Page 1

MAY 2011


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


FMCG/CONSUMER DURABLES/ELECTRICALS: Recipe for success ERP/MRP: Clearing the information pipeline FORECAST/PLAN: The perfect S&OP remedy ADC: Vehicle-mounted for multiple logistics applications WMS: Innovative new material handling solutions for retailers SUPPLY CHAIN: Prevent old stock from draining your working capital MAY 2011

PRINT & LABEL: Ease of use and service

www.logisticsit.com 13th Annual Supply Chain and Logistics Summit 2011, 14th - 16th June 2011 Germany - register today at www.scleurope.com/offer and join our Supply Chain and Logistics Summit Linked In group



May 2011


Seeing clear advantages in the Cloud The Cloud is an IT service category that has received reams of press coverage in recent memory, but the big question has been: will it really be embraced by business sectors such as manufacturers, logistics professionals and retailers? Well, if recent research by Pearlfinders is anything to go by the answer is firmly in the affirmative camp. According to Pearlfinders, Q1 2011 saw a massive leap in the popularity of Cloud computing. Of the 212 executives interviewed in 2011 with a requirement for external support, 42.0 per cent expressed an interest in Cloud solutions. This has increased from 12.2 per cent in Q4 2010.

Acceptance of Cloud computing as a viable, secure alternative to locallyhosted services may be driven, in part, by the Coalition Government's decision to push forward with the G-Cloud project. This effort to share services across Whitehall departments, led by the Cabinet Office, is part of an ambition to slash ÂŁ3.5 billion from the public sector's IT bill by 2013.

And demand for Cloud computing in both the Industry/Manufacturing and the Professional/Business Services sector seems to have rebounded from a slow Q4. Security concerns have lessened compared to last quarter. Now, the remaining barriers to Cloud computing adoption seem to relate to the practicalities of its use; ensuring sufficient bandwidth in remote locations, and making sure working practices shift to ensure ROI from the investment.

According to Pearlfinders, the Industry/Manufacturing sector had the greatest number of Cloud computing opportunities in Q1 (17.2 per cent of projects). Here, executives are beginning to consider the potential for Cloud-hosted ERP and business intelligence (BI) applications. The second most popular industry was the Public Sector, followed by Professional/Business Services.

Ed Holden Editor

So, the Cloud model would appear to be on the rise. This quarter has seen executives concern themselves less with the perceived security threats that have often been referenced in the past as a key barrier to adoption. And although some reservations remain, an ever increasing level of acceptance and confidence in all things Cloud-related seems to suggest that the momentum is hardly about to run out of steam now.



May 2011



IT May 2011



CONTENTS Manufacturing and Logistics IT May 2011

FMCG Focus 5

George Wilkinson

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

Special Technology Report 8

Editor: Ed Holden

Planning & Forecasting

Contributors: Danny Halim, JDA Software

Manufacturing 16

Radius Systems implements K3’s Syspro with DataRapt to clear the information pipeline ANM drives expansion with rapid 123insight ERP implementation

Publisher: Dean Taylor

ACDC Lighting appoints Epicor to put growth in the spotlight

Advertising: Alex Prodromou

Sage and Talend form partnership to boost Sage ERP X3 interoperability performance

Designer: Ian Curtis, First Sight Graphics Production: Carolyn Pither


Circulation: Sarah Schofield IT Manager: Peter West


Preactor and QAD prove recipe for success for Aunt Bessie’s Procter & Gamble tames inventory with Logility

Accounts: Katherine Saward

Broner Metals completes tracking & order scheduling project for ArcelorMittal Galati Demand Solutions: Everlast builds a championship company with new product lines Published by: Interactive Business

CSC: Taking sharper business and operational control with Integrated Business Planning

Communications Ltd, Latimer House, 189 High Street, Potters Bar, Herts EN6 5DA, UK

Ortec: Planning for customer diversification TXT: The perfect S&OP remedy Seiki Systems provides increased machining capacity for the Creative Group

Tel: +44 (0) 1707 664200 Fax: +44 (0) 1707 664800

Email (publishing): info@logisticsit.com Email (editorial): editor@ibcpub.com Printed by: The Magazine Printing Company plc, www.magprint.co.uk

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LXE introduces the Thor vehicle-mount computer



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Supply Chain


ByBox: Prevent old stock from draining your working capital Columbus IT: Taking advantage of the manufacturing growth JDA: Investing in growth BASF selects Barloworld SCS supply chain modelling software

Printing & Labelling



Vanderlande demonstrates new material handling solutions for retailers at CeMAT 2011

Swiss Coop buys Citizen printers Cognex makes permanent pit stop at Silverstone Printronix launches first family of line matrix printers under Tallygenicom brand





May 2011

FMCG Focus

George Wilkinson

Keeping the presses rolling Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with Tina Carswell, managing director, and Colin Barnes, supply chain manager at leading bakeware manufacturer George Wilkinson about the company’s IT portfolio, including the system at the heart of its daily operations – K3’s Syspro ERP solution. ake a wide range of products, half produced by your own manufacturing facility, half imported from specialist manufacturers in the Far East, the need to react to specific client demands and seasonal changes in the end customer market, and always make sure you get the right product, in the right number, to the right place at the right time. This is exactly what the UK’s leading bakeware manufacturer, George Wilkinson, consistently does to maintain its number one position in the bakeware, wine rack and microwave cookware market.

company can meet its commitments to its customer base of approximately 400 accounts.


Meeting customers’ requirements Challenges abound in manufacturing and its supply chain and George Wilkinson has to meet several. “The greatest challenge to us is to manage our huge product range and make

From its base in Burnley, George Wilkinson designs and manufactures its baking tins and ancillary products. The company has over 2000 product lines, which adds up to over 18 million items going through the factory gate each year. Manufacturing at this scale involves a mountain of associated data, all of which requires automation and management. For George Wilkinson, Syspro ERP from K3 Business Technology group cures the data management headache and ensures that the


The speed with which we can react to customer demands/market changes has evolved us into a very agile business.” – Tina Carswell, George Wilkinson.

sure that our customers get exactly what they need, exactly when they need it,” said Tina Carswell, George Wilkinson’s managing director. “Essentially, the production and supply chain requirements, together with warehouse stockholding, are of paramount

Colin Barnes: Meeting the challenges.

importance to our production planning. Syspro ERP provides this information, and is a huge improvement on our previous system.” There are two main parts to George Wilkinson’s operations: manufacturing (on two sites and a number of subcontractors) and importing products from suppliers in the Far East. “Syspro ERP balances the two sides of the business effectively right across the board,” Carswell explained. On one hand, the system must assist with ensuring that the bakeware presses are turning sheet metal into tins and trays and on the other it is helping to ensure sufficient supplies of kitchen accessories are stocked and distributed to customers. At first glance this may look like a straightforward manufacturing and distribution situation. However, George Wilkinson provides value added custom manufacturing for specific customers worldwide. This will normally entail a change in design, colour and label according to the customer's requirements. Such agile manufacturing requires efficiency and access to quality data.



May 2011



George Wilkinson

FMCG Focus

George Wilkinson operates two distinct manufacturing styles: manufacturing for stock to serve the domestic market and made-toorder manufacturing which predominantly support the requirements of international and overseas customers. In such situations inventory management can be a huge issue as there is a need for product visibility and traceability, but here Syspro ERP has solved the problem through its Advanced Warehouse Management (AWM) module to help manage inventory. “We wanted a one-stop-shop system that was totally integrated into a seamless system,” said Carswell. “Syspro is providing us with full traceability of products and full documentation.”

For every pallet and container we have on site AWM provides a unique reference number. This means we are able to trace every movement of every pallet and container, who moved it and when.” – Colin Barnes, George Wilkinson.

Previous constraints Prior to installing Syspro in 2005, George Wilkinson relied on a basic mainframe system that was intended to help people to manage purchase orders, receipts and manage basic stock control. However, things were often not as simple as that, as Colin Barnes, George Wilkinson’s supply chain manager, explained: “It was a hugely labour-intensive system and relied on many paper trails all through the warehouse,” he said. “And because it wasn’t a real-time system it often provided inaccurate data.” Having decided to replace the system with a more modern, real-time solution, Barnes pointed out that K3 was one of a number of providers who came to George Wilkinson’s Burnley site on request and gave a presentation of what systems or solutions were available at the time. “After considering all the solutions that were demonstrated to us, we felt that K3 offered the system that was the





May 2011

best fit; both in terms of cost effectiveness and richness of functionality.

Wide-ranging functionality At George Wilkinson, Syspro covers everything from financials, accounting, sales and purchasing, to inventory, bills of material materials, MRP, and factory scheduling. Both Syspro and AWM were installed at the same time, with implementation and customisation of the systems taking only six months in total. “K3 came on site and undertook all the mapping exercises and routings and looked at all the setup options,” said Barnes. “They worked very closely and effectively with us on the project and provided full support during and after implementation and go live.” Barnes explained that George Wilkinson is largely a seasonal business, with its From its base in Burnley, George Wilkinson designs biggest peak in demand and manufactures its baking tins and ancillary products. The company has over 2000 product lines, taking place from September to Christmas. “Interestingly, we which adds up to over 18 million items going through the factory gate each year. completed all the mapping, development work and planning with K3 while we were actually going able to trace every movement of every pallet through our peak season,” remembers and container, who moved it and when.” Barnes. “So the fact that we went live at the end of 2005 certainly bears testament to the Extended IT portfolio professionalism and efficiency of K3 staff inasmuch as our normal operations were hardly affected at all.” After going live, George George Wilkinson also uses a Transalis EDI Wilkinson shut down its old systems and then (electronic data interchange) system, where migrated all the data over to Syspro. many of its customers place orders. This data then gets migrated to Syspro. Barnes points Barnes added that Syspro manages the main out that direct Internet access to customer top-level tasks such as volume in and volume portals is another way the company receives out, while AWM controls warehouse activity as customer orders. This data is also then a highly detailed level. “For every pallet and relayed directly to Syspro. He added that the container we have on site AWM provides a company runs a number of servers on-site for unique reference number. This means we are backup and staff link to them via laptops or


FMCG Focus

George Wilkinson

register a query with K3’s customer support desk and within 15 minutes someone contacts the company with a response.

The road ahead

desktop PCs. Additionally, Syspro is fully integrated with George Wilkinson’s radio frequency infrastructure in the warehouse, where the company uses Symbol (since acquired by Motorola) RF barcode scanners for capturing date regarding all our stock movement in real time. Barnes pointed out that the forklift truck drivers in the warehouse use these scanners for monitoring goods and pallet movement, putting stock away, booking receipts etc.

