) is also used with an ethernet connection to other HMIs that BV Dairy already had in place.

Environmental responsibility BV Dairy is a highly environmentally responsible company and for the past decade has run an AD (anaerobic digestion) plant for the disposal of the process waste generated by its production facilities. The plant utilises a combined heat and power (CHP) engine to produce around 25% of the required electricity for the factory. The excess electricity generated is sold to the grid. All wastage is measured by the company’s Epicor ERP system. BV Dairy uses a Prodigy HMI SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system, which uses networked communications technology and graphical user interfaces for indepth process supervisory management. The SCADA system communicates with Siemens PLCs on the UF plant and the PLCs help to control production processes as well as providing fault diagnosis. BV Dairy also relies on a Citrix Server for maximum data storage and security capability.





March 2019

Rather than relying on a demand forecasting & planning solution, BV Dairy uses system mainly comprising Excel spreadsheets to keep a regular up to date picture of the award from customers. “We find this system quite adequate because the orders we receive from customers are normally very regular and consistent on a month-by-month basis,” explained Damen. “Even taking into consideration regular seasonal peaks such as Christmas, the order volumes remain fairly predictable, so the Excel method works well for us. It is an area of our Epicor ERP system that we plan to utilise to perform this task in the short-to-medium term.”

Chill Store


October 2016 saw the commissioning of a new Chill Store facility; housing 1000 pallet spaces and incorporating new office space and storage accommodation. The design ethos for the Chill Store was based on lean principles, efficient running and full IT integration. To populate the generous racking space within Chill Store, BV Dairy uses Junheinrich VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) forklift trucks which run on guidance systems. BV Dairy’s Mark Damen explained that the VNA trucks have been optimised to operate in harmony with the Chill Store’s specific warehouse set-up. The trucks are largely automated with minimal human intervention required, making pallet retrieval quick, accurate and straightforward. For easy and reliable navigation, the trucks are largely controlled via a cabled guidance system built into the Chill Store floor. Solar panels on the roof of the Chill Store generate 3500kWh of electricity each day to run the forklift truck and guidance system.

BV Dairy is committed to ongoing annual growth of at least 10% and is keen to secure new market share and explore new product ideas. To continue its growth journey and to help the team meet these targets, the company wanted to expand its use of Epicor ERP. The company had already been using an older version of Epicor ERP for some time. Implementation of the onpremise solution began in 2011 after the company decided to replace its existing Exchequer system. Although the main reason for the change was to source a system that offered more flexibility and scalability in terms of built-in and easily customisable functionality, BV Dairy initially began by focusing on two key modules when it first went live in 2013 – financials and bill of materials.

The stacking and picking instructions given to the trucks are supplied via BV Dairy’s Epicor ERP system. “Stock management is particularly important in our industry because dairy products normally only have a maximum lifespan of around 28 days, so the need for products to be stored and accessed easily and quickly for fast despatch to our customers is critical,” said Damen.

In 2015, Damen joined the team with specific responsibilities for the Epicor system. As the company continued to grow, Damen wanted to extend the use of ERP to optimise efficiency and outputs. BV Dairy had started to integrate multiple processes with the ERP system; including label printing, traceability assurance, customer data exchange, and data capture on the shop floor and in the warehouse via ten Honeywell scanners. As a next step in the company's technology evolution, Damen decided to add content management capabilities, and the search was on for the most suitable solution.


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BV Dairy


Field service

Damen had seen the DocStar ECM (enterprise content management) product demonstrated at several Epicor user group events, and he had been impressed with the ease of integration with the Epicor ERP system. Due diligence is vital for any business, and BV Dairy thoroughly assessed four potential solutions. However, Damen pointed out that DocStar stood out from the crowd because of its capabilities and integration simplicity. “The system integration took around five months, because BV Dairy was among the first in the UK to implement DocStar, so they had to work remotely with the DocStar team in the US,” he explained. “The time differences created some scheduling problems, but the system was successfully set up and is now live.”

Accuracy in this field is a KPI for the company. Under the new system, when the delivery notes are scanned in, the system picks up the document number automatically, crossreferences it to check validity, marks it as received, and stores appropriate information in both the ERP and DocStar systems to permit cross-referencing and searching from each. Damen described this change as ‘revolutionary’. He added: “DocStar also takes some of the decision making out of processes, because it checks that documents have been received and/ or approved and passes them through automated workflows as appropriate. If there's an issue with an invoice-for exampleDocStar can automatically route it back to the budget holder.”

According to Damen, DocStar proved its worth very quickly by yielding tangible benefits in the accounts department within the first few weeks. “One of BV Dairy’s main requirements from the new system had always been to automate mundane tasks so that the staff who had previously undertaken them could focus on processes that would add value to the businessincluding analysis, forecasting, and reporting,” he said. Almost immediately, DocStar freed up time in the accounts department; releasing staff to perform more complex tasks and thus help fuel corporate growth. “We noticed the benefits of DocStar almost immediately in our accounts department,” said Damen. “Automation gave staff time to do moresuch as helping budget holders to process invoices. It really made a difference very quickly.” The benefits of DocStar were also quickly felt in other administrative processes. Previously, staff had to manually sort the hundred or so delivery notes received daily-arranging them into numerical order and logging them as having been signed. The integration with DocStar has drastically reduced the time needed to do this by around 10 hours per week.



retrieve more documents to and from the system, and this is an area that holds great potential for us,” said Damen. “It increases our accuracy, efficiency and traceability. Furthermore, this solution has plenty of flexibility that lets us tune and tweak workflows as our business processes change and grow. Most of all, the introduction of DocStar has allowed us to streamline processes and save time; notably in terms of invoice approval and delivery note processing because it brings all of the relevant information and documentation together in one place.” From a financial perspective, Damen added that the system has also made a very positive impact on BV Dairy’s bottom line.

The road ahead Customisation flexibility In terms of some of the best features of BV Dairy’s current integrated system, Damen reflected that Epicor ERP offers a lot of base functionality straight out of the box. However, the ability to customise and tailor processes within the system in a quick and straightforward manner is what makes it really powerful, in his view. “For example, we have built an updateable dashboard and then customised it for our job receipt inventory,” explained Damen. “As a result, a job that used to take three steps and three screens in Epicor is now down to a single button while still honouring all of the business rules in the system.” Have there been any issues? “Not really,” said Damen. “We did notice how different the DocStar interface is from that of the ERP system, but it's still very easy to use. Since implementing workflows, it's night and day different-it just works now.” Having integrated DocStar with Epicor ERP, BV Dairy now remains committed to its path of constantly updating the solution and integrating DocStar workflows throughout the business. “DocStar gives us the power to add and

As for the future, Damen explained that BV Dairy is constantly on the lookout for new systems or upgrades to existing equipment in order to remain as efficient as possible, both operationally and financially. One example of this forward-looking strategy is to look at ways to further develop the company’s monitoring and control regime in order to further improve the way it maintains, repairs and overhauls its production and warehousing machinery -for example, through greater use of sensor technology and data analytics. BV Dairy is also considering plans to upgrade its Epicor ERP system to the latest version. With this in mind, Damen and his team are currently investigating whether there is a strong business case for adopting a Cloud version of the ERP solution. “Epicor has a proven track record with its Cloud-based ERP offerings and also has a well-established relationship with Microsoft and its enterprisegrade Cloud computing platform, Azure,” he said. “This is something we want to explore further in terms of additional benefits it could bring to the company. In order to remain on our growth journey in a price-driven and highly competitive marketplace it is critical that we keep up to speed with what has become an increasingly fast-moving technology landscape.” n

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Enterprise Resource Planning

Keeping ahead of the development curve Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about current trends and areas of development within the world of ERP – including those concerning integration, digital optimisation and the Cloud.


he Enterprise Resource Planning

maintain expensive in-house infrastructure. It has

discover the need for personalised ERP

(ERP) solutions marketplace has

also become a backbone for integration of ERP

solutions,” she remarked. “Enterprises will also

continued to evolve apace over the

with different other enterprise systems such as

begin to make user experience seamless across

past few years. To begin this

CRM, SCM etc.”

different channels and platforms.”

detailed discussion in terms of some

of the key areas of innovation and development

Natarajan also references the power of

With regard to what has driven these changes,

within this technology area, Nandini Natarajan,

predictive analytics as another key trend. “ERP is

Natarajan considers that legacy ERP systems

analyst industrials, Frost & Sullivan, cites what

an integrated storehouse of data that houses

with low or zero intelligence are increasingly

she describes as the AI takeover of ERP as a

almost everything from HR records to supplier

becoming irrelevant in today’s marketplace.

key current trend. “ERP is emerging to be a

details to customer orders to product

“They offer businesses limited opportunities to

pertinent ground for implementation of futuristic

specifications,” she explained. “Interestingly, all

scale and grow,” she said. “Although ERP is a

technologies like AI,” she said, adding: “Despite

this data is heavily underutilised which results in

storehouse of data, it is pointless if this data is

being nascent, AI is creating a significant

loss of potential business opportunities. AI and

left unanalysed. This is where technologies such

impression in this market. Using AI concepts like

analytics play a crucial role in aiding ERP

as AI and Cloud have an important role to play.”

machine learning and pattern recognition, ERP

systems to convert real-time data to actionable

systems will be able to recognise data patterns

business insights.”

Further, Natarajan points out that ERP still does

and provide insights for informed decision

not entail crucial bits of information relevant to

making. For instance, an AI-powered ERP

business development such as customer

system can help a car manufacturing company identify purchasing patterns of different car

interactions, behaviour and relationship

The emergence of Blockchain

management. “The need to integrate all this

models in different geographical regions. It can

Additionally, Natarajan observes that

information onto a singular platform will become

also help manufacturers forecast when to

Blockchain is emerging to be one of the most

a future necessity,” she said. “AI, Machine

increase car production depending on demand.”

secure platforms for any kind of transaction.

Learning (ML), blockchain and Cloud are

“Enterprise functions such as supply chain

emerging to be critical elements in bringing this radical shift in the ERP software landscape.”

Natarajan also recognises what she refers to as

management and customer development will

the mega shift to the Cloud. “ERP has

become more effective with the introduction of

traditionally been not so warm to innovations,”

blockchain in ERP,” she said.

Bryan Ball, VP & group director – global supply

and is majorly driven by IoT and the Cloud. This

According to Natarajan, enterprises are also

reflects that Cloud is not new, but recognises

she said. “This scenario is starting to change

management practices, Aberdeen Group,

availability of ERP in the Cloud has made ERP

starting to look for more personalised ERP

that having a real Cloud-based version of ERP

accessible to all including the small and mid-

solutions, ones that will focus more on end-

where people are looking to move their entire

sized enterprises. With the benefits of Cloud,

customers. “One-size-fits-all will be a concept of

ERP to the Cloud is getting more traction now.

these enterprises are freed up from having to

the past as an increasing number of enterprises

“Realistically, in terms of solutions built for the





March 2019


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Enterprise Resource Planning

Special Technology Report

Cloud from the

EDI version of the timing of the transaction, the

Nigel Montgomery, research director, Gartner,

bottom up, it’s really

shipment, promise date and the updates to

considers that the key drivers for change in the

been within the past

those kinds of things, including information

world of ERP revolve around power and politics in

five years that this has

related to any anomalies that need resolving.

the supply chain. “If you’re in a position of power

really come into

So, EDI is kind of back in the frame and playing

you want more power, if I’m a serving company

being,” he said.

an important role together with AI in this type of

manufacturing for a larger organisation then I want

“There have been ad

context. If you can pick up one or two days with

to keep in favour, if I’m part of a larger

hoc versions, third-

this type of technology in terms of intelligence

organisation I want to expose the margins through

party hosting or

and knowledge this can be very valuable when

the supply chain in order to have better financial

provider hosting,

you’re talking about next-day delivery, same-

control,” he said. “So, the challenge with ERP is

private Cloud and

day delivery, knowing where my inventory is

that it has historically been thought of as a product

those kinds of things,

and being able to promise that inventory and

rather than a strategy. Companies would say I’m

but really getting a true Cloud-based solution is

actually having visibility in pretty much real

going to buy SAP, Oracle, Infor, Microsoft and so

now coming into its own.”

time. These are very viable capabilities.”

on, and they would then have what they

Nandini Natarajan, analyst industrials,

considered to be an ERP system without really However, Ball adds that not everybody’s there

thinking hard about what it actually does and what

yet, particularly when including all the

Digital optimisation

difference it can make within a power and politics

applications that come with it. “Some vendors’

Chris Devault, head of software selection,

context. I think that has been the biggest change

applications are more of a user interface, with

Panorama Consulting Solutions, points out

in the market.

front ends that work in the Cloud and can

that many Panorama clients that are talking

integrate, but the real functionality is not truly

about ERP projects or business process

“More companies are now recognising that ERP is

Cloud-based,” he explained. “It’s changing

improvement projects and are looking to

not so much a product but more of a strategy,

rapidly, but not everybody’s quite there. Having

digital optimisation to achieve this. He adds

which means they can think about it differently in

said that, one of the reasons for moving to true

that they want to use technology to grow but

terms of how it’s constructed. Up to now, people

Cloud-based SaaS-driven applications is the

not necessarily to enter new revenue streams.

have looked at ERP as being a central system that

benefits to be had from using technology that

“That means we are seeing some

controls nearly everything. Now, organisations are

falls under the Industry 4.0 umbrella, including

manufacturers that are adding more

starting to realise that if they think about ERP at a

embedded analytics that could support and

distribution on the back end of their

strategy level they don’t have to think about these

come with any applications you can use in the

manufacturing operations – less outsourcing

systems as individual products. They need to

Cloud. Artificial intelligence is a good example

of distribution. So, some are buying fleets.

break it down into the componentry such as

too; not a separate standalone AI but an

Some are introducing services such as

financials, HCM, manufacturing operations and

embedded version that can be leveraged and

warranty management on hardware, but the

asset management. Some companies will link in

used within any of the applications that come

core of this is digital optimisation.”

supply chain as part of that story. To them, you

standardised in the Cloud.”

don’t separate manufacturing and supply chain as Devault also sees more companies wanting to

they could be seen as two disciplines that roll into

provide customers with an omnichannel

one. So, depending on your organisation your

Resident native AI

experience. “We’re seeing a clear difference

view of what ERP is and what it should constitute

Ball then provides a real-case type example:

between how companies do business,

can vary.”

“Let’s say I have a planning application with

whether it’s business-to-business or business-

resident AI built into the app that comes in the

to-consumer or both, and those related

Montgomery adds that one of the main

Cloud – as opposed to having a planning

toolsets are quite different,” he said. “Some of

changes in ERP solutions themselves is the

application that’s connected to a standalone AI

requirements concern supply chain

fact that because more companies no longer

engine in order to help me carry out certain

management, so we’ve seen an increase in

think of ERP as a ‘solid mass’ they are now

tasks. It’s more of an integration versus an

companies wanting a specific supply chain

realising that they could move to the Cloud and

embedded tool scenario. This type of resident

management application to take care of

remove a lot of infrastructure capability – and

native AI is getting some traction and the use

advanced forecasting and demand and order

also pick up some of the newer services to

cases are quite compelling – things like

management. Those things can be easier to

start gaining differentiation in terms of lowering

procurement to supplier; the flow of information

implement than ERP within the mid-market

costs while getting the job done quicker and

back and forth.

space, so companies can receive benefits

better and even increasing the visibility of

quicker and get the key rich functionality they

operations. “The fact is that power and politics

“Think in terms of creating a PO, I send it to the

require without buying full ERP, which can

is all supported by visibility of information; the

supplier, the supplier acknowledges it and I

take more time to implement and cost

idea that information is power has probably

receive an advance shipping notice, I get the

considerably more.”

never been as true as it is today,” he said.


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Enterprise Resource Planning

keen to be at the cutting edge of new developments. Businesses that invest in, and promote their use of, new technology innovations will be well-positioned to attract the next generation of employees and boost their workforce ranks.” A second trend observed by Hiskey is the increasing importance and influence that customers have on their manufacturers and suppliers. “The online retailer Amazon, for example, has driven this behaviour with the visibility that it gives its customers from the moment an order is placed until the product is delivered – convenient, personalised and frictionless,” she said. “It’s exactly the type of marketing for manufacturing, Epicor, believes

experience customers want and expect,

Brexit impact?

the biggest innovation to ERP in recent years is

whether they’re buying products for themselves

What are some of the drivers behind

the migration to the Cloud. “Having a Cloud

or making business-to-business purchases.”

companies re-evaluating what their ERP/supply

infrastructure in place affords businesses

chain strategy should be? “Things like Brexit

access to innovations as needed, whenever

Hiskey added that manufacturers are now

might be getting more companies to think more

they’re needed, at a lower cost and faster

expected to provide such visibility to their end

deeply about what their supply chain looks like,

implementation,” she said. “Companies want,

users, as well as a more holistic and simplified

how it operates and what frailties is has, but I

and need, to see value from their technology

buying experience. “To this end, manufacturers

think this was largely there already; it’s just that

investments, and they don’t want to wait for

must think about how they can add and extend

Brexit adds another layer of supply chain-

implementations that take a year or more to see

value beyond simply delivering a product,” she

related questions,” said Montgomery.

that value manifested.”

said. “This means being able to accommodate engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, made-to-

“Arguably, it provides some extra urgency or level of deadline to get things done. However,

Aside from bringing about improvements in

order and assemble-to-order manufacturing

Brexit isn’t changing ERP strategies – I don’t

responsiveness, agility and costs, Hiskey adds

models to meet specified requirements. To

have anyone coming to me saying we’re going

that the Cloud is helping organisations digitally

keep up with new demands, these firms must

to change our ERP because of Brexit. What I

transform and get fit for growth. “Businesses of

embrace digital transformation – supported by

have seen, however, is people saying that

all sizes can take advantage of the latest

ERP – to liberate and lubricate the flow of

Brexit is one of the things that gives us power to

technology innovations – connected machines,

information and work product across the

go to the management team to say we could

AI, AR, and other Industry 4.0 enabling

enterprise, with the ultimate goal of satisfying

benefit from changing or updating our system.

technologies – to improve their business and

customer expectations.”

So, I think Brexit is driving some upgrades and

optimise processes,” she explained. “What’s

driving some changes in strategy, but it’s only

more, Cloud ERP enables organisations to

Brent Dawkins, director of product marketing,

one of the factors behind this.

access real-time business intelligence, data-

QAD Inc, observes that the rate of change in

driven insights and predictability to sustain

the industry is increasing, driven by a number

competitive advantage well into the digital age.”

of factors. According

“In terms of Gartner’s Nexus of Forces concept

to Dawkins, these

– the forces that can come together and impact business and the supply chain – Brexit could

The changing workforce

include the

be seen as one of those examples. It’s a bit like

Hiskey considers that these changes have


mobility, because mobile is something

been driven by a couple of key trends – one

widespread adoption

companies require because they need that

being the changing workforce. “There are now

of AI, data analytics,

visibility and need to be able to take a decision

more millennials in the workforce than baby

mobiles, IOT and

now rather than wait, but also need its people

boomers, and younger workers are demanding

RPA, meaning that

to be more flexible when they’re moving

modern, streamlined, connected technology

the tools and

around. So, all these things are things within the

that is available on any device, any time,” she

capability is available

Nexus of Forces that are driving change.” Terri Hiskey, vice president of product





March 2019

pointed out. “Our research found that 41% of

to deliver. He also

young people want to work with the latest

explains that there is

innovations, with a third (33%) of millennials

an expectation from

Nigel Montgomery, research director,


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customers for a more

integrated control of ambient temperatures. “This

can effectively get valuable business intelligence


enables the facility to use ‘energy saver’

from the data, and how they can ensure the data

experience, driven by

strategies during downtime periods like

is accurate, clean and consistent across

their interactions in

weekends – delivering both energy and financial

functional areas and entities. “So, people are

their personal digital

savings,” she said.

trying to adopt AI, but what is often promoted as AI is actually workflow automation and business

lives. Dawkins adds

intelligence and maybe 20% of AI wrapped in it,”

that customers in the

Terri Hiskey, vice president of product marketing for manufacturing,

industry are also more


he said. “But, mostly it’s automation of current

demanding of

Have ways of best integrating ERP with other

toolsets and people are increasingly realising

product innovation,

systems developed to any notable degree over

that a lot of this workflow automation is very

seamless delivery

the past year or two? To put things in context,

powerful within these systems and it’s been

and excellent

Natarajan reminds us that front office systems

under utilised historically.”

experience. He also

like CRM record customer-related information

maintains that

such as customer interactions, sales tracking,

Hiskey stresses that in order to get the most

manufacturers are influenced by increasing

pipeline management etc., On the other hand,

value from your ERP system, and to really

drives for efficiency and increased

back office systems such as ERP and SCM deal

understand manufacturing costs and the

competitiveness in the market and the need to

with information around back-end processes

impact to your margin, it is critical to be

compete effectively.

such as billing, shipping, financial and supply

connected from the front office (order

chain related data. “Traditionally, these systems

management, CRM) through

have been kept separately,” she explained.

procurement/purchasing, production, inventory, shipping and servicing. Hiskey adds that IoT

Recent development sweet spots

Natarajan continued: “Superficially, this might

technologies have made it easier to get a better

Are there any other recently introduced benefits

look extremely manageable and easy to use.

view of inventory, as well as parts, as they are

offered within the world of ERP that are of

However, integrating the front-end and back-end

coming from their suppliers. “In short, new

particular note? Natarajan considers that Cloud-

systems can help manufacturers gain a better

technologies have driven greater visibility from

based ERP systems are certainly more

understanding of their customer base at every

when a customer starts browsing on a website

sustainable and environment friendly than on-

stage of the manufacturing processes keeping in

through to the delivery of an order,” she said.

premise ERP systems. “The Cloud facilitates the

mind the end goals and delivering results

implementation of functionalities such as

accordingly. This has to a huge extent helped in

Ball makes the point that in the past ERP has

document management, which is far more

streamlining business processes and improving

often been thought of as a something that

sustainable than traditional pen and paper due

productivity. Risk of database errors have also

contains just about everything. However,

to faster processing speeds, increased accuracy

dropped due to this integration. Enterprises are

because of the increased move to the Cloud, he

levels and their reduction in the amount of paper

slowly beginning to understand the potential

believes it’s going to become more a case of

generated,” she said. “Further, centralised Cloud

from this integration and have started to act in

platforms connecting with other platforms in a

data centres will drive improved sustainability

this direction. Integrating these back-end and

very horizontal fashion as opposed to ERP

and reduce carbon footprint. It also allows a

front-end systems through a single platform

having all or most of the pieces contained within

more efficient use of infrastructure with the ability

solution will be a priority in the coming years.”

it. He also believes that with the growth of this integrated platform-to-platform model, the

to scale up or down based on seasonal Devault observes that vendors such as Infor are

partner network will become increasingly

looking to put all their applications on a common

important. “So, we’re moving to this horizonal

Hiskey points out that the use of IoT sensors on

platform in order to provide companies big or

platform-to-platform model versus the older

things such as shop floor equipment has made

small with a common toolset to realise these

approach of having all or most of the architecture under one roof,” he said.

demands of the business.”

enterprise asset management (EAM) an area

integrations. He also comments that from a

with renewed focus. “Companies can benefit

Microsoft standpoint every year more and more

from proactively addressing production or

people are using those applications meaning

Ball continued: “As an analogy, I happen to be a

equipment issues before those issues end up

there are more resources out there for

runner and have a Garmin watch. The watch has

halting production,” she said. “By having a better

development. “A lot of people buy Microsoft

a lot of functionality built into it including GPS

understanding of capacity and throughput of

strictly on the fact that they can customise very

capability, distance tracking, time monitoring and

those machines, jobs can be scheduled for

easily and can integrate fairly easily,” he said.

a heart rate monitor. Based on my heart rate these pieces of functionality connect and say

efficiently and throughput can be optimised.” Devault adds that although ‘Big Data’ continues

Bryan you’ve burnt so many calories today, this

Additionally, Hiskey explains that many factories

to be promoted, he thinks that many people still

is how much you ate so you’re over or under the

are adopting smart home technologies such as

have difficulty understanding what it is, how they

ideal etc. It also connects to Strava, which


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connects me to the running community and lets

service devices, issues can be identified and

move in that direction,” he explained. “In terms of

me know how other people are performing and

resources can be assigned directly from the

manufacturing operations, planning and

how I could perform against them. So, these

device,” she explained. “This helps reduce the

execution can be separated out. So, execution

platforms are connecting very horizontally and

amount of time that a piece of equipment is

stays on premises and stays alongside the

offer back and forth collaboration. And they

down and helps companies be more reactive

assets and the planning starts to go out to the

designed from the ground up to be collaborative

when dealing with faulty or failing equipment.”

Cloud. So, we are seeing that the Cloud is becoming the destination for a lot of these

in the Cloud. ERP is moving in the same

things, although to some extent this is brought

direction; having a base and many partners. So, now it’s a case of not thinking of an application

The Cloud up close

but thinking more of an application on a platform

Picking up on the Cloud theme in more detail,

about by the vendors rather than the customers.”

and how this platform can connect with other

has the Cloud or Software as a Service (SaaS)

From a geographical perspective, Montgomery

platforms and partners. That makes ERP

model had any notable level of impact on the

points out that although it might be thought that a

solutions much more effective if they move in that

ERP market? For clarification purposes,

Cloud-based solution could provide distinct

direction, and this is why Cloud adoption is

Montgomery explains that the main connection

advantages in terms of making information

going to continue to increase.”

between the terms Cloud and Software as a

accessible over multiple plants throughout the

Service (SaaS) is that they both refer to

world this isn’t necessarily true. “This is because

solutions that are available to use off-premises.

depending where I am in the world and what my


Cloud could refer to a licensing model where

model is there are certain countries that have a

Has the increased trend for the integration of

the user is responsible for the updates,

very bad infrastructure and don’t suit the Cloud

mobile/field service devices with back-office

whereas with SaaS all the software updates are

at all,” he said. “This is one of the big challenges,

ERP systems provided improved business and

normally dealt with by the vendor and users

and when you look at SAP what you find is that

operational benefits for the end user? Natarajan

pay a subscription to use it.

most of their manufacturing customers on S/4 HANA have actually chosen an on-premises

maintains that with the ease of access through mobile devices, service quality has improved

He adds that what can happen in the

model. The reason is because when you’re

as customers have direct access to the relevant

background is that if the vendor can do it

looking across multiple geographies you don’t

information. She adds that mobility has also

economically enough and there is enough

necessarily have the ability to take everything to

helped employees to use time productively

common ground between companies, then a

the Cloud. In the services sector if you’re off line

without any delay. “With information made

multi-tenant model makes sense. “So, I now have

for 20 minutes work goes on. In a manufacturing

available at their fingertips, employees have

one piece of software that I’ve got to maintain

environment if you’re off line for this amount of

been able to deepen business relationships

and everyone’s using the same software.

time it can stop a production line. So, vendors

and response times,” she said, adding that

However, the difference between SaaS and

are realising that only offering customers a Cloud

real-time availability of analytical reports has

Cloud at a structural level is that people are

model might actually be detrimental in terms of

helped to aid decision making. Moreover,

putting their existing ERPs in the Cloud which

attracting new business because not everybody

Natarajan explains that, internally, it has

means they get the cost savings by having it off-

can head in that direction.”

become easier for employees to fill in their

premise; they have a subscription model, but

official documents such as leave and travel,

don’t necessarily move to a SaaS model

That said, in terms of separation of duties things

and to check their attendance on their devices.

because SaaS means the partner is going to

like manufacturing planning can be in the Cloud

take it over totally. So, companies need to

because if it goes down for 20 minutes it doesn’t

distinguish between licensing models and

impact my shop floor so much because planning

mobile/field service

deployment options because they can be two

is done ahead of production. However,

devices with back-

different things. Essentially, Cloud means I’m no

execution could be an issue if it’s in the Cloud.

office ERP systems

longer holding it, while SaaS means I don’t need

So, what we’re seeing is a separation of planning

allows users to be

to worry about the software and the updates, I’m

and execution at the manufacturing level and

more reactive and to

just going to use it as a service.”

you have people such as Siemens and Rockwell

Hiskey makes the point that the integration of

and a few others building out of that

reduce the time lags

Brent Dawkins, director of product marketing,





that used to occur

Montgomery adds that one of the outcomes of

infrastructure layer to be effectively an execution

when someone had

the change in thinking around ERP is because

platform upon which the manufacturing

to call in an issue out

ERP is now not thought of so much as a ‘solid

capabilities sit plugged into a Cloud-delivered

in the field, and get a

thing’ and thought of more as a strategy the

planning and supply chain.”

resource assigned

functionality pieces can be more easily

and sent to service

separated out. “So, because things such as

Natarajan believes SaaS is slowly pushing the

the faulty equipment.

HCM, financials or CRM lend themselves to the

traditional software licensing model into the

“With mobile/field

Cloud and to a SaaS environment they tend to

background. “Organisations are moving large-

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scale software expenses CAPEX to OPEX, and

about 20 or 30% difference between year one

high levels of speed

this has resulted in looking at SaaS as a major

pricing. So, the SaaS model has increased in

and precision at an

business model,” she said. “SaaS offers lower

price but nevertheless it’s certainly increased

optimal cost. “Public

total cost of ownership and faster returns on

in market share adoption.”