Barnes added that one of the key benefits since using Syspro is the major improvement in the quality and accuracy of data from the MRP system in real time. “This has meant we have been able to manage our inventory levels significantly better,” he said. In terms of ongoing service and support provided by K3, Barnes explained that whenever George Wilkinson has any technical issues it can

George Wilkinson is currently in the process of completing some key upgrades. Together with the assistance of K3, the company has nearly finished upgrading to the next release of AWM. “One of the main reasons we wanted to upgrade the AWM system was in order to benefit from increased operational speed,” said Barnes. “And because much of the upto-date coding of AWM is based on the current version of Microsoft’s SQL Server, K3 is also working with us to upgrade our SQL server.” Barnes added that increased speed is important because George Wilkinson needs to be able to react quickly to specific customer requirements; such as those related to documentation etc. Additionally, Barnes explained that George Wilkinson is looking to upgrade its estate of handheld RF barcode scanners shortly. Carswell concluded: “Above all, Syspro has united the information for the company and rendered the arm loads of idiosyncratic spreadsheets held on different PCs unnecessary. Information is now transparent and available to all.” 

Benefits Carswell explained that since going live with Syspro, George Wilkinson has identified many explicit savings as well as ‘softer’, but equally important operational benefits. “Our head counts have not increased and in some instances we have decreased the number of people assigned to administrative tasks and made them more productive,” she pointed out. “We have also reduced costs tied up in excess stocks, making us a much more streamlined operation. The speed with which we can react to customer demands/market changes has evolved us into a very agile business.”




May 2011



Special technology report Planning & forecasting

Being prepared Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of key spokespeople within the Planning & Forecasting vendor and process management community about the current talking points and key developments within to this mission-critical technology space.

n this report, we focus on many of the

use inventory optimisation tools, this can

demand planning

current main talking points within the

make enormous improvements in inventory

process,” said

planning & forecasting software space –

levels and mix.” According to Stork, another

Williams. “There is a

an area that can cover everything from

core area of development is Sales &

debate about the

predicting demand volumes right through

Operations Planning (S&OP). “There is still

difference between

to planning and scheduling production

major interest in this area,” he said, “and now

S&OP and integrated

capacity on the shopfloor – and more

with dedicated tools available to support the

business planning

besides. So without further delay, just what

process it couldn’t be easier.” However, Stork

(IBP), which is

are the key market trends and notable

insists that the process remains king, and

serving to confuse

technological developments that

without a real willingness from the

more than clarify.

manufacturers and logistics professionals

management team to make it work companies

IBP/S&OP, however,

should be aware of with a view to optimising

will continue to struggle.

is where we have


Malcolm Stork

seen the emergence

their daily operations? Malcolm Stork, managing director EMEA at Demand

Hugh Williams, managing director of

of a number of specifically designed software

Solutions, reports that he is currently seeing

Hughenden Consulting, agrees with Stork,

solutions – and where other software houses

increased interest in the area of collaborative

citing one current keenly talked about area as

say they have software without really

forecasting. “Getting a demand signal from

being S&OP, in addition to demand planning

understanding what this process requires. The

closer to the customer can significantly

(forecasting). “Demand planning is

economic circumstances of the past couple of

reduce the amplification of distortions in

reasonably well understood, although

years are still the drivers for businesses to

demand and improve forecast accuracy,” he

businesses do not yet generally understand

improve these processes, although there is

commented, adding: “Combined with easy-to-

what they need to do to implement a good

probably more awareness in the boardroom about the value than previously seen.”

Getting a demand signal from closer to the customer can significantly reduce the amplification of distortions in demand and improve forecast accuracy. Combined with easy-to-use inventory optimisation tools, this can make enormous improvements in inventory levels and mix.” – Malcolm Stork, Demand Solutions. 8




May 2011

In terms of current technology highlights to be aware of, Andy Latham, managing director of K3’s Business Technology Group, highlights multiple resource scheduling, which allows all required resources (such as tools, jigs, space


Planning & forecasting

Special technology report

and skills) to be

may be the reason for the uptick in demand

systems are being sustained rather than

planned for each

for APS solutions.”

increasing by any notable level. “The wave of

job; therefore

Hugh Williams

supply chain planning solutions based on

eliminating wasted

Novels added that another factor that has

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

time spent waiting or

contributed towards greater take-up of APS

have levelled out,” he said. “Customers are

searching for

solutions is time. “Anybody can create a good

looking at interconnected systems; especially

missing items.

schedule given enough time,” he said, “but

as the distinction between planning and

Ideally, says Latham,

the variability in demand and frequent

execution is blurring. Thus, interest is rising in

each resource or

changes in priorities mean solutions like APS

systems that go beyond traditional strengths

group of resources

products give the planner the opportunity to

in planning, forecasting & scheduling and

would have their own

change the plan more frequently and test

include additional capabilities such as rapid

availability calendar.

alternatives before releasing to the shop

simulation/analysis, and collaboration (supply

Having real-time

floor.” In many of Preactor’s most developed

and demand) at multiple network tiers.”

capable to promise commitment as sales orders are taken allows customer-facing users to offer customers a date by which delivery can be made. Latham points out that in order to arrive at a date at which goods in the required quantities can be delivered, a number of factors need to be taken into

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

account; including availability of raw material and sub-assemblies as well as available

markets, Novels is also seeing a trend

capacity at the work centres.

towards having a common ERP and common

Pandey is also witnessing significant

APS solution across multiple plants in different

momentum in enhancing S&OP or Integrated

In terms of market demand for advanced

countries. “Typically a customer will want to

Business Planning (IBP) capabilities, and

planning & scheduling (APS) software

have a single ‘core model’ to which minor

points out most leading vendors (eg. Oracle,

systems, Mike Novels, CEO of Preactor

changes can be made to meet local

JDA, Kinaxis and SAP) are pitching strongly in

International, comments that he has seen a

requirements,” he said. “Once this is done it

this area. Moreover, he says, the best-in-class

definite increase in both interest and actual

opens up the possibility of sharing resources

planning pitch is extending to encompass

investment since the financial crises started to

across those plants using the same

integrated value chain planning and control.

abate. He states that most APS suppliers are

techniques and features to optimise their

“A number of my customers are driving

reporting increased activity and that there

usage.” Another trend cited by Novels is the

leading supply chain vendors to offer these

have been various reasons that have been

increased interest in manufacturing execution

enhanced capabilities, with Oracle Rapid

put forward for this. One reason, believes

systems (MES) by users and the role that APS

Planning and Kinaxis high on the radar,” he

Novels, is the convergence of lean

plays in that space. “Most MES suppliers

said, adding that investment in supply chain

manufacturing principles with APS solutions.

have very little detailed scheduling

analytics is also on the rise. “A closer look at

“Companies got so far with lean initiatives at

capabilities,” he remarked. “We know from

most vendors in the space shows enhanced

shop floor level and were looking for the next

independent research that the benefits of

reporting and analytics capabilities in their

step,” he said. “In parallel, APS

using ERP with APS can be

solutions were more and more

dramatic and the same has been

looking at improving flow at the

reported for MES with APS.”

shop floor and removing waste in the form of setup time,

Atul Chandra Pandey, industry head

queuing time etc to reduce

for Enterprise Application Integration

make-span. In fact lean

and Services at Infosys

manufacturing principles and

Technologies, explains that, based

scheduling solutions seek to do the same thing and seek to

on his discussions with customers in Mike Novels

the manufacturing space and on

‘pull’ through production based

studying current market trends, he

on demand. This convergence

observes that investments in the

of technology and philosophy

traditional supply chain planning


offering stack,” said Pandey.

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



May 2011



Special technology report

Planning & forecasting

delivery promises will be higher,

consistent tools, a single view that


but critically it also means

shows demand, supply and

Johnny Hughes, business development

materials are only ordered when

resource utilisation and without the

manager of Ortec UK comments that current

they are needed, which can

risk and time delay that is

innovations/developments in planning related

obviously have a big impact on

presented by systems integration.”

software and solutions are becoming

cost reduction initiatives by

increasingly specific to the customer, with a

keeping inventories low.”

Bull then focused on specific tools

major focus now on the operational demands

and their benefits: First, he looked at those related to demand

of each relevant industry. “Companies using

Furthermore, Lane adds that

advanced planning solutions are hugely

visibility of works order status

involved in the development,” he said. “We

can accelerate throughput but

have found that full operational use of the

highlighting potential bottlenecks

software in a live environment offers a great

and resource shortages that can

opportunity to identify any need for

then be avoided. “All operations

customisation. For this reason each of our

are planned on factual capacity

solutions has many different varieties – ‘made

information – what is truly possible with the

however, allow the business to quickly identify

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

resources available – so outsourcing can be

trends and patterns in historic sales and then

end user is expanding and becoming more

reduced by maximising the utilisation of

apply these to produce a system generated

analytical, planning-related software will

existing resources,” he said. “This means that

forecast. Where goods are retail goods, it can

extend to accommodate this evolution.”

additional overhead costs such as overtime

be advantageous for the business to be able

can be minimised or planned for if required.

to produce forecasts from actual consumer

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

Andy Latham, managing director

planning. “The ability to generate a reliable demand or sales forecast is a dark art in many businesses, and

Business Technology Group

almost always requires some form of human interpretation or input. Demand planning tools do,

This is critical not only for current works

sales information, often from retailer POS

orders but it also enables organisations to

systems. One key aspect to forecasts

assess capacity for taking in new work. The

generation tools is the ability to visualise data

ability to graphically forecast resource

at many different levels. When a business has

capacity and undertake 'what-if' planning

extensive product ranges it can often be

can be extremely beneficial throughout the

difficult to ‘see the wood for the trees’, so it is

organisation; not least for sales teams

important that the demand planning tools are

looking to sell time and services profitably

able to sales forecast charts in many different

and competitively.” Lane added that a key

views – by market place, region, product

point in all of the above is that the Scheduler

category, by time frame, etc. Equally

Paul Lane, sales director at Seiki Systems,

provides all stakeholders within the business

important can be the ability to manipulate the

reflects that, with extreme pressure to not only

with the control and visibility to achieve

changes to the forecast at any level of the

maintain but improve business performance,

greater flexibility and responsiveness to

hierarchy and disseminate the amendments

one of the greatest drivers for the

customer demands.

downwards through the product and customer structure.

implementation of Seiki's finite capacity scheduler is to fully extract the benefits of real-time visibility of work in progress.