Cloud/SaaS will be

small and medium enterprises segment where

Devault makes the point that the main

address this need,”

there are budget limitations. Today, businesses

adoption of SaaS is within the SMB space,

she said, adding

investment. This trend is visible especially in

best suited to

are increasingly embracing the on-demand

although he does see some enterprise

however that a major

model of software deployment, and it’s only

companies also looking to go into the Cloud.

drawback of public

going to accelerate in the future as businesses

In terms of the vendors, he reflects that they

Cloud would

start opting for the Cloud-delivered model of

can differ considerably as to how they got to

concern security and

selling software. The advantages of Cloud, on-

the Cloud. “For example, Microsoft


demand, user-based pricing model helps to

completely re-wrote the AX platform from the

apprehensions. “On-

Chris Devault, head of software selection,

expand the market. Further, SaaS is designed to

ground up and, interestingly, they’ve since

premise data offers a certain degree of

serve multiple customers in contrast to the

announced on-premise versions of the new

assurance to the manufacturers, for whom

traditional on-premise software, which requires

Cloud software,” he said.

data security is important. It would make

the user to install and operate software in his or her local IT environment.”

sense for them to invest in protecting Devault continued: “Infor have Cloud-enabled

sensitive data. For less sensitive data, they

their application, and where it’s not built from

could avoid paying for excessive security.

According to Natarajan, some of the promising

the ground up as Cloud they have put it on

Until public Cloud is able to convincingly

features that compel businesses to make a move

the Cloud technology they have now. Oracle

strengthen security, a right combination of

from on-premise to Cloud solutions include the

has had the Fusion product for many years

Cloud and on-premise systems or a hybrid

ability to customise solutions at any time,

and they have strictly re-written their Cloud

SaaS would be the ideal way forward.”

allowing users to manage and create their own

apps. But the maturity is an issue and some

systems for fast deployment, scalability and

of the larger enterprises want to go Cloud but

The main difference Hiskey observes

agility to adjust resources based on how much

they are finding not all the functionality they

between SaaS/Cloud and on-premises ERP

system is being used.

need is necessarily there at this moment in

implementations has to do with


customisations. “With SaaS/Cloud

Devault observes that all the main ERP vendors now offer Cloud solutions. “However, most of our

implementations, users use most of the Hiskey believes the SaaS model and Cloud

functionality out of the box but have some

clients are still purchasing on premise software –

has helped make some technologies

capabilities to personalise things like the

I would say it’s about 60% – and most of those

available and accessible to small and mid-

home page or forms, or the ability to create

companies are manufacturers,” he said. “I think

size companies that felt such sophisticated

specific workflows,” she explained. “The

this is for a number of reasons, one being

and innovative technologies were out of their

reason for this is that SaaS implementations

concerns about security. We have many

price range, and over and above what they

have a much more frequent upgrade

discussions about this issue with clients, but I

needed for functionality. “Moving to a SaaS

schedule. For Epicor ERP, it is twice a year,

don’t believe concern about security is a valid a

model, or to the Cloud, allows small and mid-

but some SaaS applications update on a

reason not to go Cloud. In terms of total cost of

size organisations to leave the often-

monthly basis or even more frequently.

ownership for SaaS and Cloud versus on

cumbersome IT management responsibilities

premise we see that for about seven years they

to their solution partner,” she said. “SaaS

“Frequent upgrades make vast

have actually been quite close to each other. In

makes these technologies more affordable by

customisations very difficult to manage. That

the past the SaaS model has been a bit more

offering a subscription method to get access,

being said, we are seeing many hybrid

expensive on the back end, but when you really

so it helps spread the financial burden. I think

implementations, with customers trying out

look at what it means to properly staff from an IT

we’ll start to see smaller companies gain

certain pieces of functionality in the Cloud

standpoint, and if you’re hosting you can host

advantages over larger companies by

(like e-commerce or analytics) as they get

on-premise software elsewhere, then those

leveraging these new technologies.”

used to managing cloud versus an on-

annual costs are still fairly significant and don’t

premise implementation. Many customers have invested heavily in their current on-

offset the SaaS model.


premises system, and just aren’t ready to

“Originally when SaaS came in it was around

Is SaaS and the Cloud a threat to the on-

give up that investment yet, so they may add

40 or 50% cheaper than the on-premise

premise ERP model? Natarajan reflects that

on new functionality in the Cloud with plans to

versions, but during year one that gap can

industrial devices often generate huge

move everything to the Cloud eventually – but

be significantly closed. Now we see it’s only

volumes of data that require processing at

that may still be several years away.”


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painful, but sometimes necessary depending on

decision making will separate the laggards from

Upgrade or replace?

how old the initial implementation is,” she said.

the winners. It is therefore imperative for

Is there still a case for updating/upgrading

“You need a modern ERP system to be able to

businesses to take note of their ERP systems

legacy ERP, or is it better to ‘rip and replace’?

harness the power of new and innovative

and ensure that it is in perfect alignment with this

Natarajan reflects that it depends on the kind of

technology – IoT, analytics, mobility, AI and

trend of Big Data.”

systems an enterprise already has in place and

much more – being introduced at a record pace.

also upon its budget allocations. “If an enterprise

If your initial ERP implementation is not updated

uses a legacy ERP system that uses a fairly

enough to be able to leverage these


recent version of software, it would make sense

technologies, you may want to consider making

What are some of the main functionality

to upgrade,” she said. “On the other hand, if the

the leap by ripping and replacing to a more

differentiators among the ERP vendor community?

enterprise uses legacy systems using very old

modern ERP system. We asked a number of our

Hiskey believes that one of the key differentiators

software for several years, it makes sense to go

executive customers in a recent gathering if they

is whether or not competitors have a complete

with complete replacement. These legacy ‘end-

preferred that their solution providers provide

suite of products available both on-premise and in

of-life’ ERP systems were not designed for

changes a little at a time or all at once and were

the Cloud. “Many service providers only offer one

today’s constantly changing manufacturing

surprised to see everyone respond favourably to

or the other, or if they offer both the Cloud version

world, so they are forcing companies to conform

making big changes all at once.”

is often a lighter version than the on-premises

to the available software, which impedes growth.

offering,” she said. “We offer the same product

Further it also depends on how much the

and same code for both Cloud and on-premise

enterprise is ready to shell out. An average

Big Data

deployments.” Other differentiators according to

single site tier-2 ERP implementation for a

Can ‘Big Data’ help to gain the best out of ERP

Hiskey have to do with industry-specific

medium scale business can cost anywhere

systems? For clarity, Hiskey first defines Big Data

functionality. “Most ERP solutions are very

between US$600K to $2000K and might take

as the vast amount of data being collected from

horizontal, offering a wide range of financial

close to a year to complete ERP implementation.

machines and other processes. “The insights

management, but cannot go very deep in terms of

This number can go up in case of larger and

that this data yields are invaluable to companies

functionality for specific industries like

multi-site ERP implementations.”

– revealing things like how long a production run

manufacturing or distribution,” she said.

actually takes, the exact product yield of certain Dawkins also believes it truly depends on the

machines, order fulfilment timings, etc.,” she

Natarajan considers that ERP vendors can be

client’s specific situation. “If a legacy ERP

explained. “ERP systems can help users gain

assessed on the basis of architecture, user

system can no longer effectively meet the

better visibility and use real-time data insights to

experience, price, ability to support complex

business requirements, is costly to maintain or

make quick and informed decisions about

workflows, agile and flexible workflow design,

lacks stringent cybersecurity capabilities, then it

adjusting production runs to meet delivery dates,

advanced reporting tools, platform stability,

is time to strongly consider an ERP

whether or not all product costs are being

integration track record, experience, modularity,

replacement,” he said. “Rip and replace can be

captured, so you know your pricing ensures the

reputation and support offerings.

a high-risk, high-cost effort with lengthy

highest margins. All of this greater visibility gives

implementation timelines. Working with ERP

users the most facts with which to make better

providers such as QAD that focus on agility to

decisions and changes if needed.”


deliver benefits quickly and easily integrate with

What do our vendor commentators consider to

existing legacy systems means reduced project

Similarly, Natarajan makes the point that

be their own company’s USPs in today’s ERP

risks and improved business performance with

industrial enterprises need to be equipped to

space? Dawkins points out that QAD delivers

advanced technologies.”

handle huge volume of data that is being

solutions that focus on the specific needs of

generated by ERP systems in both structured as

manufacturing companies. “Our industry focus

well as unstructured formats. “Big Data ensures

and expertise allows QAD to deliver solutions


that all this data is processed faster, better and

tailored to the unique needs of automotive,

considering upgrades

in real-time ultimately leading to overall forecast

consumer products, food & beverage, high tech,

should be looking at

accuracy,” she said. “An integrated ERP system

industrial and life sciences manufacturers,” he


powered by Big Data can be used to observe

said. “In each of our vertical segments, QAD

implementations, as

consumer behaviour in social sites, business

takes an active role with industry groups and

Hiskey believes that

Bryan Ball, VP & group director – global supply management practices,





being in the Cloud

networks and mobile devices. This is turn will

standards bodies to ensure that we embrace new

makes incremental

help manufacturers to understand their customer

manufacturing practices, address regulatory

upgrades much

preferences better and accordingly position their

compliance issues, assess emerging

easier to implement.

marketing or product strategies. As data

technologies and deliver innovative solutions to

“The ‘rip and replace’

continues to explode and becomes the new oil,

give our customers a competitive advantage. We

method is always

being able to access information real-time for

engage with customers in an annual business

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review process to determine their current and

patented solutions to make more smart water

of applications to speed up the automation and

future challenges. The result of QAD’s attention to

networks and make a bigger impact on the

decision making and quicken the timeliness of

specific manufacturing industry requirements is a

world. i2O looked to QAD to better take

information coming back to providers. He also

suite of solutions, which more rapidly responds to

advantage of the most current enterprise

maintains that there will be increased use of

industry requirements, and more precisely

technology,” Dawkins explained. As a result of a

analytics so companies can make comparisons

addresses customer requirements than broader,

recent QAD implementation, i2O was able to:

in order to make better management decisions

less-focused applications. QAD has an enviable

• Improve manufacturing operations with a

reputation for being easy to work with and high customer satisfaction and retention levels.” Hiskey explains that Epicor has over 40 years’

better tracking system

going forward. “So suddenly you’ve taken that stuff that was very back office after the fact and

• Increase requisition traceability

moved it upfront to provide almost real-time

• Reduce requisition approval processing

intelligence in terms of what we might benefit

time even when people are on the move

from doing today in order to achieve better

experience in the manufacturing industry, with

• More quickly onboard and train users

performance for this month or year-end and so

both world-class Cloud and on-premise

• Increase information security

forth,” he said.

solutions. “We have been positioned as a

• Enhance inventory controls

Visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud

Moreover, Ball believes there could be

ERP for product-centric mid-size enterprises,

something of a shakeout within the vendor

and we are specialists within manufacturing as

The next move

community as more companies move from on-

opposed to generic ERP providers who sell to

What might the next key innovations and

premise to Cloud. “The last thing companies

manufacturing companies,” she said. “In

developments be within the world of ERP over

really want to do is go through a major

addition to being a robust ERP solution for

the next year or two? Hiskey believes AI and

technology disruption, but they are often forced

manufacturing, our ability to integrate with other

machine learning are a couple of things to look

to because, for example, their provider might be

systems is unique, and delivers tangible benefits

out for as key development areas. Hiskey

sunsetting the application they use or there has

to our customers.”

comments that machine learning equipment will

been a decision to move the infrastructure into

be able to correct itself instead of having to wait

the Cloud,” he said. “And where there’s

for human intervention. This, she maintains, will

disruption there could be some major shakeups


save time and help avoid human error. Hiskey

in terms of which vendors gain or lose market

What do our vendor commentators consider to

also believes we will see many different


be one or two of their most noteworthy customer

applications of voice-activated technology and

references? Hiskey comments that one

things such as smart forms where fields can be

Montgomery believes a hybrid ERP model with

interesting Epicor customer adopting smart

filled out automatically.

an edge capability is one of the directions we are going to see manufacturing moving in over

technologies is Sistema, a global plastics goods manufacturer based in New Zealand. The

Natarajan foresees developments concerning

the next three to five years. “Companies are

comapny has put together its own factory of the

the integration of front-end and back-end

going to build a hybrid Cloud and edge model

future, with robotics, machine learning and

systems into a unified platform and a continuing

such that they can put the executional bits that

analytics. Another deployment of note, according

focus on AI, mobile, blockchain, machine

need a 50-millisecond response on premises

to Hiskey, is Rainier Industries, a US-based

learning and Cloud. She also anticipates that

and put anything that isn’t so time-critical in the Cloud,” he said.

company that has been using Epicor to

specialist system integrators who can customise

modernise its 100+ year old business. “With

or personalise solutions to suit the specific needs

Epicor ERP, integrated with Epicor Commerce

of a business will emerge to be a breed-in-

Devault believes ERP vendors will continue to

Connect, the business has been able to lower

demand. Natarajan adds that future ERP

look to streamline the functionality of their

costs by automating customer orders, improve

software will look more flexible than today.

solutions and to make the navigation in the

the customer experience by accelerating time-to-

“Although SaaS solutions are gaining relevancy

systems more intuitive and more refined.

delivery and increase sales by enabling online

and importance, most enterprise will look for an

“Historically, we used to see so many data fields;

shopping,” said Hiskey. “This makes for a highly

amalgamation of Cloud and on-premise

that can provide a lot of functionality but most of

successful B2B digital commerce strategy that

solutions,” she said, adding that they will

it was never used – so I think it’s now about

drives growth and is an inspiring adoption of our

increasingly look out for the freedom of choice

optimising how end users use the system and


between the two in the future.

about securing better end user adoption,” he

With regard to QAD, Dawkins cites i2O, a UK-

Ball believes we will continue to see greater

change management too. “Your people have to

based company that provides smart water

adoption of Cloud ERP and anticipates that

understand how to use the new technology and

network solutions to utility companies in over 35

machine learning will continue to develop. He

not be intimidated by it. Too many people think

countries around the world. “Recently, i2O

thinks there will also be more use cases of AI

it’s going to take over their job, but it’s not really

identified a goal to use its advanced and

and an increased use of bots within these types

said. Devault adds that a lot of this is about


the case.” n

March 2019





MLIT Mar'19 MFG p16-23.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 16

\\\ Manufacturing \\\


Research report finds more than two thirds of manufacturers and distributors rate their ERP implementations a success Ultra Consultants, Inc., an independent enterprise solution consulting firm serving the manufacturing and distribution sector, has unveiled an industry survey conducted by Mint Jutras, researchers specialising in analysing the business impact of enterprise applications.


he in-depth report resulting from the survey is titled ‘The Real Facts about ERP Implementation: Busting the Myth of Failure, But Are You Overrating Your Success?’