Increased functionality

Next, Bull looks at capable to promise. “When

“Organisations need to be more agile in

Kevin Bull, product manager at Columbus IT,

customers place a sales order they will often

today's highly competitive market, which

points out that today's leading ERP systems

ask ‘When will it be with us?’. Without a

means being able to respond quickly to

have been extended to include more and

system that is able to quickly return this

changes and to deliver exactly what

more functionality to assist the business in its

information, taking into consideration material

customers want, when they want it,” said

start-to-end cycle of planning scenarios. He

availability and production capacity, the

Lane. “Finite capacity planning supports this

explains that many ERP systems have now

customer is often presented with a lengthy

by only allowing operations to be planned

taken on functionality that was once the

delay while the sales order clerk places calls

when resources are available and in optimal

exclusive domain of specialist software

round the business. Modern ERP systems are

sequence that ensures efficiency and output

systems. Bull says some prime examples of

able to provide this information quickly and

are maximised. The Scheduler, as a dynamic

this can be found in the areas of demand

easily during the sales order entry process -

solution, also provides real-time visual

planning and production capacity planning.

the customer can be informed quickly and

consequences of any changes to planned

He commented: “From the initial sales

accurately of when they can expect their

operations. This provides a significant

forecast through to material planning and

goods to be delivered. ‘

advantage to companies from a customer

shop floor production sequencing, business

Bull then moves on to production scheduling.

satisfaction perspective – ie. confidence in

planners are able to use a single system, with

“When it comes to production scheduling





May 2011


Planning & forecasting

there is commonly a vast plethora of

Special technology report

orders, batch orders and lean kanbans.”

considerations and conditions that affect the

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

optimal sequence and resource selection.

Lastly, Bull looks at monitoring production

These ‘rules’ are often inside the head of a

performance. “With a production schedule in

single business planner that will manually

place – often with just-in-time outputs – it is

generate production plans, often using

important that the business is able to monitor

spreadsheets. This can be time consuming,

production progress to identify issues and the

lack visibility and can represent a significant

impact that they may have on customer

risk to business continuity. To enable a system

service level performance,” he said. “Systems

to perform the task of production scheduling it

that incorporate manufacturing execution

has to be able to define and utilise the ‘rules’

controls are able to provide the production

that the production planner uses. These rules

manager with real-time visibility of progress;

need to cover many aspects of the business

whether it be through workers that are

that can connect multiple business users in

including: material availability, plant

scanning complete production using

multiple functions, and provide analysis in a

maintenance, tooling requirements, staff levels

barcodes or by integrating with shop floor

connected way; this is particularly true of

and shift patterns, staff skill sets, sub-

equipment such as counters or weigh scales.”

areas like S&OP and IBP,” she said.

contractor availability, transportation, storage According to Rumble, the economic crisis and

space, and preferred sequences to minimise set up times. Without this level of

Better end-to-end visibility

the need to make better decisions have

sophistication the best that can be achieved

Karin Bursa, vice president of marketing at

definitely created a surge in demand for new

is a high-level rough cut capacity plan. Of

Logility, points out there are three key areas of

capabilities. This, she believes, is outstripping

course there will always be occasions when

interest that Logility is seeing at the moment;

the capability of BI platforms and stretching

the planner will need to adjust the system-

advanced demand planning techniques such

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

generated production plan, and this is where

as attribute-based models, inventory

that historical reporting remains important, but

a highly visual representation of the plan

optimisation, and sales & operations planning.

requirements for predictive analytics and

becomes essential. Through Gantt chart views

Bursa commented: “As supply chains

event processing to maintain real-time views

the planner is able to ‘drag and drop’ to

become more complex and connect several

are growing quickly,” commented Rumble.

manipulate the production plan, whilst still

partners from around the world, companies

“Awareness of the need to interpret data for

ensuring that material availability and

need better end-to-end visibility (macro and

better decisions and improved processes has

sequencing rules are adhered to.”

granular), improved customer service, the

never been greater. Interpretation is best done

ability to more accurately forecast demand

when traditional historical reporting is

In sophisticated production supply chains,

and a supply chain network response that

augmented with real-time information and

Bull points out that there can be a significant

meets the financial and service goals of the

predictive analytics. To meet new

element of multi-mode production; with

organisation. These are three key areas that

requirements, specific analytic solutions are

discrete works orders, process batches and

directly impact these needs.”

offered; standalone or embedded in business

lean kanbans all having a role to play. “In

applications, including those delivered via

these environments it can be difficult to find a

Alexandria Rumble, global product marketing

single business system that is capable of

director at TXT, observes that there is a

managing the different principles and

definite move towards better use of planning

practices behind each production

Kevin Bull, product manager


& forecasting software. She commented: “The

Improved information flow

methodology,” he

functionality has been available for some time

In addition, Rumbles believes the growing use

said. “Microsoft

– in terms of attributes in planning &

of smartphones and tablets raises questions

Dynamics AX 2012 is

forecasting as well as attempts to segment

about how to exploit the new capabilities of

a great example of a

product and services – but we are finding that

these devices and to deliver better

complete business

there is a greater focus on analytics, which

information in the context of how it is being

solution that is able

has triggered innovation and is also forcing

consumed. “In the case of S&OP or IBP, for

to model all three

traditional business intelligence (BI) platforms

example, the ability to connect company

models of

to rethink their strategy and develop their offer

goals to plans, and being able to close any

manufacturing within

further.” Rumble is also seeing that isolated

potential gaps, has become crucial,” she

a single environment,

point solutions for specialised problems are

said. “By integrating consumer insight into

using highly intuitive

not an immediate choice for buyers as they

demand and supply planning and consumer

visual planning tools

can create new islands of functionality.

buying segmentation, product launches will

for production

“Buyers are looking for innovative solutions

become more successful and more targeted.”




May 2011



Special technology report Planning & forecasting

more diverse customer base.”

& operations planning (S&OP) – within a

Pieter Van Nyen

Continuing the

single application as being a key current

integration theme,

trend. “This allows the creation of innovative

Bull again homes-in

software solutions that were not possible in

Cloud forecast

on modern ERP

the past,” he said. One example he cites is an

Has the Software as a Service (SaaS) model

solutions and how

S&OP solution that contains demand planning

and the Cloud concept in general had any

they can be

functionality and operations planning

notable level of impact on the planning and

connected to

functionality with value-based optimisation

forecasting-related software solutions market

external systems

capabilities in a single software system. “This

thus far? Pandey considers that while SaaS is

(including those

allows the end user to run demand

gaining momentum in general in the IT

related to planning)

simulations and operations planning

community, he doesn’t see a noticeable

to great advantage.

scenarios in a single software system, without

impact on the planning software solution side.

He commented:

having to switch between different software

“There is a shift in terms of the product

modules/programs,” Van Nyen pointed out.

vendors offering their solution on an on-

“ERP systems that have a modern

demand basis,” he said, “however these

architecture are far more open in their design,

cannot be compared with CRM (Customer

with in-built connectivity tools that allow integration routes between ERP systems and other specialist software systems to established with far greater ease.” Bull cites Microsoft Dynamics AX as a leading example of an ERP system that has powerful tools to aid integration in a business environment and return an attractive cost of ownership. “Using the ERP connectivity tools non-technical staff

Addressing the entire works order process

Relationship Management) SaaS offerings, which are true multi-tenant Cloud offerings

The integration of software functionality – such as demand forecasting & planning, APS, order allocation and S&OP – within a single application allows the creation of innovative software solutions that were not possible in the past.” – Pieter Van Nyen, OM Partners.

are able to define the data mapping between systems, the conversion of data and the data

According to Lane, everything from the need

validation requirements and error handling,”

to extract more from existing resources to the

he pointed out. However, he added that

desire for continuous improvement have

In Pandey’s view this is due to several factors:

integrating the ERP system with external

driven the adoption of more integrated

“Foremost among these is the complexity of

systems – such as finite capacity planning or

systems. He points out that the best

the planning solutions compared to CRM

forecast generation tools – is only the start, as

integrated systems can provide accurate and

functions (leads, opportunities, contacts).

the same connectivity tools can be used to

reliable job data as well as performance

SCM (Supply Chain Management) or planning

manage supply chain integration, EDI and

reporting. Lane points out that Seiki has

solutions handle complex calculations involve

web services etc. Bull explains that they can

evolved its solution through improved

sophisticated algorithms, and must manage a

also be used to communicate to shop floor

integration to modules such as shop floor

high number of configurable parameters

equipment and other hardware elements that

data collection, resource monitoring and shop

(such as calendars, items/SKUs, planning

are typical of any modern production

floor communications in the form of work

horizon, order size, safety stock/inventory


queues. “It's not necessarily enough just to

policy/rules). Further, the processes require

plan jobs accurately,” said Lane, “companies

intensive performance optimisation, especially

Pieter Van Nyen, project manager at OM

want to address the entire works order

when we consider planning at enterprise

Partners, also highlights the integration of

process, from top floor to shop floor.”

levels, which entails millions of records. These

software functionality – such as demand

Furthermore, believes Lane, the solution has

systems are mission-

forecasting & planning, advanced planning &

to be scalable. “The desire for this increased

critical and

scheduling (APS), order allocation and sales

level of process control and visibility is not just

disruptions can have

Organisations need to be more agile in today's highly competitive market, which means being able to respond quickly to changes and to deliver exactly what customers want, when they want it.” – Paul Lane, Seiki Systems.





May 2011

(e.g. Salesforce.com).”

limited to larger organisations running

a significant

thousands of operations,” he said. “There is

business impact.

an increasing awareness of the tangible

Hence, there is little

benefits to be gained from adopting

value in disrupting

technologies that can really support

the existing solutions

business growth throughout the

and rebuilding the

manufacturing industry. The challenge for

same on SaaS

vendors then becomes about how to deliver


richer and more flexible solutions to satisfy a

Therefore, Pandey

Paul Lane


Planning & forecasting

Special technology report

maintains that while there is

in the decision-making of

customer database this shift may not yet be

increasing momentum in the SCM

businesses as a result of SaaS in

noticeable. Nevertheless, the company

space on SaaS offerings – with a

the planning area, while Latham

considers it important to deliver its customers

mushrooming number of

hasn’t noticed much activity in this

the best service and thus be prepared to

companies offering SCM on

space so far. Stork too hasn’t

respond to this trend. For this reason Ortec

demand – true multi-tenant,

observed much interest in the

solutions are made available as SaaS.

optimised SaaS-based SCM

SaaS model at this stage of its

offerings have a long way to go.

development. “I am sure it will Alexandria Rumble

come, but demand planning is a


mission critical area in our

What are some of the main functionality

SaaS and Cloud services

opinion,” he said. “It will be some

differentiators among the planning &

continues to grow and is being

time before a significant number

forecasting-related software vendor

supported by customers who see

of companies rely on external

community? Novels considers that this really

Rumble observes that interest in

these subscription-based solutions and ‘pay

service bureaus for this functionality.” Stork

depends on what individual vendors see as

as you go’ offerings as a more cost-effective

added that there is also the cost to consider.

their key differentiators. “Some see their key

solution (indeed, lower barriers to entry are

“Most of our users obtain a payback in 6 to 12

functionality as being a type of scheduling

conducive to the need for current economic

months – why continue paying for ever?”