In late 2018, Mint Jutras surveyed more than 300 North American manufacturers and distributors, focusing on the success of their ERP implementations in terms of schedule, cost and return on investment (ROI). The study of ERP implementation success by manufacturers and distributors found 67% rate their implementations as successful or very successful.

‘Flipping the script’ The report findings show that previous

• While many ERP implementations meet

Mint Jutras. “Solutions today are far more

expectations in terms of schedule,

statistics related to lack of ERP

technology-enabled, easier to implement and

implementation success rates are out of date,

budget and ROI, the Mint Jutras/Ultra

use. Equally important is management

and ‘flip the script’ on often cited success

Consultants study shows a significant

support of the project and change

rates from previous years. Highlights of the

number of manufacturing and distribution

management initiatives.”

study include: • The Mint Jutras/Ultra Consultants study found that the primary reasons for success had to do with people and process, and

Solutions today are far more technology-enabled, easier to implement and use. Equally important is management support of the project and change management initiatives.” – Cindy Jutras, Mint Jutras.

Jeff Carr, founder and CEO of Ultra Consultants, commented: “This research study reflects the performance of current offerings of modern ERP systems now available to manufacturers and

not just software. Key success factors

companies overrate their success and

distributors. The report shows that the majority

include top management support and

leave additional attainable returns on the

of ERP implementations drive value, are on

change management.


time and meet budget expectations. It also reveals the importance of setting goals for a

• Reasons for lack of implementation

“ERP project disasters were quite common in

success include inadequate business

the early days of ERP. It’s noteworthy that this

process re-engineering and inadequate

study reveals as myth the once-cited high

project planning.

project, and putting the focus on people and

processes, not just technology.” n

rates of failure in terms of schedules, costs and payback,” said Cindy Jutras, president of





March 2019


MLIT Mar'19 MFG p16-23.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 17


\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Safety in numbers – The benefits of clustering for manufacturers Emperor penguins huddle together to share warmth and protect each other during the intense winds of the harsh Antarctic storms. Fortunately, it’s not just penguins that can benefit from huddling together. Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of obsolete industrial parts supplier EU Automation, explains why manufacturers form clusters around the world.


Jonathan Wilkins: “Clustering helps manufacturers obtain resources quickly and EU Automation has offices around the globe to ensure obsolete spare parts can also be easily accessed.”

lustering is when businesses

area attracts large numbers of skilled workers a boost while helping companies to keep

Silicon Valley is where the world’s first

business thriving. In 2016, the Indian

microprocessor and microcomputer were

Government announced it was funding the

developed and is now known as a global

development of an electronics manufacturing

centre of technological innovation. It is home

cluster in the Shendra Five Star industrial

to many of the world’s largest technology

area. While developing countries clearly

corporations, including Apple, Chevron and

recognise the economic benefits of clustering,

Cisco Systems, as well as thousands of start-

most advanced manufacturing clusters

up companies.

currently exist in developed countries.

operating in the same industry concentrate geographically. It doesn’t occur by chance –

companies relocated to the area.

and customers. This gives the local economy

Shenzhen, China Silverstone, UK

Shenzhen used to be viewed as a poor area

Following a report published in 2016, it was

of China but in the last 30 years it has

benefits from locating themselves close to

revealed that around 4000 companies

developed into a manufacturing hub often

similar companies or organisations that form

operating in precision engineering were

referred to as China’s Silicon Valley. 30,000

part of their supply chain. The concentration

based within a one-hour radius of the

science and technology companies are

of resources means costs for goods

Silverstone motor racing circuit. These

located in the region, including electronics

transportation are reduced and overall

businesses serve a variety of manufacturing

manufacturers Apple, Hewlett-Packard, IBM

efficiency and productivity is increased.

sectors including aerospace, automotive,

and Foxconn.

businesses can gain numerous

electronics and motorsport. Easy access to resources is essential,

Shenzhen has a modern shipping

especially if a plant is in downtime while a

The local community values its manufacturing

infrastructure and is close to China’s border

spare part is being sourced. Clustering helps

cluster and the economic benefits it brings. A

with Hong Kong, which facilitates excellent

manufacturers obtain resources quickly and

not-for-profit organisation called the

connectivity with the rest of the world. The

EU Automation has offices around the globe

Silverstone Technology Cluster has been

government supports and encourages

to ensure obsolete spare parts can also be

established to support the growth of the local

investment in the manufacturing cluster by

easily accessed.

industry and attract investment.

providing tax exemptions for entrepreneurs and businesses, which also helps to attract

Clustering also means businesses compete with others on their doorstep and observe

Silicon Valley, US

skilled workers to the area.

what their competitors are doing, whether that

The technology cluster in Silicon Valley,

Penguins believe in safety in numbers and so

be introducing new technology, adopting new

California originated in the 1990s when

do manufacturers. The manufacturing industry

business models or offering new services.

several computer technology companies

has advanced enormously in recent years

This close proximity of competition

emerged in the area. The concentration of

and has seen the beginning of the fourth

encourages businesses to improve, which

skills and resources attracted many

industrial revolution. Perhaps this is in part

drives advancements in the industry.

technology start-ups, which set off a domino

thanks to the competitive drive that

effect where established companies Another advantage of clustering is that the


expanded their offices in the region and more

businesses have gained from clustering

together. n

March 2019





MLIT Mar'19 MFG p16-23.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 18

\\\ Manufacturing \\\


Capgemini to help Imerys to design and implement an intelligent platform


apgemini is helping Imerys, the mineral-based specialty solutions provider for a wide range of industries, to design and implement a platform with

the capacity to integrate its various business functions including manufacturing, finance, sales, purchasing, maintenance, quality and master data – as well as the business areas of the Imerys Group across the globe. The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform is based on SAP S/4HANA, an intelligent business software suite. Operating in 50 countries and having grown partly through acquisition, Imerys Group’s business and functional processes are many and diverse. Supervised by the Imerys’ Executive Committee, the modernisation programme is therefore aimed at

for Imerys to become an Intelligent

and its ability to mobilise complementary

consolidation and simplification to enable the


teams to work on a project, combining proven

During the first phase of the project, spanning

management and deep expertise in data.”

acceleration of the Group’s digital transformation; supporting its growth while improving its profitability.

skills in business consulting, infrastructure 15 months, a joint balanced collaborative team including Capgemini experts and Imerys managers from various businesses and IT

Major area of modernisation

Agile and iterative approach

departments across the group, will work together to design this new platform that will

Capgemini’s approach to solving complex

be implemented by Capgemini.

business challenges, its Accelerated

to make its information system more agile,

Commenting on the collaboration, Pierre

facilitate the project development by bringing

facilitate exchanges of higher-quality data

Boissonnade, group chief information officer

together the key stakeholders from multiple

The implementation of a single ERP platform is a major area of modernisation for Imerys,

Solutions Environment (ASE), will drive and

business areas and geographies. Based on

an agile and iterative approach, the new

We have chosen to partner with Capgemini for its strong track record in implementing SAP solutions across the world and its ability to mobilise complementary teams to work on a project, combining proven skills in business consulting, infrastructure management and deep expertise in data” – Pierre Boissonnade, Imerys.

beginning of 2020, ahead of being deployed

and enable the Group to optimise its

and transformation VP at Imerys, said: “This

Executive Committee and managing director

processes. The company chose SAP

programme is key for the acceleration of our

of the France Business Unit at Capgemini,

operating model is planned to be implemented initially in pilot divisions by the throughout the Group. Jérôme Siméon, member of the Group

S/4HANA as it provides a scalable and

digital transformation. With the implementation

said: “We are very much looking forward to

flexible integrated solution to handle the

of SAP S/4HANA as a unique platform, we

starting this new project with Imerys, a long-

complexities of diverse activities, functions

can expect to optimise further our

standing client, and to accompany them in

and geographies and the full scope of its

performance. We have chosen to partner with

their transformation. It strengthens further our

business transformation project.

Capgemini for its strong track record in

Implementing SAP S/4HANA is the first step

implementing SAP solutions across the world





March 2019

working relationship which is built on trust

between our two companies.” n


MLIT Mar'19 MFG p16-23.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:25 Page 19

Epicor ERP Certainty in an uncertain world Rock-solid technology designed specifically for the manufacturing industry.

For more information visit www.epicor.com Copyright Š2019 Epicor Software Corporation. All rights reserved. Epicor and the Epicor logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Epicor Software Corporation in the United States and certain other countries.

MLIT Mar'19 MFG p16-23.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 20

\\\ Manufacturing \\\


Accelerating digital transformation with manufacturing ERP By Brent Dawkins, director of product marketing, QAD Inc.


he growing digital economy

process automation (RPA) are maturing and

maximising production efficiency and improving

continues to take hold around the

becoming more affordable to cost effectively

profit margins. The good news is that many

globe and constantly introduces

address specific manufacturing and supply

manufacturers have already made strides in

new challenges for manufacturers.

chain challenges.

their digital efforts without realising it.

how many tasks can now be completed via our

Increasingly, operational strategies must take

Whilst adoption of digital technologies is still in

smartphones including scheduling a car ride,

advantage of digital technology and better align

the early stages, manufacturers are

booking a flight, buying products or watching a

with IT strategies to ensure the manufacturing

implementing or reviewing new technologies to


organisation can evolve and adopt new

boost productivity, quality, flexibility and

technologies. This digital transformation

responsiveness. Many manufacturers begin

Enabled by new technologies, social media and

improves new product introductions, unlocks

with smaller prototype projects like machine

powerful mobile devices, customers gain

cost efficiencies, enhances product quality and

learning to improve forecast accuracy, Internet

instant access to information and now expect

delivers additional revenue.

of Things (IoT) techniques to increase machine

As consumers, it is mind boggling

uptime or advanced analytics to improve

manufacturing companies to create more personalised and digitally connected products. As a result, manufacturers are pressured, more

production visibility and decision making.

Digital transformation readiness

than ever before, to create innovative, digitally

Numerous books, articles and other sources of

Taking material handling and shop floor

enabled products with value added services

information provide an understanding of the

activities as an example, manufacturers have

that deliver top line revenue growth and bottom-

new digital technologies transforming the global

achieved certain levels of automation and

line cost savings.

economy. Additionally, there are various

improved data accuracy but still struggle with

definitions and terms including ‘Industry 4.0’,

operational visibility due to a lack of connected

Automation and enhanced control initiatives

‘The Second Machine Age’, ‘The Fourth

processes. Often, production planners and

across business processes are not new for

Industrial Revolution’, Smart Factories’ and

schedulers rely on spreadsheets to plan and

manufacturers and have existed for decades.

more. All of this information and rapid change is

schedule daily production levels with complex

New and advanced technologies like IoT

causing complexity for manufacturers as they

calculations derived from MRP data. Material

(Internet of Things), machine learning, artificial

make decisions in creating stronger customer

planners have their own spreadsheets to

intelligence (AI), digital twins and robotic

relationships, boosting product innovation,

organise the material supplies required at the production lines and work centres. When reviewing digital readiness, consider the following questions as a starting point: • How reliant is your organisation on manually intensive processes and what is the level of readiness for digital transformation? • How much time do users spend seeking information to make well-informed decisions? How quickly is information provided to users? • Do users have personalised access to information specific to their role? Do users have immediate access to inventory availability, order status, machine uptime, operator training, supplier performance and other pertinent data?





March 2019


MLIT Mar'19 MFG p16-23.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 21


\\\ Manufacturing \\\

• Are you still relying on paper-based data and manual processes? • How effectively is information presented to users for making the best-informed decision? Investing in connected processes, people and machines delivers real time information to better understand what is really happening across manufacturing operations, the global supply chain and on the shop floor. This provides a faster time to knowledge and a rapid response to changes in customer demands or supply disruptions while controlling costs and quality of products and processes. These are also some of the exact areas manufacturing ERP addresses – helping manufacturers respond rapidly to daily operational changes, better manage increasing product variability and

manufacturers can maximise supply chain

to provide their customers expert predictive

leveraging technology to enhance connected

performance. According to AT Kearney, “Supply

services including predictive maintenance

manufacturing operations.

chain managers see greater transparency

capabilities. As a result, leading organisations in

leading to better decision making as the main

this digital transformation can use new data to

Manufacturing ERP is progressing digital

benefit of going digital.” Quicker access to

gain deeper insights and make real-time

transformation across the manufacturing

possible supply chain disruptions can determine

operational decisions along with creating new

enterprise. Following are 3 areas to consider for

if products are available when and where

value for their customer’s operations.

starting or expanding your organisation’s digital

customers require. Additionally, customer


relationships can be further strengthened by

So, how far along is your organisation’s digital

digitally collecting and sharing supply chain

transformation? Are you at the point of

information like inventory availability and

considering or deploying rapid response ERP

shipment status. With greater capabilities, supply

and other enterprise systems? Or, considering

chain trading partners gain enhanced data

advanced technologies like machine learning,

Many situations can affect future product

access, collaboration and analytics resulting in

blockchain, data lakes or other initiatives?

demand including seasonal trends, customer

lower costs and improved product availability.

Consider starting small and local with

Increase demand planning accuracy

manufacturing ERP systems that allow you to

buying patterns, unexpected weather events and competitive product innovation. Historically, many manufacturing firms have created forecasting processes with information that

Digitally connect the shop floor and products

adopt solutions as needed. Identify a specific challenge or pain point within a division or plant. Tackle the issue and prove the solution prior to

includes outdated demand patterns. In the

Manufacturing organisations continuously

expanding to other plants or areas of the

digital economy, it’s essential that firms access

bemoan the lack of information between the

business. Now is the time to consider digital

real-time customer and consumer behavior to

shop floor and planning activities. Direct

innovations for improving production efficiency,

illuminate changing patterns and adjust supply

connections to production equipment and

maximising global supply chain performance,

chain responses to better meet customer

simplified shop floor data capture results in the

boosting quality and enhancing customer

expectations. With the technology available

influx of live production status for operators. As


today and quicker access to information, more

collaboration increases, manufacturers can

precise demand tracking and monitoring allows

improve production decision making, reduce

I work for QAD, a global provider of ERP

for appropriate and timely adjustments to better

inventory levels, increase customer

solutions specifically developed for

meet customer demands and lower inventory

responsiveness and boost enterprise agility. Manufacturing executives should also be aware

Improve global supply chain performance Adopting a comprehensive view of the global

effectiveness and competitiveness. QAD

that digitally connected products will impact the

solutions have enabled customers in the

way products and services are sold along with

automotive, consumer products, food and

improving operations. Manufacturers should

beverage, high tech, industrial manufacturing,

consider the use of IoT for obtaining greater

and life sciences industries to better align

supply chain, from raw material suppliers,

insight into asset utilisation. Manufactures should

transportation partners, retailers and others,

then consider digitally connecting end products


manufacturers, and we have helped numerous customers transform their


operations with their strategic goals to

become Effective Enterprises. n

March 2019





MLIT Mar'19 MFG p16-23.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 22

\\\ Manufacturing \\\


Digital twins are entering mainstream use


ome 13% of organisations implementing Internet of Things (IoT) projects already use digital twins, while 62% are either in the

as well as a composite digital twin, which

Digital twins serve many masters

aggregates IoT data across the equipment to analyse overall operations.