approach – such as theory of constraints

belt-tightening). However, Rumble adds that

(TOC)– while others focus on specific

very few of the top 10 SCM vendors are

Van Nyen’s view is that some (smaller)

industrial sectors on which they focus their

strong players in SaaS SCM. “There are some

companies feel that SaaS is an interesting

toolset; for example process industries rather

sporadic efforts and solutions being delivered

solution. However, when it comes to the point

than discrete,” he said. “We have always

by vendors in a variety of area such as

of securing and speeding up data transfer

taken the view that customers want what they

warehousing, but these represent a small

from the ERP system to the SaaS solution

want and therefore the flexibility of the tool to

percentage of the overall revenue of those

(and vice versa), Van Nyen believes most of

customise it to those wants, whatever it is, is

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

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

With regard to supply chain implementation, Bursa has witnessed the greatest benefit of

these companies come to the conclusion that

important. So we have standard rules, such

SaaS/‘on demand’ in transportation

it is best to host the ERP solution and the APS

as TOC, but it’s not for everybody. We have

management systems (TMS). This, believes

solution in the same location. Novels points

discrete manufacturing users but process

Bursa, is due to two main reasons; first, the

out that SaaS has been around for many

ones too.”

way users interact with the system. “Users

years. However, so far he has seen very little

tend to work with a light-weight interface

interest in this from users and potential users

For Stork, one of the key differentiators is

tightly integrated to order management,” she

in the scheduling arena. “Most of the activity

expertise and knowledge, particularly in

said. Secondly, TMS can be positioned as a

appears to be in the S&OP and ERP areas

Demand Planning. “This is a very different

community system, one where multiple parties

where it is transactional based,” he said.

environment to the rigid transactional

access the information in a private exchange

However, Novels added that he thinks it is

environment of most ERP systems,” he said,

of shipment details, tender and delivery

bound to become more popular as the

“and being able to provide experienced and

information. “Where a solution can stand on

technology and security issues are dealt with.

knowledgeable trainers and implementation consultants can ensure that an investment in

its own, SaaS can provide a quick deployment and an expense-based model vs.

Hughes believes there is little question that

Demand Planning tools is successful and

a capital investment,” said Bursa. “However,

SaaS is becoming well established as a way

returns an ROI within the targeted 6 to 12

the financial case for SaaS typically will not go

to deliver business applications. “Based on

month period.”

past three years as, at that point, you tend to

IDC research (November 2010), over 50 per

hit the acquisition costs of an on premise

cent of professional services firms are using

Rumble believes the right planning solution


some form of hosted application, and another

will provide a greater user experience with

35 per cent are considering it,” he said.

elasticity of functionality on demand, and be

Hughes added that within Ortec’s own

able to plan through the segmentation of

Williams has yet to witness any real difference




May 2011



Special technology report Planning & forecasting

customers and/or products. She continued: “As companies are pushing a more

Pandey’s view is that the key areas where

Planning for tomorrow

collaborative way of working in their teams –

most leading product vendors in the planning

What do our commentators believe might be

particularly relating to demand and supply

community are focusing are collaboration,

the next key developments to look out for in

planning – solutions must make this effortless

responsiveness and S&OP. However, he

the world of planning and forecasting-related

and provide the ability in one solution for each

points out that the approaches taken in these

software over the next year or two? Bursa

stakeholder to see the data he or she needs

dimensions have different flavours. Pandey

explains that there are two areas of increased

to do their part job as part of a connected

continued: “When it comes to functionality

innovation that Logility is currently witnessing.

way of working.” Rumble added that if S&OP

differentiators, some offerings are focused on

The first is the mobility of performance

is taken as an example, each user should be

rapid simulation and analysis/what-ifs, with

management and the ability to access role-

able to see the same plan in their own

Kinaxis leading the pack – in others,

specific information from anywhere at any

‘language’: marketing in terms of margins by

connecting simulation results back into

time. The second is in the ability to better

brands and promotional

execution (eg. Oracle rapid

manage new product introductions. “The pace

activities, and sales in terms of

planning integrated with ASCP).

of new product introductions continues to

customers by sales etc. In

Some planning-related software

quicken,” she said, “and companies need to

addition, Rumble maintains that

drives collaboration with

accurately forecast demand, clearly

the solution must provide a good

suppliers/channel (eg. ICON, SAP –

understand the impact on production and

level of analytics to enable each

SNC) and provide closed loop

distribution, and optimise inventory

player to solve issues, predict

S&OP (eg. JDA).”


Hughes maintains that solution

Lane considers that solutions will become

differentiators within Ortec’s target

increasingly web-based, and with larger

user space include those that offer

volume capacity, while Latham comments that

problems and also identify opportunities. More specifically Rumble believes that the ideal

Karin Bursa

planning solution will include:

KPI reporting and analytical tools, •

Excel pivot table-based

as well as true costs optimisation


(including tariff tables). Additionally, driver

Full top-down/bottom-up and attribute

hours regulations and Working Time Directive

based multi-dimensional planning.

applications need to be factored into the

Advanced simulation capabilities.

equation. Hughes adds that, in the customer’s

Advanced planning tools: product images

eyes, the speed of optimisation, algorithm

visualisation and responsive/editable

quality and mapping standards remain the


biggest differentiators among planning

Integrated performance management.

software suppliers. Lane reflects that the

Flexible workflow management.

users need to consider whether the best fit for

The pace of new product introductions continues to quicken, and companies need to accurately forecast demand, clearly understand the impact on production and distribution, and optimise inventory investments.” – Karin Bursa, Logility.

them would be out-of-the-box software with For Bursa, one of the main differentiators

configurability, or highly configurable software

real-time finite scheduling will receiving

within the planning & forecasting-related

requiring specialist consultancy support

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

software arena is the breadth and flexibility of

during installation.

solution whereby the schedule is always

the planning solutions available. As global

evolving as events are reported, thus saving

supply chain networks become more

According to Williams, understanding the

the user the need to ‘run’ the scheduler. “The

complex, Bursa considers that software needs

real meaning of collaborative planning - and

‘best’ next action will always be picked in

to be able to solve many complex problems in

the process and people change to enable

response to an event; for example, upon

a straight forward and easy to understand

this - is vital not only from a consultancy

completion of an operation,” he said. “The

fashion. “The software must be able to

point of view but also form software

best next operation to be run at the work

leverage all the data that is available to help

vendors. But, he believes that the biggest

centre is chosen, rather than simply picking

the customer understand and improve all

differentiator is to recognise that success

the operation at the top of a work-to list

areas of the supply chain,” she said. “For

will only come from a combination of

developed some time ago when the

example, inventory optimisation alone delivers

systems, processes and people – and the

scheduler was last ‘run’.”

value, but when you incorporate that into a

ratio, understood by more advanced

suite of supply chain planning solutions you

companies in this area, is 10 per cent

Pandey believes that while supply chains will

improve demand visibility and help develop

systems, 30 per cent process, 60 per cent

become even more organised and gain more

more accurate inventory policies that provide


attention, the supply chain function itself is

both strategic and tactical business benefits.”





May 2011

undergoing a fundamental shift and the


Planning & forecasting

Special technology report

boundaries between

(SCP) technology will continue to move forward

traditional planning

by helping to bring together companies’

and execution

existing processes and people in different

functions are

geographies and functions. She added that

becoming almost

best-of-breed solutions are leading the way by


empowering businesses with real-time visibility

“Demand planning

of not only the supply network but also of the

has come a long way

entire value chain. “The translation of this

from being statistical

information for each individual ensures


everyone is on the same page,” she remarked,

numbers,” he said.

“while dashboards and ‘what if’ scenario

“It has grown into

capabilities means the most profitable

consensus and

decisions for the business can be made.”

more who will say they have solutions without

collaboration-based forecast and now

Rumble also commented that software vendors

understanding the real requirements of these

includes market intelligence, competitor

are increasingly looking at the greater


analysis and getting plugged into the

integration of SCP and execution capabilities as

upstream CRM function. Similarly, supply

the next step. “A lot of vendors are either

Hughes observes that more and more

planning is no longer a batch-oriented

developing or looking to acquire components to

companies are integrating Advanced Planning

process where the plan is created, then

help turn this vision into a reality over the next

seamlessly into their business. Moreover, he

shared, modified, and re-planned.”

couple of years,” she said.

pointed out that Ortec has noted a shift taking

Pandey points out that today supply signals

Novels considers that in the planning (longer

methodologies. Hughes commented: “As the

are received and processed in real time, and

term) area the market will witness a move

reliance on planning grows, so does the need

corresponding supply decisions are more

towards more graphically interactive systems,

for innovation in the types of tools available:

Atul Chandra Pandey

As the reliance on planning grows, so does the need for innovation in the types of tools available: solutions that can offer automated data import, increased calculation power, improved communication visualisation methods and immaculate integration.” – Johnny Hughes, Ortec.

place in the world of planning towards newer

solutions that can offer automated data

The focus is on improving execution efficiencies and strengthening visibility through better and real-time connections with suppliers, channel and distribution partners, and customers.” – Atul Chandra Pandey, Infosys Technologies.

import, increased calculation power, improved communication visualisation methods and immaculate integration. The field of advanced planning was, and still is, able to benefit greatly from innovations in software applications, communications technology and

frequent, hourly in some cases. “The focus is

but those that also have the ability to

mathematics. But just as technology has

on improving execution efficiencies and

automate the process of deciding what size

evolved, so too has the way in which

strengthening visibility through better and

batches should be made when. For the short-

individuals and teams operate in their working

real-time connections with suppliers, channel

term tactical shop floor scheduling area,


and distribution partners, and customers,” he

Novels believes we will see that companies

said, adding that the supply chain is

who cannot move to an entirely make to order

converging with marketing and sales, whether

scenario will use Heijunka based APS

in terms of forecast consensus or

systems that will aim to minimise their

collaboration, or determining shipment plans

inventory in all its forms.

from manufacturers to retailers. Similarly, he maintains that the integration between post-

Williams believes we will see many more

sale customer service and the supply chain

companies adopting IBP/S&OP processes. He

function is tightening; whether this pertains to

added that there will be failures, largely

quick replacement of a part or cutting lead

because companies will not understand or

time on repair. “Some of my clients are

accept what it means to go down this route.

investing in these areas and focusing on

However, Williams also maintains there will be

improving service capabilities by restructuring

successes achieved by those that accept the

the supply chain function to strengthen

10 per cent systems, 30 per cent process, 60

reverse logistics and post-sale customer

per cent people ratios. “You will see more

service,” said Pandey.

software houses attempting to penetrate this

Johnny Hughes

space in addition to the current specialists,” Rumble maintains that Supply Chain Planning


he said. “So, as in the past, there will be many



May 2011



\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Success story

Radius Systems implements Syspro with DataRapt to clear the information pipeline Leading plastic pipe systems manufacturer and services supplier Radius Systems has begun a major project to implement an advanced computer system for its multisite operations. The 100user fully integrated Syspro ERP (enterprise resource planning) system from K3 Business Technology Group (K3) will open the information pipeline across Radius Systems’ business, bringing greater visibility and control to its operations. The company is also taking advantage of the sub-ledger reconciliation software called DataRapt. An interview with Anne Burton, the firm’s business controller, gave an insight to the progress of the project. adius Systems has been

business systems across its UK sites with K3’s

end of the year. In Northern Ireland, the

supplying leading utilities

Syspro ERP and DataRapt sub-ledger

system replaced a bespoke inventory and

companies with its plastic pipes,

reconciliation software products. These user-

accounting system, whereas it replaced

fittings and services since 1969.

friendly and powerful enterprise-wide

legacy ERP systems used at its other sites.