A key factor for enterprises implementing IoT is that their digital twins serve different

Despite this setup being very complex,

use or plan to do so, according to a recent IoT

constituencies inside and outside the

61% of companies that have implemented

implementation survey by Gartner, Inc.

enterprise. Some 54% of respondents

digital twins have already integrated at

reported that while most of their digital twins

least one pair of digital twins with each

Gartner defines a digital twin as a software

serve only one constituency, sometimes their

other, and even more – 74% of

design pattern that represents a physical

digital twins served multiple; nearly a third

organisations that have not yet integrated

object with the objective of understanding the

stated that either most or all their digital twins

digital twins – will do so in the next five

asset’s state, responding to changes,

served multiple constituencies.

years. However, this result also means that

process of establishing digital twin

39% of respondents have not yet integrated

improving business operations and adding value.

For example, the constituencies of a

any digital twins; of those, 26% still do not

connected car digital twin can include the

plan to do so in five years.

“The results – especially when compared with

manufacturer, a customer service provider

past surveys – show that digital twins are

and the insurance company, each with a

“What we see here is that digital twins are

slowly entering mainstream use,” said Benoit

need for different IoT data.

increasingly deployed in conjunction with other digital twins for related assets or

Lheureux, research vice president at Gartner. “We predicted that by 2022, over two-thirds of

When asked for examples of digital twin

equipment,” said Lheureux. “However, true

companies that have implemented IoT will

constituencies, replies varied widely, ranging

integration is still relatively complicated

have deployed at least one digital twin in

from internal IoT data consumers, such as

and requires high-order integration and

production. We might actually reach that

employees or security over commercial

information management skills. The ability

number within a year.”

partners to technology providers.

of to integrate digital twins with each other will be a differentiating factor in the future,

While only 13% of respondents claim to

“These findings show that digital twins serve a

already use digital twins, 62% are either in the

wide range of business objectives,” said

process of establishing the technology or plan

Lheureux. “Designers of digital twins should

to do so in the next year. This rapid growth in

keep in mind that they will probably need to

adoption is due to extensive marketing and

accommodate multiple data consumers and

education by technology vendors, but also

provide appropriate data access points.”

as physical assets and equipment evolve.”

Results background Results presented are based on a Gartner

because digital twins are delivering business

study of IoT implementation conducted July

value and have become part of enterprise IoT

2018 through August 2018. The research

and digital strategies. “We see digital twin adoption in all kinds of

Digital twins are often integrated with each other

was conducted online among 599 respondents in six countries: China, Germany, India, Japan, the UK and the US.

organisations. However, manufacturers of IoT-

When an organisation has multiple digital

Participating organisations were required to

connected products are the most progressive,

twins deployed, it might make sense to

have an annual revenue of greater than $50

as the opportunity to differentiate their

integrate them. For example, in a power

million with plans to deploy at least one-use

product and establish new service and

plant with IoT-connected industrial valves,

revenue streams is a clear business driver,”

pumps and generators, there is a role for

Lheureux added.

digital twins for each piece of equipment,





March 2019

case of IoT – no later than 2019. n


MLIT Mar'19 MFG p16-23.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 23

MLIT Mar'19 Transport p24-27.qxp_MLIT31 pageForcst 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 24


Sunny skies for


ripple Z manufactures quality solar modules from its German facilities. It also refurbishes and sells used solar systems. Indeed, the company now claims to be the largest provider of second-hand solar modules and accessories in Europe, repowering up to 300,000 solar modules per year. Tripple Z organises its transportation requirements out of North Rhine Westphalia using TIMOCOM, the Smart Logistics System. Between the purchase of solar systems no longer in use and their sale to customers across Europe, there is a lot of movement and a great many steps to be coordinated Europewide between buyers, sellers and transport partners in terms of disassembly, dismantling, assembly, transport and logistics. “Generally, handling takes place at our location in Hilden, near Düsseldorf, which gives us a good overview of the inventory,”





March 2019

TIMOCOM interview

used solar modules

says Tim Grön, logistics manager at Tripple Z. “Last year, we dealt with 85,000 tonnes of goods,” he continued, emphasising the transport volume. If, for example, 30 truck loads are needed for disassembling solar systems in Romania, and about 100 are required in Germany, Grön first tenders the order in the TIMOCOM system. “Then, I decide which transport service provider will take the order,” he explains; a system that has worked well for Tripple Z for the past ten years. Usually, the goods are sent to Belgian farmers, who are happy to install used solar systems. The transport is almost completely carried out by a variety of service providers.

Digital order completion replaced Word a long time ago

age last year by introducing TC Transport Order. This means that transport orders created by the logistics manager are completely paperless. All necessary administrative processes are completed with service providers directly in the TIMOCOM system. Moreover, it provides a summary of all transport orders made by Tripple Z and their status. “TC Transport Order has long since replaced Word,” Grön points out. Grön concludes: “Even though I am sceptical about digitalisation, both professionally and privately, I enjoy the added value it has brought to my working life.” Nevertheless, Grön does not believe in fully automated transport. In the future, he still wants a direct contact partner at the transport companies he does business with. n

Grön says TIMOCOM is his “best field agent”. He made an important step into the digital


MLIT Mar'19 Transport p24-27.qxp_MLIT31 pageForcst 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 25

Company news


TIMOCOM: Transport

industry strong in the final quarter of 2018


he TIMOCOM transport barometer continues to show high demand for vehicle space throughout Europe. According to the company, the European transport market remained completely unaffected by international trade conflicts and pessimistic economic forecasts in the final quarter of 2018. “The transport industry experienced a traditionally strong final quarter,” says TIMOCOM company spokesman Gunnar Gburek, commenting on the current transport barometer numbers. The transport barometer is used by the IT company to analyse, per quarter, trends in transport offers and demand as found on the freight exchange that is part of the TIMOCOM Smart Logistics System. With 127,000 users and up to 750,000 international freight and vehicle offers daily, the company claims that it is the largest freight exchange for road

transportation of goods in Europe.

Transport capacity will remain scarce in 2019 A look at the analysis of the fourth quarter shows that demand from companies offering freight for the transport market via TIMOCOM clearly exceeded the amount of available vehicle space on offer. On average, from October to December 2018, there were 71 freight offers for every 29 vehicle offers.

unchanged on the transport market. “Transport prices will remain under pressure in 2019, as transport capacity remains scarce,” Gburek predicts, adding that there is no end in sight. “The number of HGV drivers in Germany will only get lower, becoming an even greater regulating factor when it comes to economic growth.” n

The result confirms that the current imbalance between high amounts of freight and available vehicle capacities remains

Europe’s first Smart Logistics System! www.timocom.com


March 2019





MLIT Mar'19 Transport p24-27.qxp_MLIT31 pageForcst 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 26



Going international:

Controlling risk management across borders


By Derek Bryan, vice president, EMEA, Verizon Connect.

perating an enterprise across different countries is an extremely complex process. There is a range of operational issues that need careful management, including maintaining relationships with lots of different local suppliers, conducting business with a wide variety of international customers, and navigating multiple sets of regulations, all at the same time. Looking through the lens of risk and compliance management, it becomes clear just how much of a logistical challenge these enterprises and their operations managers face. In Europe, where many countries are within close proximity of each other, the landscape of differing regulatory standards can be a particular issue for vehicle operators and fleet managers. Does each field worker have the appropriate paperwork to cross the border if their schedule changes? Would their vehicle pass a safety inspection in one country but not the other? Do insurance requirements differ in different countries? These are some of the questions that can cause vehicle operators and fleet managers delays and disrupt operations. Even ensuring compliance with data privacy regulation can still pose an issue, as domestic laws in countries such as Germany can be deeper and more layered.

demonstrating a mobile duty of care. It can even work with HR processes to help ensure that every mobile worker has the right permissions to operate in various countries. Due to a lack of hard borders on the continent, there are often subtle differences between national and European laws that can be difficult to track and keep on top of. For example, while dashcams are both legal and commonly used by fleets in the UK, their use is illegal in Austria, Luxembourg and Portugal. Non-compliance can also result in significant fines, affecting an organisation’s bottom line. As a result, it’s important that risk managers have technology in place that helps them reduce noncompliance with local regulations, and factors in regional, national and international requirements and challenges. By having a uniform system, regional offices across borders can avoid operating in independent silos, with data and reporting housed separately. Without shared technology, there might be little to no data connectivity or integration between the different international operations. Operating in silos like this can create a complex environment that makes a one-world-view of the business difficult from a risk management perspective and makes collecting important metrics such as efficiency and productivity almost impossible.

Maintaining a healthy fleet Fortunately, for those looking to expand their networks there is a series of simple steps that can be taken to carefully manage an international mobile workforce.

Creating a one-world view Mobile Resource Management (MRM) can aid international risk management by combining technologies such as telematics, routing, and scheduling, alongside risk and policy compliance on a single platform. This can help enterprises with international bases and workforces communicate through a seamless interface. It also allows for differences in regulations across different countries, while also





March 2019

Using an MRM system, risk managers can monitor their mobile assets and ensure fleet managers receive pre-emptive maintenance alerts. These services can track engine-on time and mileage and regulate how a vehicle should be maintained. Once a vehicle edges closer to its maintenance date, an automatic alert will come up in the reporting suite. Systems like this help risk managers promote safe, efficient and compliant operation.

Monitoring driver behaviour Creating a uniform set of driving standards across borders can help promote driver safety

Derek Bryan: “Whether your enterprise is looking to expand or not, the layers of data provided by MRM technology will help risk managers to manage compliance and that uniform practices are adhered to across the business.”

and compliance. With an MRM system in place, driver performance can be tracked via a safety performance dashboard in near real-time. The technology can also issue alerts to notify the risk manager and operations team if drivers are failing to comply with local regulations around driver hours, vehicle usage, driver vehicle inspection reporting (DVIR) and so on. Systems like this can create greater uniformity across regions and help identify and rectify deficient driver behaviour. MRM technology can also provide risk managers with valuable insights into accident or damage claims as well as helping to mitigate fleet liability risks, and protecting against potential fraud, theft and supervisory negligence claims. Data relating to drivers’ routes, behaviour, speed, location and other key pieces of evidence can also help businesses to avoid consequential losses and mitigate risk.

Final thoughts Whether your enterprise is looking to expand or not, the layers of data provided by MRM technology will help risk managers to manage compliance and that uniform practices are adhered to across the business. With the right tools, fleet managers and field service operators can promote driver safety in each individual country. When the time comes to drive exports, expand abroad, or open up new offices, having the right technology in place that’s simple to rollout and on-board can be a key for mitigating risk. n


MLIT Mar'19 Transport p24-27.qxp_MLIT31 pageForcst 08/03/2019 11:14 Page 27

Confidence is a promise that you’ll arrive between 9:00am and 10:00am. When you need to provide your customers precise appointment times, you need Verizon Connect. Our solutions bring accuracy, flexibility and reliability to your fleet, so that you’re delivering better customer service no matter what you’re delivering. Discover how you can see clearly, act intelligently and go with confidence at verizonconnect.com/uk.

MLIT Mar'19 Voice p28-31.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:15 Page 28

V OICE technology


How Voice technology can be a game

changer in distribution centres of all sizes By Bill Birnie, general manager of Voice solutions, Honeywell. as possible. Enabling connectivity in the

amounts of technology on them. Today,

distribution centre can uncover opportunities

thousands of large distribution centres are

to greatly improve fulfilment operations, while

already reaping the benefits of this

dramatically increasing revenue.

technology. The good news is that such

A connected distribution centre can

large, complex distribution centres. Small to

connected technology is not only available to continuously monitor activities occurring in all

medium-sized distribution centres can also

fulfilment systems and processes and notify

significantly improve operations by taking

operators when issues arise, targets are not

advantage of such tools in a cost-efficient

met or errors are made, so that they can


make the necessary real-time adjustments

Bill Birnie: “Voice technology plays a key role in boosting efficiency and productivity in distribution centres by allowing workers to perform their tasks hands-free and eyesfree.�


he explosive growth of e-

and allocate resources more efficiently. Most

Today, there are more options for deploying

importantly, building a workforce that is more

voice systems so that smaller distribution

productive, more accurate and more flexible

centres are armed with the same powerful

to changing demands can significantly and

Voice technology as their larger counterparts.

positively impact operations, boost

As long as they take advantage of systems

performance and reduce costs. This is

that bring together the power of Voice with

critical, as distribution centres are struggling

the flexibility of modern mobile operating

today with finding, training and retaining

systems, they will be better equipped to

commerce and increasing

qualified employees. However, supporting

improve their operations as they drive their

consumer expectations for fast,

them with the right tools can ultimately

business forward.

accurate delivery has put

improve employee satisfaction and

tremendous pressure on retailers,


Small and medium enterprises can now more

distribution centres and logistics companies

efficiency and quickly deploy voice solutions,

to optimise their operations. As online

This is where guided work solutions such as

which can be tightly integrated with their

shopping, same-day deliveries and free

Voice systems can be critical to success.

existing enterprise resource planning (ERP)

returns by mail become the new normal,

Voice-directed solutions can be a game

platform. Coastal Pet Products, a

distribution centres will continue to face

changer in boosting productivity by

manufacturer and shipper of pet accessories,

unprecedented levels of pressure. As a result,

minimising paperwork that is often prevalent

moved away from paper-based picking

consumer expectations will only continue to

in smaller or less complex distribution

process in favour of voice. In addition to

evolve, as e-commerce sales in the US will

centres. Quite simply, when processes are

productivity improvements, the Voice

increase approximately 16% in 2018, to

paper-based, workers continuously need to

technology minimised the risk of errors and

exceed $526 billion, with projections that

interrupt their tasks to look at handheld

helped them achieve a 99.8% accuracy level.

these transactions will account for more than

checklists that often hamper productivity.

12% of US retail sales in 2020.

Accuracy is critical to meeting consumer expectations, especially during peak

Boosting efficiency and productivity Worker efficiency

Voice technology plays a key role in boosting

shopping seasons. The fact that nearly half

To address these challenges and stay

efficiency and productivity in distribution

(47%) of online shoppers globally report

competitive, retailers are considering several

centres by allowing workers to perform their

frustration with delivery is not surprising

strategies including opening smaller, more

tasks hands-free and eyes-free. At the same

considering that, according to a

nimble distribution centres to be closer to

time, it provides the added benefit of

Honeywell/YouGov survey, picking errors cost

consumers. In addition, distribution centres

improving worker satisfaction in their jobs by

distribution centres around the globe

need to find new ways to improve productivity

empowering them with the tools to be most

$400,000 a year on average. Voice

and enable workers to operate as efficiently

effective without forcing cumbersome

technology combined with software and





March 2019


MLIT Mar'19 Voice p28-31.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:27 Page 29

Cloud-based platforms can help distribution centres rapidly move inventory and reassign warehouse staff to different functions to minimise disruption and improve efficiency.

Quick training Distribution centres can also benefit from Voice technology when it comes to quickly training new and often inexperienced workers, swiftly bringing them up to speed on their processes. This is of critical importance, since the warehouse sector has an estimated 40% annual employee turnover rate according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, and the growth in the supply chain industry outpaces the labor pool by a ratio of six to one. Unless it’s managed properly, this essential training and onboarding operation can cause unnecessary downtime, which can be extremely costly during peak season. By contrast, with Voice technology, tasks such as picking can be performed with virtually no training since workers receive simple, real-time instructions from the back-end warehouse management system (WMS) via specialised headsets. In the case of Coastal Pets Products, the company simplified the

Every second counts

training process for its workers using Voice. An associate could be up and running on the new system in less than 25 minutes. n

Voice-driven workers aren’t just faster: they’re focused on what counts. Building voice into your distribution centre is one of the most effective ways to speed up operations. But your workers aren’t just faster – voice also enables you to rapidly scale your operations and redistribute labour where you need it most, giving you critical workflow agility. Find out what workflows look like when every second counts for more: Honeywell.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE Look closer at www.honeywellaidc.com/ vocollect

© 2018 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.


March 2019





MLIT Mar'19 Voice p28-31.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:15 Page 30

V OICE technology


Voice-enabled workflow solutions market to

reach over US$173 million in 2022 – VDC Research


he global market for Voiceenabled workflow solutions will reach over US$173 million in 2022, according to VDC Research. Thus far, Voice

solutions have been used to reliably support highly repetitive workflows where speed and the ability for workers to operate ‘hands free’ are critical. However, technical challenges have limited Voice enablement of B2B workflows to a small collection of niche applications. As solution providers build out advanced capabilities and adjacent solutions, the opportunity for Voice solutions looks increasingly promising. According to VDC, the warehousing and

Voice solutions are not pigeonholed to any one device type because the medium is a natural, easy-to-use way of optimising almost any workflow or technology.” – Pat Nolan, VDC.

logistics sector will continue to be a

Worldwide shipment forecasts for Voice-enabled devices by sector.

Voice solutions do not exist in a vacuum; they

easy-to-use way of optimising almost any

are now being used in conjunction with

workflow or technology,” said Nolan.

several other technologies to amplify their potential benefits. A majority of respondents

In addition to these established use cases,

to VDC’s survey reported that they are using

advances in automatic speech recognition

small form factors such as handheld barcode

technology have opened the door for AI-

scanners, smartphones and PDAs, as well as

powered digital assistants such as Alexa, Siri,

a variety of wearable and vehicle-mounted

Google Assistant and Bixby. Although initially

devices as voice-enabled systems. “Voice

or primarily intended for consumers, VDC

solutions are not pigeonholed to any one

states that enterprises are increasingly

device type because the medium is a natural,

looking for ways to integrate these

stronghold for Voice deployments.

conversational interfaces across a growing

“Warehousing and logistics was responsible

spectrum of use cases.

for 82% of the Voice market in 2017 and will still account for 79% of the market by 2022,”

Remaining competitive

said Pat Nolan, research associate of

In parallel, vendors are coming out with more

enterprise mobility at VDC.

robustly integrated solutions that incorporate data analytics and offer visibility into

Natural pairing

inventory, worker performance, and system

Warehousing applications and Voice solutions

performance. Organisations can then adjust

are a natural pairing since the most

and optimise the necessary workflows and

commonly supported workflows fall into

solution configurations to avoid bottlenecks,

categories like Voice picking and other

achieve greater throughput, and minimise

fulfilment processes. Still, the remaining

errors. These benefits are critically important

20% indicates that there are worthwhile

to supply chain operations vendors, and

opportunities in other sectors. With lower

organisations are eager to deploy them. As a

costs and enhanced capabilities,

result, vendors will need to develop data

more solution providers are attempting

analytics capabilities and improve upon their

to reach burgeoning sectors such as health care, retail and field service.





March 2019

digital assistants in order to remain

competitive in the future. n


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Digital business requires


integrated risk management

n 2019, organisational risks are turning

Successful organisations design a framework

route and shows progress, while the vehicle

into significant operational surprises, and

that seamlessly connects risks at the

enables you to reach your destination.

the frequency will only increase as digital

strategic, operational and IT levels. “To

Similarly, an integrated risk management

business requirements grow. There is no

understand the full scope of risk,

framework maps an organisation’s risk,

longer room for siloed risk management

organisations require a comprehensive view

metrics measure progress and systems drive

programs. Instead, security leaders must

across all business units and risk

an organisation to meet their goals.

focus on building integrated risk management

management functions, as well as key


business partners, suppliers and outsourced entities,” said Wheeler.

“Risk management programs mitigate the impact of uncertainty on business

Security and risk management leaders can take these four steps to develop an integrated risk management programme to bridge the gap between enterprise risk, IT/cybersecurity

performance,” said John A. Wheeler, senior

Why is integrated risk management important?

risk and digital risk for a more overall view of

director analyst, Gartner. “By 2021, more than

The integrated risk management solutions

operational risk:

50% of large enterprises will use an

market (including consulting services and

• Develop an effective framework that is

integrated risk management solution set to

implementation) will grow to $8 billion by

provide better decision-making capabilities,

2021. Digital organisations are prioritising the

up from approximately 30% today.”

need for risk management programmes.

influences the behavior and ability of

“Security and risk management leaders need

individuals to achieve the organisation’s

to evolve their risk thinking to a global


[subhead] What is integrated risk

unique to the organisation’s risk profile. • Employ metrics to identify how risk

management? Many organisations are good at domainspecific risk management, but struggle to harmonise the three key pillars of a successful security and risk management

Implementing an integrated risk management solution to meet the demands of digital transformation will move their organisation forward in a safe, profitable way.” – John A. Wheeler, Gartner.

programme – a strong framework, a solid set of metrics and flexible, integrated systems. Integrated risk management can remedy this challenge. Integrated risk management

context,” said Wheeler. “Implementing an

improves decision making and performance

integrated risk management solution to meet

design, implement and integrate risk

through an integrated view of how well an

the demands of digital transformation will

management systems.

organisation manages its unique set of risks.

move their organisation forward in a safe,

It’s a set of practices and processes

profitable way.”

supported by a risk-aware culture and enabling technologies.

Where do I start with integrated risk management?

Integrated risk management uses a holistic

Integrated risk management can be

analysis of internal and external risk factors.

compared to a road trip: Your GPS maps the


• Use a pace-layering methodology to

• Grow the maturity of an organisation’s risk management disciplines to mitigate

future digital business risks. n

March 2019





MLIT Mar'19 WMS p32-33.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:15 Page 32

Warehouse Management


Success story

TouchPath to install WMS system in global manufacturer Renold's new China operation

As the latest stage of its 12-country, 23-site ‘TouchWMS’ system rollout for global chain and gear manufacturer Renold plc, international supply chain solutions provider TouchPath is installing its multilingual warehouse management system in Renold’s new 39,600 sq m, 300employee China manufacturing plant


ouchWMS is already live in four Renold plants worldwide. Renold has a turnover of £183.4 million per annum and employs more than 2000 people worldwide. In Renold’s China chain manufacturing operation TouchWMS will integrate in real time with the company’s ‘Infor M3’ ERP system to manage all Renold’s factory processes. Commenting on the company’s global WMSERP, new technology investment strategy Renold group business systems director Sarah Cobb said: “There is a great deal of raw material movement in our business and we need to know where our inventory is at any

time – it boosts efficiency when you know exactly where the inventory is located that you need for a given operation. Our breadth and diversity demand good systems to underpin the business.” TouchWMS supports the full range of warehouse processes from goods receipt, guided put-away, task management, stock allocation and multi-zone wave picking, single order pick and pack or bulk order picking. Other processes that can be supported include automatic replenishment, load management, the generation of multi-lingual dispatch notes, and pallet manifests, plus

integration with a range of carrier consignment systems. TouchWMS can run stand-alone or integrated with all mainstream ERP and other supply chain and legacy systems. It is currently available in 11 languages. TouchPath’s international CEO David Myers, said: “TouchPath brings clarity and insight to company business processes. With a single touch organisations can capture essential shop floor data, manage warehouse processes and better control the whereabouts of their assets.” n

Beauty retailer is looking good thanks to new Snapfulfil Cloud warehouse management system


leading supplier of beauty and hairdressing products has smartened up its customer fulfilment after choosing the Snapfulfil Cloud WMS. Stockport based Alan Howard operates 25 stores and a thriving online mail order business. The company’s 80,000 sq ft warehouse stocks around 20,000 SKUs and, in addition to regular store deliveries, processes between 500 and 800 online orders a week.

Having experienced a period of rapid growth, Alan Howard found that its basic EPOS WMS was struggling to cope. Warehouse manager Nick Horsefield explained: “Our main problem was keeping a handle on stock availability. The old system only provided limited visibility based on out of date data and so we never really knew exactly how much of any line we had in stock at a given time. “The other challenge was the physical layout of the warehouse, which is spread across four separate buildings. Any warehouse management solution we introduced would 32




March 2019

need to be flexible enough to handle this unique situation.”

After reviewing the market, Horsefield and his team decided to implement the Snapfulfil Cloud WMS, which could be specifically programmed to meet Alan Howard’s fulfilment needs, as well as provide completely accurate live data on stock availability. Since going live, the Snapfulfil system has driven efficiency improvements of some 15 percent as well as enabled the management team to monitor productivity and establish ambitious yet achievable key performance indicators.

Nick Horsefield: “We’re fulfilling orders much more quickly and accurately since implementing Snapfulfil. It has given us vastly improved stock accuracy and integrity as well as the confidence to push forward with our plans to grow the mail order business.”

Horsefield added: “We’re fulfilling orders much more quickly and accurately since implementing Snapfulfil. It has given us vastly improved stock accuracy and integrity as well as the confidence to push forward with our plans to grow the mail order business.” Snapfulfil project manager, Sarah Hill, said: “The layout of the Alan Howard warehousing

operation meant this was a challenging brief that required a great deal of system configuration and testing. However, our unique configuration model, subscription model and flexible approach meant there was no up-front cost to Alan Howard and that we can now continue to fine tune the system to keep pace with the business as it grows.” n


MLIT Mar'19 WMS p32-33.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:15 Page 33


Are you asking the wrong question about WMS? Warehouse Management


If you are asking why you need a cloud-based WMS you might be asking the wrong question, writes Alex Mills, sales and marketing director, ProSKU.


any smaller and growing businesses see the management of their warehouses as a necessarily evil. Chances are that the business grew out of a great idea or some passion or expertise by the founder. It is unlikely that warehouse management is one of them. However, almost every new business soon comes to realise that managing stock, fulfilling customer orders or meeting manufacturing schedules is pretty important to keeping going and growing.

in their field and there won’t be much they haven’t seen over the years. Chances are that their systems (traditional or Cloud-based) already support all of the key (for which read common) warehouse processes and probably many more besides. That means they will be able to offer solutions for most businesses quickly and with little or no additional configuration or bespoke work.

That usually means choosing a WMS. One common initial consideration is that warehouse management needs to be kept inhouse, perhaps because the business wants to ‘own’ the complete process or maybe they want to protect their data. Both are valid, as many other reasons might be, but they will not necessarily override other prevailing business requirements. Maybe in the past there was little alternative, and this remains some of the thinking behind businesses’ decision to select a conventional hosted system. Nevertheless, the burdens placed on in-house infrastructure, expertise, resources and investment can make this type of solution prohibitive to all but the most well-funded of start-ups.

This is where Cloud-based solutions such as ProSKU come into focus. The best of these support all core warehouse processes as standard which means they can be introduced quickly into almost any warehouse operation. These applications are hosted in the Cloud and accessed by any suitable device, whether a desktop browser, tablet or smartphone. Customers simply log on from any location to use the application, but their own data is secure and segregated. This in itself offers some advantages over traditional hosted systems that tend to be bolted down so tightly that they can only be accessed while on the premises.

Many businesses also make their decisions based on the misapprehension that their storage, handling and picking requirements are so unique that the only solution that will meet their needs is fully bespoke. That can be an expensive decision. In practice, the vast majority of businesses have broadly similar requirements from their warehouse processes even if they give individual tasks different names (based on jargon from their own industry) or make or sell completely different types of product. From a warehouse management perspective, a pair of shoes in a box is no different to a book or a bottle of gin. The established WMS vendors are the experts


Supporting all core warehouse processes as standard

Another big advantage is the speed and simplicity of implementation. For most warehouses, all that is required to get started is to enter basic information about products and their physical locations. If this is already available electronically it can usually be cutand-pasted or uploaded in a common file format. In some cases, the basic processes can be up and running in a day or two and will probably represent a major step forward for the business. The ease of implementation and lack of bespoke configuration inherent to cloudbased WMS allows suppliers to adopt a radically different pricing model. Services are provided on a cost-per-user, number of

transactions, amount of data stored or some similar – and scalable – basis with no need for long term contracts because the supplier does not have to claw back their own investment in the customer. This make such solutions much more affordable for all businesses but especially those for whom the costs of a bespoke system are prohibitive. One of the most significant advantages of a Cloud-based system is the way it is upgraded. There is in effect just one entity of the underlying application running in the Cloud but with customer data segregated and secured. Crucially, this means that any modifications, upgrades and enhancements to the application are available to all users as soon as the developer releases them into the live environment. In other words, everyone has access to the very latest and most advanced version. The cost of these upgrades is effectively shared among all of the user base. There is little scope for bespoke configuration (beyond anything supported within the core application) because that would be prohibitively expensive. So, the question should be not “do I need a WMS?” but “why are we waiting to start saving costs and improving productivity with a Cloud-based WMS rather than waiting for a bespoke system with higher costs and few extra benefits?” n

March 2019





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Supply Chain


The green (last) mile – sustainability in parcel delivery By Matthew Robertson, Co-CEO, NetDespatch.


asting my eye over the predictions that the turn of the year brings always offers an interesting insight into which issues are gaining traction in the market. This year, alongside bold assertions for the way that technology – AI and automation in particular – will revolutionise delivery, I picked up signs that a somewhat less futuristic – but certainly future-focused – issue is beginning to have an impact: consumer concern for the environment. From packaging to postal services, the spotlight is certainly on sustainability. Every time we order a product, we kickstart a chain of events that will ultimately end with the parcel in our hands. Most of these actions have an environmental impact and with ethical consumerism growing in popularity, buyers are questioning the sustainability of their purchasing habits. Trend commentator Pam Danziger, of market research firm Canvas, predicts that 2019 will be the “year that responsible consumerism goes mainstream” as people choose to address the challenges of reality rather than escaping from them. Certainly, over the peak delivery season it’s hard to deny the inefficiency of multiple parcels arriving from different retailers with a steady stream of couriers arriving at the door. So how can the delivery industry up its sustainable game and ensure that more of its miles are greener?