It has facilities in Derbyshire,

solutions replace Radius Systems’ disparate

Radius Systems drafted in help from K3

County Durham, Northern Ireland and Dubai

legacy systems, integrating the sites.

Managed Services to get Northern Ireland up

enabling the company to service customers in

The project has taken a phased approach to

and running on the system. This specialist

over 100 countries. To gain a clearer view of

the ERP system implementation, with Northern

support compensated for the lack of IT

its operations, costs, and boost customer

Ireland site having gone live in April 2010 and

capability at the facility and has smoothed the

service, the company is transforming its

the remaining UK sites up and running by the

transition to Syspro for the 20 on-site users

R 16




May 2011


Success story

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

and a further 15 remote users based at the

AQM modules is both a bonus and will be

Derbyshire facility.

essential to our operation.” The system takes over from the point of Sales Order entry. This triggers Materials Required Planning to drive Works Orders through manufacturing. It monitors production through Work in Progress (WIP) inspection and the finished products to stock and out through shipping. The information feeds through seamlessly to the General Ledger making accounting easier and faster. “The new

DataRapt also helps with educating users out of making errors such as incorrect and partial postings. I’d recommend this software utility to be used with all ERP implementations as it boosts the value of the system.” – Anne Burton, Radius Systems.

system in Northern Ireland is already

Plastic pipe systems manufacturer and services supplier Radius Systems is transforming its business systems across its UK sites with K3’s Syspro ERP and DataRapt sub-ledger reconciliation software products.

benefiting the business,” Burton pointed out.

implementing its DataSwitch integration

“The system is integrated and replaces the

software to give visibility across the entire

need to journal sales and stock movements

business. Using a customised window, each

into the ledger. We now have comprehensive

site will be able to see stocks held at each

Bills of Materials and clear visibility of stock

facility making it possible to sell it and reduce

and WIP. Bearing in mind that we are only

stockholdings. This special software simplifies

using standard reporting, we now have

data importing and exporting tasks. For

detailed, timely information. We can report

example, a purchase order raised in any one

margins and we don’t need to duplicate data

of the company’s sites will automatically

entry. The system is set up to report on gross

create a sales order. When that order is

margins too, making it easier and quicker to

invoiced, the required products are

close down month-end accounts. In every

transferred automatically from whichever site

case we can see the cost of each sale.”

holds the stock. This removes waste, overproduction and excess stock. 

Automating ledger reconciliation

“K3 Managed Services support was

To eliminate the effect of user error, Radius

excellent,” said Anne Burton, Radius Systems’

Systems has opted to also implement DataRapt

business controller. “Having a specialist

sub-ledger reconciliation software. This

permanently on site for three months meant

enables Syspro users to monitor, maintain and

that we made good progress through a

prove the integrity of their accounts. It helps to

training programme to going live. The system

identify mistakes and quickly rectify without the

is hosted at our Derbyshire site, with Northern

need for time-consuming cross-referencing and

Ireland using Terminal Services to access it.”

checking. “Imbalances in the system are usually because of user errors,” explained

End-to-end solution

Burton. “Normally to correct the problems you have to trawl through and across the accounts

In Northern Ireland, the company has

and run various reports to identify where the

implemented the essential end-to-end core

mistake has occurred before you can correct it.

functionality of manufacturing, logistics and

With DataRapt you can save a lot of time and

accounting. The addition of Advanced

effort as it helps to identify where the error was

Planning and Scheduling (APS) and

made and it walks you through the process of

Advanced Quality Management (AQM)

correcting the error. It soon earns its keep.

modules will follow once the system is fully

DataRapt also helps with educating users out

bedded in. Burton reports that the flexibility to

of making errors such as incorrect and partial

add more modules and functionality to Syspro

postings. I’d recommend this software utility to

was one of the key reasons for choosing it.

be used with all ERP implementations as it

“Syspro has a familiar Windows-style look and

boosts the value of the system.”

feel. It also allows us to extend the solution when we are ready. Our current set up is ‘vanilla’ Syspro – and this standard core

Looking to the future

functionality will make a big difference to the

With work on implementing the system across

way we work. The ability to add APS and

the UK sites having progressed well, K3 is




May 2011



\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Success story

ANM drives expansion with rapid 123insight ERP implementation information pipeline NM Electronics, based in


hidden factor was that many other

Mountain Ash, Wales, provides

systems required a much higher

electronic manufacturing

hardware specification to drive

services, mainly to the

them, and also command large

automotive industry. Managing

annual maintenance fees. “With

director, Richard Mollison previously worked

123insight we pay a monthly fee

at a company that closed at the end of 2009.

that we know up front,” said

He founded ANM early 2009 to allow the

Mollison. “It includes all future

existing customers a transition period. He also

upgrades and it's down to me

purchased some of the manufacturing

whether I train the staff or send

equipment along with previous company’s

them on the training courses. All

electronic data. Having had experience of the

the prices are on the website and

former company’s AS/400 ERP system he

are at a fraction of the price of other systems.”

Richard Mollison: “… going live wasn't a painful process.”

implement something similar.

import straight into 123insight,” he said. “This saves a lot of time and reduces the possibility

knew that to be successful he would need to

of typing errors. I wouldn't part with it for the



“When we formed ANM we purchased an

The decision was made in March 2010 to

accounts system that could also manage

select 123insight and Mollison attended the

Within three weeks of implementation

inventory,” said Mollison. “However once we

no-obligation training, after which he provided

planning session ANM went live across stock

started using it we could see it was not up to

downstream training to the relevant staff using

control, production and despatch. All new

the task. Also, it was not designed to handle

the supplied documentation. “They took it

orders were loaded onto the system, with

some of the other functions we needed. We

home over a weekend to digest and then we

123insight generating purchasing

started looking at ERP systems in late 2009.

went through chapter by chapter,” he

requirements. Staff performed a ‘sanity check’

Initially we saw 20 systems ranging from a few

explained. “They picked it up very easily – if

and confirmed that all recommendations were

hundred pounds through to systems costing

you have any Windows or ERP experience it

correct. For Mollison the most noticeable

around £30,000. I was shocked at some of the

is self-explanatory. You are never more than a

benefit was speed when running MRP. “We

prices. The low end systems were just that –

couple of clicks away from what you are

used to run the previous system overnight,

low end, with very basic functionality, showing

looking for.”

and even then it could not be used during that time,” he pointed out. “123insight runs

that you get what you pay for.” Mollison used the 123insight data import kit to

MRP in a matter of minutes. All in all, going

During his searches online he came across

import the previous company’s 280 BOMs, but

live wasn't a painful process. I can imagine for

123insight and booked to attend an

has found that it has also delivered an

some businesses that the switchover process

evaluation workshop, along with two

ongoing benefit. “The majority of our

is nerve-wracking – like being an expectant

colleagues. “There was no pressurised selling

customers now send us bills of materials in

father at a maternity suite, but for us it was a

and I got to mix with like-minded companies

either Excel spreadsheets or CSV file formats

case of implementing a system early enough

looking for a solution,” he said. Another

so we can manipulate the formatting and

so we didn't have the pain of a much larger





May 2011


Success story

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

migration and implementation later on.� Stock levels have seen noticeable reductions, with inaccuracies almost disappearing completely. ANM was previously tracking stock using customer/project oriented spreadsheets. Often one component could be common across several projects, resulting in duplicate purchases. Although not significant for

Finished parts.

low cost parts, overstocking could have a major impact on cashflow for more expensive components, especially those with minimum order quantities. Staff also save time as they no longer have to scan multiple spreadsheets. The number of data entry errors across the company were also reduced. Data such as customer or part information is entered just once, rather than different departments having to re-enter the same information further through the production process. Furthermore, staff can only perform functions relevant to their roles such as raising purchase orders or creating parts. As ANM holds ISO9001:2008 and MET certifications, quality and traceability are paramount. One feature Mollison found useful was the ability to set flags at any stage of manufacturing to prompt an action. “Some parts require good inwards inspection, an example being one product that needs to be ‘V0 rated’ for conductivity,� he explained. “When orders for this part arrive into goods inwards staff are now prompted via a pop-up window to move them into quarantine for inspection.� In addition to drilling down through a Bill of Material, the ability to ‘drill up’ from a single component to see all parent parts is a major benefit when a component or child part becomes obsolete. “The system I used before did allow me to put in a top level part number and view the BOM beneath it, but with 123insight I can put in a child component and see every parent that it is

...and one perfect way to see it: SYSPRO from K3 TM


on,� said Mollison. “Previously this would have required several custom reports and visits to multiple screens to achieve, but in 123insight I just


On time delivery to customers

select that part and all the information I need is there on screen.�


Customer complaints reduced


Products delivered on time


Delivering good quality products


Processing returns handled smoothly

Nearly a year after implementation ANM has only called support four


Get an accurate picture of your business

times, two of which Richard cites as relating to the same question. “I can


See what is happening in your warehouse

count the number of times I've called on one hand,� Mollison remarked.


FulďŹ l your orders accurately

“They either answer my questions on the phone there and then or follow


See your business grow


Don’t let growth cause pain to your business

Branching out

up with an answer via e-mail. I can't fault them.� ANM is now branching out to serve new industries including instrumentation for the oil and marine sectors. In February 2011 the company was also nominated as one of Wales’ fastest growing companies, which Mollison believes is due in part to 123insight. 


Uncover the truth visit www.k3scs.com call 0161 876 4498



May 2011



\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Success story

ACDC Lighting appoints Epicor to put growth in the spotlight CDC Lighting, the global


focus on higher value tasks that make them

Microsoft Office integration, customer

manufacturer and distributor of

more motivated and effective, and deliver

relationship management (CRM) and remote

LED and cold cathode

improved service to customers.

salesforce features, intuitive interface and Configurators. The company has a core set of

architectural lighting, has "Our current systems are very labour intensive;

50 products, but last year produced over 2500

generation enterprise resource planning (ERP)

staff can spend a lot of time moving between

variants on them.

solution as the company undergoes a complete

different spreadsheets, which is frustrating for

review of its systems and business processes.

them and makes the business less agile," said

"The Epicor Configurators will allow our sales

Clark. "They have a huge amount of experience

teams to easily specify the customisations on

With a turnover of £11million (GBP) and 100 staff

that is wasted on fighting with cumbersome

our core products to give customers accurate

at its Lancashire-based site, ACDC Lighting has

processes to produce reports, or tasks that we

quotes,” explained Clark. “These customised

selected the Epicor's next-

seen significant growth year-over-year of 40 to 50 per cent for three years running – it now distributes products to over 50 territories. Over the next two years it has ambitious aims to reach a turnover of £20 million (GBP) for which it expects to employ between 120 and 150 staff. "Our continued growth plans for the future mean that we need to unify and integrate the systems

The Epicor Configurators will allow our sales teams to easily specify the customisations on our core products to give customers accurate quotes. These customised orders will then seamlessly move through Epicor to manufacturing, distribution and finance, saving huge amounts of time and unnecessary complexity.” – Ian Clark, ACDC Lighting.

that underpin our business," said Ian Clark,

know can be automated. For example, we want

orders will then seamlessly move through

financial director at ACDC Lighting. "We started

people in our procurement department to be

Epicor to manufacturing, distribution and

as a relatively small company with 20 staff and

focused on extracting the best from our supplier

finance, saving huge amounts of time and

didn't have a need for an ERP system, but the

partnerships, not chasing paperwork."

unnecessary complexity.” Craig Stephens, director, product marketing for

time has come to get the systems in place that will help, rather than hinder, our expansion. Our

ACDC Lighting will be re-engineering its

Epicor, added: "As companies move into the

transaction sizes and volumes continue to grow

business processes as part of the Epicor

next stage of their growth, finding an ERP

and we have more staff than ever before – our

implementation to get the perfect balance

solution that balances the needs of the business

current systems and processes are starting to

between software controlled automation and the

now, and in the future, without being too

creek under that weight."

best practice processes for the business. One of

complex can be a real challenge. Solutions that

the greatest benefits the management team

are too complex can bring an organisation to its

expects to see is the ability to properly

knees either through technical issues, or users

understand the business at all levels, with timely

simply not being able to get to grips with them.”

The right tools

reporting and dashboards that will enable them

The Epicor deployment will replace all systems

to react quickly to changes in order books, the

Stephens concluded: “We've worked very hard

within the organisation, including a number of

supply chain, or manufacturing complications.

at Epicor to ensure our products put the power of the solution into the hands of customer, so it

commercial products for specific business functions, databases and scores of

Twenty ERP solutions were reviewed before

can be customised to reflect their changing

spreadsheets. By doing this, ACDC Lighting

Epicor was selected. The management team

needs, and users can work with an interface that

believes it is giving staff the tools needed to

was particularly impressed with Epicor's

is familiar and intuitive." 





May 2011


Company news

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Sage and Talend form partnership to boost Sage ERP X3 interoperability performance Sage and Talend have completed a partnership, which will integrate Talend's integration technologies with Sage ERP X3, Sage plc's global ERP solution aimed at medium sized companies… ue to this global partnership,

benefit from an immediate opening of their IT

without any additional costs, from what Talend

Sage ERP X3 customers will

systems as well as important productivity

offers as an established provider of open

reportedly benefit from

gains arising from the faster exchanges

source software, supplying a breadth of

significant productivity gains

(migration, extraction and synchronisation).

middleware solutions that address both data

generated by the opening of

The Sage ERP X3 connector will now be

management and application integration needs.


their IT systems and the ability to automate

included as standard in all editions of Talend's

massive data exchange. This partnership

integration software, therefore Sage ERP X3

follows the first OEM agreement that was

clients will no longer need to develop specific

signed back in 2007, which simplified

integration interfaces and will benefit from

information exchange between Sage CRM

Open source flexibility Emmanuel Obadia, senior vice president of enterprise products at Sage ERP X3,

Talend has proved that in just four years it can provide high performance technology for not only a competitive cost for midsized businesses but also with a simple and interoperable implementation.” – Emmanuel Obadia, Sage ERP X3.

commented: “In many respects, the strategic

Talend are working jointly on an additional

seamless integration with third party


component to be released in the near future

applications. Because Talend Open Studio is

that will leverage SData, the communications

integrated with Sage ERP X3, it means

Francois Mero, vice president of global sales

protocol defined by Sage at a global level and

customers' IT budgets will not be impacted by

at Talend, said: “We are proud to forge an

which is based on international industry

traditional integration costs associated with

alliance with Sage, one of the main publishers

protocols . SData allows the integration of

proprietary systems.

of business management software. Like

and third-party applications. Having worked together for several years and valuing each other's company culture, both firms have decided to extend their partnership to Sage ERP X3 globally.

Enriched integration capability The Sage ERP X3 solution leverages Talend's integration tools to enrich its integration capability. This integration rests on Sage ERP X3's web services API. In addition, Sage and

products between Sage products as well as

approach of our two companies is the same: customer choice, cost effectiveness, open information systems, greater interoperability and a global dimension. Talend has proved that in just four years it can provide high performance technology for not only a competitive cost for mid-sized businesses but also with a simple and interoperable implementation. We are happy to cement our relationship in order to provide our clients with the open source flexibility that Talend

Talend, Sage has the ambition open up

any third party solutions in real time and over

Those companies who wish to adopt Sage ERP

access to its business management software,

the Internet.

X3 will reportedly see their migration projects

in order to provide all the companies,

greatly simplified. Apart from the technology

whatever their size, an alternative choice to

upgrade, Sage ERP X3 users will benefit,

proprietary software.” 

With the Sage ERP X3 connector, users will




May 2011




lanning Success story

Preactor and QAD

prove recipe for success for Aunt Bessie’s art of the William Jackson Food

‘produce on Day 1 for delivery on Day 2’ basis

while it only handles 20 per cent of the product

Group, Aunt Bessie’s currently

but, given that a significant percentage of the

range, it creates 80 per cent of the difficulties.

produces over 20 million Yorkshire

company’s products are frozen, it makes use

Chris Buckle is supply planning manager at

Puddings alone per week at the

of a 3rd party warehousing facility to maintain

Aunt Bessie’s and he outlines the crux of the

company’s Hull facility, with more

3 weeks of stock across its product range to

company’s planning and scheduling

help smooth supply.

challenges. “At the heart of our business is the


than half of UK households buying its products every year. In addition to Yorkshire Puddings, Aunt Bessie’s supplies all the major food multiples with a wide range of frozen and fresh sweet and savoury products in a variety of serving sizes. The sheer scale and variety of products made, combined with a high seasonality of demand, create a significant interconnected series of challenges. Raw ingredients such as oil and

need to balance inventory management with

At the heart of our business is the need to balance inventory management with smoothness and efficiency of production. Each has significant cost implications if we get it wrong.” – Chris Buckle, Aunt Bessie’s.

smoothness and efficiency of production. Each has significant cost implications if we get it wrong. From an inventory perspective we need to work on a Just in Time (JIT) basis. However, to get the best from our production facilities we need a smooth flow of product through the factory which ideally means batching as many orders together instead of making many smaller orders.”

flour are all held on site and ordered in bulk

This is not just down to managing complex

but used at very different rates, depending on seasonality. Packaging materials such as

A question of balance

setup, clean down and change over times but

cartons, film and outer wrappings are held in a

In terms of actual production, Aunt Bessie’s is

because many products cannot physically be

small holding store and then brought in on a

split into 2 zones. Zone 1 is relatively straight

produced at the same time. Unsurprisingly,

day before basis. Other ingredients such as

forward and dedicated to Yorkshire Puddings,

forecasting, planning and scheduling are at

defrosted fruits are called in as and when

Pancakes and Toad-in-the-Hole production.

the heart of Aunt Bessie’s business. The

required. Aunt Bessie’s operates on a

Zone 2 is much more complex and

company uses Futuremaster for its long-term forecasting solution and prior to investing in Preactor, handled its mid- to short-term planning by a combination of an aging SKEP planning system, cumbersome spreadsheets and an MFG Pro Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Buckle describes the planning capabilities of SKEP as, “very straight forward, showing at best a crude weekly plan with no real visibility”. A decision taken to replace MFG Pro with a more modern QAD solution was a key driver for Aunt Bessie’s to invest in Preactor as Preactor already had a proven track record of integration with QAD. A visit to a sister company, Ardo Foods – a long-time Preactor user, confirmed the fact that Preactor had all the functionality Aunt Bessie’s required. A decision was therefore taken to invest in Preactor and work with long established Preactor partner Kudos Solutions.





May 2011



lanning Success story Preactor is already helping drive process change within the company about how we best run the lines. The increased visibility from Preactor has also helped us to respond quicker in a number of ways, especially when we have a problem on a line. Before, it could take a day to even notice a problem and then additional time to work out how best to react.” Another benefit is that for the first time ever, planned maintenance is now taken into consideration into the plan. Perhaps the most significant benefit is the change in attitude towards planning that Preactor has brought. “Now we are focused not on ‘can we make it’ but ‘how can we make it better’,” notes Buckle. While still in the early days of using Preactor with QAD, Buckle knows there is much more to come.

The sheer scale and variety of products made, combined with a high seasonality of demand, create a significant interconnected series of challenges for Aunt Bessie’s.

“The more you understand what it can do, the better it helps you work and stops you making mistakes. Even at a business level,

inventory and achieving production efficiency

Preactor is starting to bring the Planning

Consistent benefit

while providing visibility across the entire

and Operations functions together and as

The QAD/Preactor system went live in

company. This increase in visibility is a

each sees the impact of decisions by the

September 2010 and now Aunt Bessie’s has 3

consistent benefit across many areas of the

other, it is telling us more than ever how

distinct yet interconnected plans to help it

company as well as at an overall business

best to run our lines and, in turn, our

achieve the best balance between managing

level, as Buckle explains. “In many ways,





May 2011




lanning Success story

Procter & Gamble tames inventory rocter & Gamble, founded in


consumer products company with

Complex business dynamics

2010 sales exceeding US$76.7

Business dynamics have been growing

billion. Some 4 billion times a day

increasingly complex in the consumer

1837, is a leading global

in 180 countries, P&G touches the lives of

products industry. Product and process

people around the world through its familiar

innovation are increasing at ever-greater

brand names – Tide, Crest, Gillette, Pantene,

speed. Product categories are broadening in

and more than 200 others. P&G competes in

response to consumer needs. Increased need

26 distinct product categories, such as Hair

for packaging enhancements is leading to

Care, Paper Towels, Cosmetics, Skin Care,

SKU proliferation. As a result, P&G’s multi-

Oral Care, Blades & Razors, Diapers, and

echelon global supply chain has also been

Fabric Care.

growing increasingly complex due to global suppliers, unique materials requirements and

P&G’s product supply planning workforce plans

Voyager Inventory Optimisation makes recommendations for changing levels and placements of safety stocks across raw materials, work-in-process and finished goods, while maintaining P&G’s high service level targets. ‘What-if’ analyses of current policies identify multiple opportunities for additional reductions over time.”

increasing demand from developing markets.

material supply, capacity, inventory and logistics

optimisation, safety stock was cut by more

for the company’s 500 supply chains. The total

P&G has long focused on reducing its

than 10 per cent through diligent work with

supply chain network comprises 145 owned

inventories and improving materials and

suppliers to reduce material inventories,

manufacturing facilities and 300 contract

production planning, while still maintaining

collaboration with customers to better

manufacturers, resulting in over 6900 unique

superior customer service. Prior to

manage inventory residing at retail outlets and

product category-market combinations served.

implementing multi-echelon inventory

implementation of company-wide ERP and APS information systems. P&G was not done yet, however – the company’s overarching business philosophy is one of demand-driven supply chain and continuous improvement.