Back to basics While it’s exciting to look at some of the technology possibilities for reducing environmental impact, the most immediate and biggest improvement the industry can make is improving the success rate of firsttime delivery. Getting the parcel to the 34




March 2019

customer in the right place, on time, every time is the ambition of the whole industry, but we remain a long way from 100% success. We recently worked with IMRG on its Valuing Home Delivery report. This highlighted the fact that the cost associated with parcels that fail to reach the customer at the first time of asking is a staggering £1.6 billion. Failed

all else really meets customer needs or if the higher percentage of failed deliveries outweighs the benefits?

Revitalising returns Of course, even when the product does get there first time, it doesn’t always suit the

Responding in a positive way to government pressure is going to be important for business as well as the environment. Retailers and carriers alike need to get a handle on sustainability as it is becoming a significant driver of both regulation and consumer activity.”

deliveries set in motion a further chain of events involving repeat attempts or customer journeys to collect from depots – all of which have environmental, as well as financial, impact. Improving delivery accuracy therefore reduces this impact and is the logical place to start. As we suggested in the report, retailers need to examine the service they offer and work out whether the drive for speed above

customer. In fact, the volume of returns is thought to be growing at 10-20% per year – and returns also have an environmental impact through transportation and unwanted products ending up in landfill. I was interested to read that ZigZag Global, a software company that specialises in helping retailers optimise the return, consolidation and resale of products, has recently secured a multi-


MLIT Mar'19 SupplyChain p34-39.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:16 Page 35


million-pound venture capital deal from a fund that identifies opportunities to drive financial value creation within the circular economy. The software reduces parcel journeys associated with returns by 65% by spotting opportunities to repack and redistribute parcels, reducing the waste and CO2 associated with the process. This is a positive sign that businesses are seeing the commercial, as well as reputational opportunities of sustainability.

Greener transport and automated delivery vehicles There’s undoubtedly a trend towards greener transport. John Lewis recently announced that it will be phasing out all of its diesel trucks in favour of low carbon alternatives. Meanwhile Hermes is introducing electric vans nationwide after a successful London trial. This trend should continue as diesel engines are phased out, EV infrastructure improves and carriers are prompted to innovate through necessity. At the last mile end of the scale we saw more robot delivery innovations at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where zero


emission hydrogen-powered bikes were on show – a good option for couriers. Another innovation unveiled at CES was Continental Corporation’s ‘delivery dogs’. This sees a driverless electric vehicle travel city streets, stopping to unleash its cargo of delivery robots – designed in the shape of dogs – which drop items at homes and offices. This approach makes a lot of sense. Robots and electric vehicles are already in use in the first mile, picking and posting items in warehouses, why not get them doing the same at the other end of the journey? At this stage such delivery tactics have the advantage of novelty, and if they’re emissionfree, even better to appeal to eco-conscious purchasers.

Government pressure drives innovation While improved reputations and efficiency benefits are the carrot encouraging us to improve delivery’s environmental performance, the flipside is the stick of regulatory compliance. Government regulators are turning their attention to the environmental impact of our consumer habits and the businesses that fulfil them. The French government is considering introducing

Supply Chain

a tax on e-commerce deliveries and London will introduce a new ultra-low emission zone in July this year, which will expand to cover the area within the North and South Circular roads by 2021. This is another factor likely to drive innovation as companies aim to meet their obligations and limit the cost of compliance, while still providing the fast, efficient service customers demand. Responding in a positive way to government pressure is going to be important for business as well as the environment. Retailers and carriers alike need to get a handle on sustainability as it is becoming a significant driver of both regulation and consumer activity. That makes it a board level issue. Just having the ability to report effectively on the company’s environmental performance – something many organisations struggle with – is a step in the right direction. From successfully sorting out the basics to innovative blue-sky thinking, green issues are set to rise up the industry agenda as consumers and regulators start to examine the environmental impact of delivery more closely. As Kermit the Frog once said “it’s not easy being green” but, easy or not, it’s becoming essential. n March 2019





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Supply Chain


Integrated technology playing critical part in transport planning as concerns around driver shortage grow Logistics operations are increasingly turning to integrated technology solutions to overcome a host of transport planning pressures, while at the same time the driver and general skills shortage continues to weigh on the supply chain sector. These were two of the key findings from Paragon Software Systems’ annual UK customer survey, which was completed by more than 100 industry professionals.


he survey found that almost all respondents (97%) are using some type of telematics solution and almost half (45%) are interfacing this technology with their routing and scheduling software. Meanwhile, the lack of drivers and other skilled workers remains the biggest challenge facing the industry for the third year running according to over half of the survey’s respondents (55%). This represents a 20% increase when compared to last year’s results (46%) and a significant 62% rise from 2017 (34%), suggesting a growing concern amongst businesses within the marketplace. Other notable issues highlighted were rising transport costs (13%), Brexit (12%), and urban transport restrictions (7%). The 2019 survey results showed that technology is now playing a critical role within road transport to gain added visibility and control. Most fleets are now using vehicle tracking (95%) with over half (52%) also utilising electronic proof of delivery. Other popular solutions include 3G/4G vehicle cameras (40%), live temperature monitoring (25%) and workforce management apps (20%). Transport operations integrating these systems with their routing and scheduling software are doing so to take advantage of real-world data that supports real-time performance monitoring and continuous improvement.

Meeting changing customer demand Demand for more accurate time windows (44%) was again pinpointed as the biggest





March 2019

transport planning pressure followed by the ability to compare planned routes with what is actually happening on the road (39%) and the need to maximise the utilisation of available drivers (34%). Meanwhile, almost threequarters of the respondents said they have had to adapt their service in the past year to meet changing customer demand. In particular, the provision of tighter time windows (31%); ETA on the day of delivery (28%); more frequent communications (22%); and proof of delivery (20%) were the most cited changes. With transport planning becoming increasingly complicated, almost half of respondents (49%) stated that their planning resource had changed in the past 12 months, with 22% becoming more centralised and 16% growing their team. A large proportion

(78%) felt they would significantly or slightly benefit from having greater automation in the transport office, while a number (9%) had already taken steps to fully automate their operation.

Continuing challenges William Salter, managing director of Paragon Software Systems commented: “The results of our survey suggest the road transport sector faces another tough year with a number of continuing challenges that are compounded by the current economic and political uncertainty. As a result, logistics operations are looking to integrated technology solutions that deliver real benefits in terms of better resource utilisation, improved customer communications and real-time visibility of fleet performance." n


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Supply Chain

4 factors that will impact the future supply chain


n 10 years, fewer workers will be tasked to support a growing population of nonworkers, and labour supply will shift to undeveloped regions of the world that are less educated and less technically skilled. Planning for this talent shift is just one area on which supply chain leaders will need to focus to build a successful future supply chain. Supply chain leaders want to make the right business decisions and invest in the right technology to prepare their organisation for the future. However, there are so many factors to consider and so many unknown variables that “getting it right” seems almost impossible. “We expect that the supply chain of the future will undergo a major transformation process,” says Steven Steutermann, managing vice president at Gartner. “At the end of this process, supply chains will self-regulate, act ‘on their own’ and take appropriate actions. As a result, it will increase the capabilities of humans well beyond what is known today.” Gartner predicts that four factors will converge as we move toward this transformation.

Factor No. 1: The labour supply is shrinking The world labour supply hit an inflection point in 2012 when the proportion of non-workingage population growth became greater than the working-age population. This trend will continue and will have a major impact on supply chain talent planning. Programs to attract and bind talent are a necessity.

will rapidly change over the next couple of years, especially when it comes to supply chain use cases such as demand planning and order-to-cash processes. “Today, supply chain leaders are using machine learning to sense daily demand down to customer lanes and handle daily tasks,” says Steutermann. “In the future, AI will thrive in supply chain environments because it removes complexity, automates daily decisions, predicts orders and reduces costs.”

Factor No. 3: Virtual is the new reality The carbonated beverage industry uses image technology to understand out-of-stocks and retail store conditions in near-real time. 3D digital products, such as 3D printing, enable on-demand production and personalisation. These are two examples of virtual capabilities that will continue to emerge and impact the supply chain. Supply chain leaders should watch for digital twins, a technology that will redefine supply chain models. Digital twins create a digital representation of not just physical products or assets, but also process characteristics. As such, digital twins are perfect for experimentation and modelling to test for critical variables.

Factor No. 4: Circular is the mainstream economy The traditional economy is linear: Take resources, make a product, use the product, dispose of the waste. The future looks different, as avoidable waste production will be considered unacceptable by society. This means that supply chain leaders have to embrace a circular economy in which a used product is returned, recycled and then reused in some way. “The goal is to deliver customer value with minimal waste,” Steutermann says. “For such a system to be efficient, it must be automated, and this is where the previous factors come into play. Using technologies such as digital twins and AI in an automated fashion enables the supply chain to execute against circulareconomy principles by acting on its own and ultimately becoming its own ecosystem.” Join the world's most important gathering of supply chain leaders: A new era: converging digital and physical supply chains, 17-19 June 2019, Barcelona, Spain. https://10times.com/gartner-supply-chainexecutive-conference

One of the most important skills of the future supply chain workforce will be digital dexterity. The ability to adapt to technology at a rapid pace and the readiness to use advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) in decision making will be crucial in an increasingly automated environment.

Factor No. 2: Machines are intelligent The full potential of AI has not yet arrived. This


March 2019





MLIT Mar'19 SupplyChain p34-39.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:16 Page 38

Supply Chain


Putting the WOW in the checkout experience Embracing technology is a prerequisite for success in the modern retail environment. There are many ways in which retailers can deliver a new in-store experience – and while some retailers will undoubtedly look to emulate the human touch free Amazon Go model, for many others, human interaction is the primary and fundamental component of a positive bricks and mortar experience, writes Craig Summers, UK managing director, Manhattan Associates.


rom hiking boots to party shoes, it is still the shared experience of the Store Associate and customer that will remain an essential component of the in-store engagement for many. Each retailer will need to understand the optimal model for its customer base, offering the best mix of touch free interaction and empowered Store Associate.

With Cloud-based mPOS, there is no technology barrier to delivering a new and positive retail experience – the challenge is to envisage the right customer model. The checkout of the future must be whatever the customer wants it to be, at any time. Released from the shackles of legacy technology, retailers now have enormous opportunities to rethink and reconsider the in-store experience and reimagine the customer journey.

that is not in store but can be sent from another location either to that store or to the customer’s preferred address. An effective and efficient checkout process also needs to automatically and effectively handle coupons, apply the correct promotional pricing, capture loyalty information and so on. But it will also be integrated directly with core operational systems to provide Store Associates with real-time inventory information and customer history.

The question for retailers is how and where to deliver that point of sale. Should be it the fast, touch-free approach enabled by kiosks or self-service? Or should it be provided by a Store Associate? And if the latter, how and where within the store should that interaction occur?

Man versus machine Clearly for many retailers, an Amazon Go approach appeals. It maximises technology

Getting the basics right The checkout is the point of sale – but it is not a standalone function; it needs to be embedded within the overall service proposition. Customers don’t want to wait in line; nor are they willing to undertake multiple separate transactions to fulfil instore needs. They want one, simple and frictionless transaction that covers an instore purchase, a click & collect order, a product return, even ordering another item





March 2019


MLIT Mar'19 SupplyChain p34-39.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:16 Page 39


Supply Chain

to minimise costly Store Associates and provides customers with a fast, frictionless experience: the checkout is achieved simply by walking out of the store with automatically scanned items and payment taken from the pre-authorised account. This is not, of course, a model that has generic appeal – aside from the fact that it is massively unprofitable today and unachievable for the majority of organisations. Forget tagging technology and customer identification solutions, right now many retailers can’t even provide their Store Associates with a single view of available inventory. But there are undoubtedly aspects of this frictionless experience that should be embedded within every retail model – and a core component of this process will be the checkout. Whether a customer is looking for speed or experience – or both – the checkout is key. Retailers have spent over a decade optimising the ‘buy button’ online, and the checkout is effectively that ‘buy button’ moment in store. The challenge for retailers is to create a checkout in store that effectively masks the growing complexity of the retail model from both the customer and Store Associate. Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) is an obvious solution, providing Store Associates with the ability to close the deal with customers anywhere in store, yet, just 42% of retailers have mPOS in place.

Retail as a Service Retailers have been massively constrained by the incredibly outdated legacy solutions deployed in-store. Hard wired, monolithic systems based on fixed telephone lines for payment, these solutions are both over specified and under delivering. The latest generation of Cloud-based technology supports deployments anywhere – in store, on traditional Windows terminals or on mobile iOS and Android devices, delivers real-time access to global network availability and ensures that high-speed checkout is available even if the network connection is disrupted. A Store Associate armed with a mobile device that provides real time access to inventory across the organisation and ensures the aisle


Craig Summers: “It is only now, thanks to the power of the Cloud, of the mobile app, of rich POS solution functionality that is seamlessly integrated with other store and enterprise systems, that retailers have the chance to break away from the constraints of their legacy technology and reconsider the entire store concept.”

is always endless – and the ability to order those products – can embark upon a meaningful customer dialogue anywhere within the store. Critically, with a mobile solution that seamlessly supports the checkout process whenever the customer is ready and through whatever payment format the customer prefers, the store ‘buy button’ is optimised. Whether a traditional ‘card present’ payment process or a customer’s own mobile payment app, there should be no break in the engagement to achieve the seamless in-store check-out that consumers crave.