A multi-echelon inventory optimisation solution P&G’s inventory management process periodically optimises strategic inventory decisions and policies. This process is triggered by key events, such as new product introductions, changes in market conditions, demand spikes, capacity shortages, and changes in supplier, distribution or logistics strategy. A decision support tool that provided collaborative business intelligence would help Procter & Gamble touches the lives of people around the world through its familiar brand names.





May 2011

P&G make sound strategic decisions around



the Collaboration to

the Velocity to

If you aim to be a top competitor, an optimised supply chain is a mandate. Logility Voyager Solutions™ can help you leave the competition behind. With Logility’s proven three-pronged strategy, OUTPLAN, OUTPACE, OUTPERFORM, DPNQBOJFTDBONPSFQSPåUBCMZTBUJTGZDVTUPNFSEFNBOE— and stay in the winner’s circle—by getting the right products at the right cost to the right place at the right time. Leading companies around the world rely on Logility to achieve dramatic JNQSPWFNFOUTJOHMPCBMTVQQMZDIBJOFGåDJFODJFT JODSFBTFEWJTJCJMJUZBOE substantial bottom-line results in record time. Compete like never before with Logility Voyager Solutions.


Worldwide headquarters: 800.762.5207 EMEA Headquarters: +44 (0) 1932 846060


lanning Success story

supply chain. While optimisation slightly increased the amount of work in process safety stock, it dramatically decreased inventory costs for finished goods and materials. Overall, P&G has achieved an inventory reduction of 7 per cent, with ongoing annual reductions anticipated at 2 to 3 per cent. With Voyager Inventory Optimisation, P&G has ultimately driven $1.5 billion in cash savings and continues its leadership vision of supply postponement, risk pooling, optimal inventory

The Beauty Care Group uses Logility Voyager

chain excellence through continuous

mix, impact of service levels on total supply

Inventory Optimisation to set optimal safety

improvement in its inventory management

chain cost and strategic sourcing questions.

stock targets by SKU and location across the


Continued inventory reduction would require a multi-echelon inventory optimization tool that could meet its stringent requirements. P&G chose Logility Voyager Inventory Optimisation to develop a robust, structured, and sustainable process for global inventory management supported by deep supply chain intelligence. Voyager Inventory Optimisation makes recommendations for changing levels and placements of safety stocks across raw materials, work-in-process and finished goods, while maintaining P&G’s high service level targets. ‘What-if’ analyses of current policies identify multiple opportunities for additional reductions over time.

Driving impressive results Of P&G’s three global business units (GBUs), Beauty & Grooming products have the most complex supply chains. In comparison to the

Fast facts Industry: Consumer packaged goods. Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio, US. Sales: US$79 billion. Profile: The company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers, Tide, Ariel, Always, Whisper, Pantene, Mach3, Bounty, Dawn, Gain, Pringles, Charmin, Downy, Lenor, Iams, Crest, Oral-B, Duracell, Olay, Head & Shoulders, Wella, Gillette, Braun and Fusion.

other GBUs, there are more finished good SKUs, both for everyday items and promotional items. It is also common to customise packaging to match unique

Challenge • Meet aggressive profitability targets through reduced overall inventory while providing great service.

customer requirements. In general, there is a lower unit volume per item but a higher sales price per item. There are also more echelons in the supply chain. Raw materials are often turned into intermediate products through a batch manufacturing process, and then become many different finished goods that then receive specialised packaging before

The bottom line • • • • •

Procter & Gamble’s inventory optimisation initiative drove $1.5 billion in cash savings, while increasing customer service levels. Procter & Gamble’s global Beauty & Grooming saved over $100 million with Logility Voyager Inventory Optimisation. Cut safety stock in most complex line of business by 17 per cent Achieved overall inventory reduction of 7 per cent. Drives ongoing annual reductions of 2 to 3 per cent.

passing through multiple tiers of distribution.





May 2011



lanning Success story

Broner Metals Solutions completes tracking & order scheduling project for plate mill at ArcelorMittal Galati Broner Metals Solutions, provider of integrated MES, supply chain and scheduling solutions for metals, has completed a project that provides tracking and order scheduling solutions for the heavy plate mill of ArcelorMittal Galati in Romania… roner has provided a


comprehensive management information and decision support

ArcelorMittal Galati is using Broner’s Material Planner, Production Planner, Hot Mill Scheduler, Plate Combination, Schedule Editor and MES execution products, which are fully integrated with Level 2 production control systems and SAP.”

system for the plate mills and their associated slab yards. This

includes: real-time abilities to track and trace

and changes in production by:

material as it moves through production;


quality management; and planning,

Better physical tracing and identification

Improved visibility of plate production

Automated scheduling and re-scheduling

of plates.

scheduling and optimisation tools.

Improved visibility of impact of changes.

ArcelorMittal Galati is using Broner’s Material

A reduction of inventories (both finished

Improved order scheduling.

goods and work in progress).

Improved lot completion (ie. ensuring that

Planner, Production Planner, Hot Mill Scheduler, Plate Combination, Schedule

Editor and MES execution products, which are fully integrated with Level 2 production

and stock.

Better management of physical stock in

complete lots are produced on time, and

the slab yards.

thus reducing the quantity of incomplete

Better allocation of excess slabs.

lots at the ports).

control systems and SAP.

Broner Metals Solutions at a glance Benefits that were noted as an outcome of the implementation of Broner solution include: •

Improvement of the order scheduling.

Improvement of planning to meet delivery date.

Improvement of capacity loading for the production centres.

Improvement of the method to calculate the slab requirements.

Providing a tight integration of order tracking and scheduling.

Improvement of shipment grouping and planning.

The solution has also provided the ability to

Broner Metals Solutions specialises exclusively in delivering, metals specific, MES, planning, scheduling & supply chain solutions to the steel and aluminium industries. Broner solutions help metals producers respond to the challenges of today’s economic climate, by improving customer service, improving productivity and reducing costs. Broner Metals Solutions provides packaged, configurable products that are designed specifically to manage the complexities and variability of metals production. The company’s solutions range from: business optimisation & order promising; through production and material planning, integrated/through-scheduling, production scheduling; to MES production, quality, inventory and equipment management and warehouse management. Broner Metals’ MES solutions are designed to the ISA95 standards and include tracking and data management & analysis. The Broner Metals Solutions team has 30 years of experience in improving the performance of metals production worldwide. Broner solutions are widely used by some of the world’s top metals companies, such as: ArcelorMittal; Gerdau Group; Nippon Steel; Norandal Severstal, Tata Steel; ThyssenKrupp Steel and Usiminas. Broner Metals Solutions is part of Hyperion Systems Engineering Ltd.

react better to changes in customer demands




May 2011




lanning Success story

Everlast builds

a championship company with new product lines Since sourcing Demand Solutions FM and RP, Everlast has benefitted from major improvements in demand forecast management, requirements planning and resupply. verlast was founded in 1910 by


Jacob Golomb, a swimmer who wanted to produce swimwear that would last more than one season. The company dropped the

swimming suits but became the best-known name in boxing. That happened after Jack Dempsey walked into Golomb’s sporting goods store and asked him to make protective headgear that would last through

diversification, Everlast realised it needed a

15 rounds of intensive training. After Dempsey

more efficient software backbone able to

Greater visibility

won the heavyweight championship in 1919

facilitate major improvements in demand

While Bed, Bath and Beyond and Sharper

with gloves made by Golomb, Everlast

forecast management, requirements planning

Image handle some of the more unusual

became the leading name in boxing

and resupply. With these requirements in

products, Everlast sells most of its goods

equipment around the world, a position it still

mind, it contacted Demand Solutions.

through the major sporting goods stores and

enjoys. The company has been on a roll

The past few years have seen the Everlast

through broad-based consumer outlets such

under Seth Horowitz who was appointed

brand move in a number of new directions. In

as Wal-Mart, Sears, Target and Kmart. The

chairman and CEO late in 2005, at the age of

the women’s marketplace, for example, it now

growing number of sales outlets is mirrored

29. Indeed, Horowitz was named one of ‘25

sells equipment in women’s sizes for aerobic

on the supply side as Everlast expands the

Leaders to Watch’ by Sports Edge Magazine.

boxing. Gloves are available in pink and other

number of overseas manufacturers it relies

Due to a sizeable level of product and market

‘feminine’ colours. Among other products

on. Joe Epstein, Everlast’s vice president,





May 2011

introduced over the

supply chain, commented that this level of

past few years is a

diversification naturally makes extra demands


on the company’s demand forecasting and

punching bag; sold at

planning regime. “My job is getting more

Sharper Image and

complicated, which is why we are

designed for workers

implementing the tools that will gives us the

who want to take out

visibility we need,” he said. Epstein explained

their frustrations at

that in the past, the company had been a little

the office. And in

antiquated in the way it forecast demand –

addition to working

“Excel and a whole lot of feel”. He pointed out

with retailers who

that Everlast wanted to be “more scientific

operate outside the

about it”, and therefore decided to source

usual sporting goods

Demand Solutions.

arena, Everlast has

A large percentage of the company’s stock is

also been busy

imported from China in the form of finished

expanding its

goods and raw materials, while sub-

marketing to specific

assemblies that are sewn in Missouri. One

groups in the athletics

specialised fabric for gloves, bags and gym


mats comes from Israel. Epstein said lead



lanning Success story

times are 90 to 120

In the women’s marketplace, Everlast now sells equipment in women’s sizes for aerobic boxing. Gloves are available in pink and other ‘feminine’ colours.

days. “We definitely depend on forecasting,” he said. “If we are off,

forecasts – a

the chance to change their lives and the lives

it has a ripple effect on


of the people they love forever. Produced by

our inventory and inhibits our


Mark Burnett, Jeffrey Katzenberg and

check that

ability to meet commitments to our


retail partners.” Epstein added that


compensating for poor forecasts with air

Northeast runs at

freight isn’t a real alternative because

new installs –

Everlast goods are so bulky.