Conclusion It is only now, thanks to the power of the Cloud, of the mobile app, of rich POS

solution functionality that is seamlessly integrated with other store and enterprise systems, that retailers have the chance to break away from the constraints of their legacy technology and reconsider the entire store concept. Does the retailer even need a static desk anymore or can all Store Associates be mobile? Will the customer base respond well to this model – or does the retailer have a core demographic that wants a choice of both traditional and new? With confidence in the technology and an ability to deliver diverse customer services within the store, a retailer can begin to rethink the experience, to experiment with new models for customer engagement and truly offer an efficient and personalised service with a bit of ‘wow’ thrown in. n

March 2019





MLIT Mar'19 ADC p40-41.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:16 Page 40



AI in business – trends and predictions AI is already being implemented in businesses around the world, and while worries persist over whether robots will be taking over the workplace, some are predicting that it will actually improve and even create jobs in the future. From devices in our homes to mobile apps, AI has already made its way into our daily lives. The workplace is no exception and AI has already helped businesses make better use of data and streamline processes. According to John Williams, head of marketing at Instant Offices here are a few AI trends you should be aware of for your business:

lot of hype around chat bots replacing human

Artificial intelligence on Big Data

Automation via robotics

Businesses are starting to use data to make

Robotics Process Automation makes use of AI

be hosting more of them in the coming years.

decisions with the help of algorithms and real-

to complete repetitive tasks at huge volumes,

The aim is to help businesses build bots on

time methods. AI assists with this by breaking

which can range from a simple business

the chat app so they can hold automated

down excessive data to help businesses

transaction to complicated processing and

chats with people, which will eventually lead

make use of it. AI also uses machine learning

presenting of data. This system will save

to more sales, bookings and brand

and deep learning to improve predictive

companies time and money as Robotic


analytics, allowing businesses to offer

Process Automation is able to complete a task

customers exactly what they are looking for.

quicker and more accurately than an

Bots are essentially cheaper and quicker to

employee. In this way, businesses will save

make than apps, with many industry experts

Voice assistants

jobs after it was announced Messenger would


saying that bots will take over from apps in the near future. Many of these bots are able to

Some of the most common AI technologies used in our daily lives are Alexa, Siri. Similarly, digital assistants using voice commands will soon make their way into the office. Businesses will benefit from this as it will improve employees’ understanding of applications and data and how to best use it.

Mobile users are looking for a more customised experience, which companies want to give them in order to stay competitive. The role of the mobile app developer will, therefore, need to change as it will tie in closely with AI so that it can process data and learn from users.”

Mobile apps

A recent initiative from NPR shows what the

carry out tasks traditionally done by humans,

approximate chances are that your job will

including the following jobs:

As data becomes a driving force in

one day be automated. As part of the

businesses, so will the mobile app

initiative, researchers looked at a wide range

• Customer service agents

development space transform to complement

of jobs and scored them based on nine

• Fast-food servers

this growth. Mobile users are looking for a

possible traits, including the social

• Personal assistants

more customised experience, which

intelligence required to perform the job, being

• Social media managers

companies want to give them in order to stay

personally required to help others, and

competitive. The role of the mobile app

whether a job requires negotiation.

Best small business apps

developer will, therefore, need to change as it will tie in closely with AI so that it can process data and learn from users.

Businesses have been using apps for a

Could chat bots replace jobs?

while to improve productivity and

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg fuelled a


IT March 2019



organisation and streamline processes. Here


MLIT Mar'19 ADC p40-41.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:16 Page 41


are some of the most popular apps being used in businesses.

Finance and accounting apps • Gusto • Quickbooks • FreshBooks • Wave

Communication apps • Addappt • Fuze • Pushover


Mobile payment apps • Paypal Here

• Expensify

• Square

• Dropbox • MailChimp

Bots are essentially cheaper and quicker to make than apps, with many industry experts saying that bots will take over from apps in the near future. Many of these bots are able to carry out tasks traditionally done by humans.”

Time management apps

• Polaris Office While AI will definitely take over a few human jobs, it will also create new jobs. The role of computer scientist will be in high demand, while new roles will be created to run the AI, including engineers, accountants, and retail analysts. People will also be needed to prepare the data for the AI to process and to train employees on how to use this new technology.

• Slack • Skype

Other favourites

Organisation apps • Asana

The presence of AI will grow in the workplace, and while creating new jobs, organisations

• Proven

need to realise that the real challenge will be

• Rescuetime

• BoxMeUp

finding candidates to take over these new

• My Minutes

• Evernote

• OmniFocus

• Trello

• Tripit

• Kanbanflow


roles. n

March 2019





MLIT Mar'19 Printing & Labelling p42-45.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:17 Page 42

Printing & Labelling


3D printing is now driving the sustainability agenda


ritics of 3D printing, or additive

However, it is also true that early additive

leverage the growing options for recyclable

manufacturing, have long cited

manufacturing techniques, particularly for top

filaments throughout the production cycle –

the technology’s reliance on

end industrial products, are very energy

whilst also gaining the economic benefits that

plastic filament as the primary

intensive. In addition, its reliance on plastic

are essential to competitive yet sustainable

print material, and it would

filament – many of which cannot be recycled

operational strategies.

seem that – with the global focus on reducing

– has enabled sceptics to argue that the

plastic wastage – they have a point.

societal, political, economic, and

The low cost and footprint of 3D printers is

environmental impacts of the technology have

also, in my opinion, providing a chance to

Or do they? Has 3D printing now reached a

radically change the way products are

not yet been studied extensively.

manufactured and delivered – especially for

maturity level where it can not only support the sustainability agenda, but actively drive it?

But both the technology and the industry have

spare parts. Rather than manufacturing in

From on demand local product manufacture

evolved hugely in recent years. Filaments are

bulk in the Far East and transporting at huge

that is set to eradicate huge swathes of an

getting stronger, resolutions are improving,

environmental cost to Europe for expensive

energy sapping international supply chain to

and a wider variety of materials can be

storage within a warehouse, using a 3D

global collaboration on innovative products

printed with additive manufacturing, including

printer parts can be created on demand. This

and the adoption of recyclables at every

metals. The result has been a raft of

is already being explored within difficult to

stage of the process from concept to delivery,

innovations in areas such as airplane and

access locations such as oil rigs (with obvious

3D printing is heralding a new era of

engine manufacture where the development

benefits) and fleets such as the Dutch navy

of lighter components (light-weighting) has

3D printing spare parts on the go.

sustainable, energy efficient production.

enabled very significant reductions in energy More critically, Paul Croft, director of

consumption, providing considerable support

Reducing the energy consumption associated

3DGBIRE and Ultimaker GB and founder of

in meeting targets for cutting fossil fuel usage.

with mass production, transport and

Local on demand

additive manufacturing could and should

distribution by embracing local, on demand

the Create Education project argues, the portability and low cost of 3D printers is now opening the door to the next generation of

deliver very significant long-term benefits and

innovative thinkers who will use the

It is the way in which additive manufacturing

is a model that plays strongly into the

technology in tandem with tools such as

can be deployed, however, that is

sustainability agenda.

Artificial Intelligence to create extraordinary

fundamentally changing ideas about

solutions to many of the pressing

sustainability and putting 3D printing at the

environmental issues:

front of the sustainability agenda. Desktop 3D printers are helping small companies

Collaboration and agility The other fundamental and increasingly

Additive value

prototype and manufacture at low costs with

essential benefit of this model is the agility it

increasing quality while industrial 3D printers,

brings. Just consider the speed with which

3D printing has provoked excitement and

once almost exclusively used for prototyping,

the food industry is being forced to respond

trepidation in equal measure. Proponents of

are being rolled out on production lines.

to the recent outcry about the use of plastics

the technology have cited a world of new

Furthermore, collaboration is being enabled

within supermarkets. From eradicating black,

possibilities for all industries, lowered

globally through the creation of additive

unrecyclable plastic food trays to embracing

transportation costs and environmental

manufacturing standards, providing a chance

compostable bags for loose fruit and

impacts, reduced waste, and minimised

for organisations of all sizes to cost effectively

vegetables, these developments are

reliance on corporations by enabling the

innovate and work together.

demanding innovative thinking and unprecedented change that will affect the

maker movement. Certainly, additive manufacturing demands significant less raw

Critically this standardisation is driving the

products than traditional subtractive

creation of filament that can be used at every

manufacturing processes.

stage of the process, from prototype through

The adoption of local on-demand manufacture

to production, enabling companies to

backed up by effective collaboration that





March 2019

entire supply chain.


MLIT Mar'19 Printing & Labelling p42-45.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:17 Page 43


allows large companies and small innovators to work closely together will be increasingly

Inspiring the future

Printing & Labelling

homes produced via 3D printing, and is also expected to reduce costs and any potential

essential to addressing the sustainability

3D printing is a technology that is enabling

environmental damage by minimising the

challenges we have created over the past

people to think differently, providing a chance

quantity of cement used in construction.

century. The innovation currently occurring

for organisations and individuals to

within filament production is a case in point,

collaborate and be innovative about how

There are so many motivated individuals who

with manufacturers taking waste plastic from

materials are used, when and where. There is

are now using 3D printing to make positive

traditional subtractive manufacturing to create

also a chance to give the younger generation

changes, to demonstrate how the world can

a filament that can be successfully 3D printed

access not only to the technology but also to

address its sustainability challenges. The fact

– essentially creating value from a waste

encourage them to think on a broader

is that 3D printing is not the problem: it is a


societal, sustainable, environmental level; to

mature, portable and accessible global

inspire them to make essential changes in the

technology that is providing a chance to solve


our problems. Creating a sustainable global

AI – such as the use of a robotic arm to print

Just consider the amazing Project Seafood,

industry is set to play a key role in inspiring,

incredibly complex designs in a fraction of the

where a young Swiss pair travelled along the

motivating and empowering the next

time, making 3D printing at scale possible -

Mediterranean coastline of Spain collecting

generation of thinkers with the confidence and

and processes are set to be optimised in a

household plastic waste from beaches and

ability to reconsider the way world’s resources

way that humans simply could not have

transforming it into usable 3D printed objects

are utilised and provide them with the ability

envisaged: the new solutions that are being

– all from the back of a camper van. Or

to make essential changes.

developed to reduce wastage and increase

Project Milestone in Eindhoven, Netherlands,

reuse are incredibly exciting.

which, in 2019, will see the first habitable

Add to this the incredible developments that

world will take new thinking – the 3D printing

are occurring from combining 3D printing with

March 2018






MLIT Mar'19 Printing & Labelling p42-45.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:17 Page 44

Printing & Labelling


Increasing IT efficiency through effective print management

Any software or innovative practice that makes an IT department more efficient should be welcomed in an organisation. However, print management is one area where this impact on efficiency often goes unnoticed, according to Y Soft Corporation, the enterprise office solution provider.


rint management and document capture solutions are often praised for their ability to make organisations more costefficient, productive, and for increasing document security. While these advantages are clear, businesses should also consider how these solutions can make an organisation more efficient and therefore free up time for IT staff to work on other innovative projects.

Minimising tasks James Turner, regional sales manager at Y Soft, commented: “By using one platform, one interface and one contract for both print management and document capture, the tasks for IT teams are minimised. Managing users, devices and obtaining data through scheduled reports enable the IT team to be productive and efficient. In addition, Cloud infrastructure or partial Cloud/partial on-premise for print services also provides the additional advantage of relieving IT infrastructure overhead and resources that can be applied to other high-value projects. One example of an issue which takes up the time of IT staff is when employees wish to print on local printers while working in another office. Typically, when an employee visits another office, they need to fill out an IT help desk ticket to get access to required printers and in a large organisation, this problem is scaled multiple times a day, every day.





March 2019

Driving further IT innovation Turner added: “An effective print management solution should be able to grant employees access to any printer in the company network without IT intervention, instantly freeing up the time of IT teams as they spend less time on processing help desk tickets. This in turn enables those IT employees to turn their attention towards driving further innovation in IT, such as focusing on wider digital transformation projects.

process print jobs themselves, with minimal need for direct intervention from the IT department, who often feel as though they’re firefighting issues and maintaining

An effective print management solution should be able to

grant employees access to any printer in the company network without IT intervention, instantly freeing up the time of IT teams as they spend less time on processing help desk tickets.” – James Turner, Y Soft. “Another area spent on IT resources is managing mobile printing. While supporting the company’s BYOD initiatives are important, security of print documents is also important. Organisations should therefore also look for solutions that enable them to provide the mobile convenience for employees and the security for IT teams.”

Firefighting Turner concluded: “Core to any print management system should be a commitment to helping employees to

their organisation’s current IT state and technology. “There is currently a huge focus on IT teams, and they are under increasing pressure to deliver innovation and value. With the right everyday solutions in place, such as an effective print management and document capture solution, IT staff will be given a great deal more time to focus on proactively improving the IT infrastructure, focusing on digital transformation projects and finding ways to make IT better for everyone.” n


MLIT Mar'19 Printing & Labelling p42-45.qxp_IBC publications 08/03/2019 11:17 Page 45

Product News

Printing & Labelling

ILS showcasing pallet labelling system for beating the cold

Pallet labelling technology that can operate in sub-zero temperatures was on show at the Empack Exhibition (NEC Birmingham) recently, where Industrial Labelling Systems (ILS) promoted the latest in high performance, labour-saving solutions suitable for harsh conditions.


LS, the sole UK distributor of Evolabel’s print and apply applications, demonstrated the FlexWipe pallet labeller, versatile and accurate equipment that can perform equally well at a freezing minus 20 degrees Celsius as at normal room temperature. The company also displayed a Quicktamp box labeller and Blow Vac Non-Contact box labeller. FlexWipe, an advanced, smart system that can meet the demands from food & drink manufacturers for accurate labelling of pallets in different environments, was put through its paces on the company’s stand, where the ILS team was on hand to discuss the other long-term benefits of this extreme-temperature beating technology. In addition to a labelling solution that can take employees out of the cold, ILS also showcased equipment for the logistics market that helps to speed the flow of goods through the supply chain, helping to eliminate bottlenecks in the labelling process.

100x200mm with the D43 or T43 printers. Its patented 3D designed applicator plate with intelligent integrated vacuum injectors and blow nozzle can accurately apply a label up to 200mm away.

Empack provides a great

platform for us to showcase advanced labelling technology for extreme conditions that is now available in the UK. Evolabel’s world-class equipment is suitable across all sectors and can provide the lowest cost of ownership.” – Denis Brett, ILS. The flexibility and robust build of ILS’s range of label applicators make them

ideal for frozen and chilled conditions as well as remote locations. The equipment also offers maximum life out of Printhead and Platen Rollers, meaning the storage of spares can be substantially reduced, saving customers money. Denis Brett, managing director of ILS, said: “We pride ourselves on delivering transparent solutions that customers find invaluable. Empack provides a great platform for us to showcase advanced labelling technology for extreme conditions that is now available in the UK. Evolabel’s world-class equipment is suitable across all sectors and can provide the lowest cost of ownership.” The various technology available from ILS can be installed as part of an automatic packing line, or as a standalone solution. The business also provides a full after sales support service in the UK and Ireland and dial-in remote app support. n

Quicktamp box labeller is a fast and flexible applicator developed by Evolabel in Sweden that can handle packages of all dimensions – an ideal solution for 3PL companies and the busy distribution environment of e-commerce firms, where the need for quick turnaround times is paramount. Also on display was the Blow Vac NonContact box labeller. This applicator allows contact-free application of labels up to 200x100mm for the T63 printer or up to


March 2019







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