Sylvester Stallone, it has aired under the ESPN Original Entertainment banner. Horowitz said the show generated considerable excitement for Everlast among both consumers and retailers. The enthusiasm was

Demand Solutions was initially recommended

based on raw

mirrored by the show’s producers. “Through

to Everlast by its SVP of manufacturing, Tom

data. “We were

our partnership with Everlast we are looking

Higgerson, who had used the software at a

within 2 per cent

forward to continuing to build innovative

of our independent

previous company. Impressed by working

revenue projections

with Demand Solutions Northeast and how the

marketing platforms as well as deliver creative television that will captivate our viewers on a

software can substantially improve inventory

even before we cleaned the data, and that

weekly basis,” said Mark Burnett.

management, Higgerson pointed out its

was a very pleasant surprise,” Epstein

Epstein said the company has enjoyed a

benefits to Everlast. Epstein and Higgerson

pointed out. He likes to think of Demand

close relationship with The Contender’s

then met with Demand Solutions’ Bill

Solutions as a niche product that is very

producers. “When they have done their

Whiteside to see if the software would meet its

comprehensive, while other products the

product planning they have made us a big

business requirements. “The Demand

company evaluated just didn’t meet its

part of it, so we do get a heads up on their

Solutions guys are bright,” said Epstein, “and

specific business needs. “Demand Solutions

equipment needs,” he said. Epstein added

they are capable of describing the software to

wanted to get hands on and learn our

that sales rise after shows, and this doesn’t

a lay person and explaining how it would help

business to help with a successful

just equate to sales of goods to boxers. He

aggregate our demand.” He added that the

implementation,” he explained. “They

concluded: “Everlast is really built on

application is very user friendly. “If you can

achieved that, and we are very pleased with

strength, dedication, individuality and

use Excel, you can use this software, but its

the results. We think it will help us keep our fill

authenticity, and that is relevant to most, if not

functionality dwarfs Excel’s,” he remarked.

rates at 99 or 100 per cent, and that is our

all, sports. So any sports activity in the area of

Everlast sent its VP of supply chain and its

goal. We are very, very pleased with our

those four traits is fair game for Everlast.” 

primary forecaster to a regional Demand


Solutions users’ group meeting in Baltimore. asking questions and learning about the

Unpredictable market

software’s capabilities.

Most of the company’s

They spent two days talking to current users,

product comes in through

Quick start

Long Beach, CA and then

It helped that a Demands Solutions specialist

travels by train to Kansas

had already written an interface to MAS200,

City for trucking to Moberly,

the host system that Everlast uses, so the

MO where Everlast has a

company could make a quick start and see

factory for final assembly

major improvements in speed and accuracy

and its main warehouse. Like

within a short timeframe. In the past, said

many retail suppliers,

Epstein, it took 24-48 hours, even a week, to

Everlast faces an

roll up all the projections from sales reps. Now

unpredictable market. In its

the company has a starting point within half

case, the latest Rocky movie

an hour. “It gives you more data more quickly

or the TV show Contender

in a very presentable format than we have

can create a boost in sales.

ever had access to before,” he explained,

Everlast was a leading

“and that gives us more time to ask questions.

sponsor of The Contender,

We can really focus in on our opportunities

an unscripted reality TV

and our potential stumbling blocks.” At a

drama about the lives, fears

meeting on the second day of using DS FM,

and hopes of 16 professional

executives asked to take a look at revenue

boxers as they compete for




May 2011




lanning Interview

Taking sharper business and operational control with IBP Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with CSC’s John Elkin about the Integrated Business Planning concept, and how it can better enable organisations to make supply chain-related decisions against a background of overall company profitability.

n challenging economic conditions, many

depends on knowledge of future demand,

organisations are rightly looking for

hence the need for an increased focus on

effective methodologies that are able to

forecasting and planning.” According to

manage their performance better by

Elkin, a better integrated approach to

being smarter and more agile. One

planning is needed to handle a range of


relatively new concept that sets out to achieve

factors. First, there is increased global

just that is Integrated Business Planning (IBP).

competition to consider. “Organisations must

This has links with Sales & Operations

differentiate products and services in

Planning (S&OP), which has been well

response to predatory competitive

established now for the past couple of

pressures, and greater agility is needed to

decades. So how can IBP be clearly

respond rapidly to volatility in demand and

differentiated from its forerunner? According

supply,” he said.

to CSC’s John Elkin, IBP is all about taking S&OP to the next level. “Whereas S&OP is often seen as a quite short-term operational process – about setting targets for the year end, IBP is a more strategic concept, and is in essence a combination of operational processes concerning supply and demand together with processes that are focused on undertaking an overall financial health check

Giving all participants access to common data creates ‘one version of the truth’ and therefore encourages greater consensus and understanding within the organisation as a whole.”

John Elkin: IBP is about taking S&OP to the next level.

longer and as global competition for resources grows it becomes increasingly

for the business. So IBP is really about

difficult to control costs,” he pointed out. But

making sure supply chain-related decisions are being made against a background of

And what of economic uncertainty?

arguably the most critical business

overall company profitability.”

“Executives have changed the way they

component of all is the overall financial

manage their businesses,” said Elkin, “and

health of the company in question. This,

this situation has highlighted challenges and

states Elkin, depends on the precise internal

Intricate web

created demand for adaptable planning and

alignment of business processes, and in

Why is IBP so relevant and timely for

forecasting as organisations seek to manage

having the confidence that forecasts and

companies operating in today’s

their demand to drive profitability.” He also

targets are achievable.

marketplace? Elkin observes that many

maintains that a strong focus on the

economic factors are now connected in an

customer must be sacrosanct. “Long-term

intricate web of global economics. “This, in

success depends on maximising the value of

Taking control

turn, means that the risk environment in

existing relationships and reducing the

With a view to keeping on top of the business

which companies operate has also

competitive threat to a loyal customer base,”

and operational challenges cited above, Elkin

changed,” he said. “The stakes are

remarked Elkin. Then there are operating

explains that IBP – and the proven software

dramatically raised on any decision that

costs to consider. “As supply chains become

solutions that put it into action – can pull





May 2011



lanning Interview

together complex and disparate business planning and forecasting methodologies; thereby directing efforts more efficiently and aligning all business and operational activities with the company’s overall corporate strategy. “This holistic approach gives decision-makers the flexibility and insight to improve business resilience and be better prepared for ongoing change,” he said. The challenge, believes Elkin, is how best to enable IBP by combining flexible business processes with investment in enriching applications.

Single version of the truth Elkin maintains that the key components of IBP are straightforward. “Most businesses operate them already but often in isolation,” he said, “and they rely on spreadsheets to pull them together rather than take an integrated approach.” So which processes need to be better integrated? According to Elkin the key ones are as follows: •

Product Development, which determines a product strategy to provide long-term

IBP – and the proven software solutions that put it into action – can pull together complex and disparate business planning and forecasting methodologies; thereby directing efforts more efficiently and aligning all business and operational activities with the company’s overall corporate strategy.

stability and manages the products

through their full lifecycle from inception

focus is often operational, Elkin believes these

of an effective IBP solution. He also explained

to withdrawal.

processes should also support longer-term

that Oracle has recently announced

strategic decisions.

integration between its Hyperion financial planning application and its Demantra

Sales and Revenue Planning, which sets financial targets, based on sales

“IBP combines all these processes, which

demand management tool; providing a solid

strategies, product introductions and

ensures the financial implications of decisions

foundation for IBP. Other applications within

marketing initiatives.

are always to the fore,” said Elkin. “Giving all

Oracle’s portfolio that are able to contribute to

participants access to common data creates

an effective IBP infrastructure include Agile,

Demand Planning, which predicts product

‘one version of the truth’ and therefore

Strategic Network Optimisation and Advanced

demand based on historical trends and

encourages greater consensus and

Planning Command Centre.

an understanding of the way in which the

understanding within the organisation as a

marketplace is evolving – often in


approach is the most effective way forward,”

partners. •

“In our experience, implementing forecasting and planning solutions by taking an iterative

consultation with customers and other

Integrated approach

said Elkin. “An analysis of your current

Supply Planning, which determines the

Elkin explains that traditional planning

processes can identify the areas where

materials and resources needed to match

solutions have focused on either financial

improvements can be most rapidly achieved,

this demand, and may seek to minimise

budgeting or bottom-up demand planning. “In

and these are targeted first. This iterative

the associated costs.

order to deliver a comprehensive IBP

approach is supported by our industry-

methodology it is necessary to combine these

recognised best-practice Catalyst

Sales and Operations Planning

two, and also to incorporate support for

methodology. CSC has the skills and

processes, which seek to balance supply

strategic decision making, in a consistent

capabilities to help businesses assess their

and demand; giving management visibility

environment,” he said. In terms of software

current position, strengths and weaknesses,

of imbalances, and often control

vendors within the current IBP market space,

and is able to propose an incremental route

allocation of available products when

Elkin pointed out that Oracle is one example

towards sharper business and operational

demand exceeds supply. Although the

of a vendor that can provide all the elements

planning through IBP.” 




May 2011




lanning Success story

Planning for

customer diversification Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with Johnny Hughes, Business Development Manager of Ortec UK, about the company’s planning & optimisation software portfolio and how the company’s traditional transport and distribution customer base is being successfully expanded into a range of additional sectors. rtec is a provider of advanced

take-up within a range of other market

fully understood and complied with.” So what

planning & optimisation

verticals; including healthcare and public

of the core solutions themselves? Hughes

software solutions and

services. “We believe part of this increasing

provides a general overview:

consulting services

interest in our planning and optimisation

worldwide. Its solutions are

solutions outside of the transport and


aimed at facilitating optimised fleet routing

distribution markets has been due to pressure

and dispatch, vehicle and pallet loading,

from UK Government and Local Government

Inventory Routing & Demand Forecasting

strategic & tactical route planning, demand

to cut costs and increase productivity,” said

“Ortec solutions enable you to implement

forecasting & inventory routing and workforce

Hughes. “Healthcare providers and public

vendor-managed inventory agreements and

scheduling. In the area of advanced planning

and professional services are noticing that

control stocks at your customers, greatly

solutions, Ortec has over 1450 customers

because these types of software systems and

enhancing service levels,” said Hughes. “Fully

globally. Two years ago the company

related services work so well within the trade,

embedded within its transport and distribution

established Ortec UK in order to directly

transport and logistics sector, the same core

solutions, our solutions help bridge the gap

serve the company’s ever-growing number of

planning and optimisation principles can

between planning and execution while

UK customers. Indeed, since its launch it has

improve and optimise planning activities in

maintaining compliance, efficiency and

already tripled Ortec’s UK installed base.

their own markets too. Ortec’s workforce


scheduling and resource planning solutions – For some time, Ortec’s customer base in the

already widely used on the continent by

UK has largely consisted of companies active

hospitals, community healthcare providers

Advanced Planning

within the transport and distribution sectors.

and public and professional services – allow

Ortec vehicle routing and dispatch solution

However Ortec UK’s Johnny Hughes

the end user to plan and optimise people and

for distribution and transport is a tool that

explained that although these market

allocate work to correct available resources.”

aids route planning in a wide range of

segments still account for a sizeable number of users, there has been growing interest and

logistical planning levels from strategic and According to Hughes, the whole area of

tactical to operational and execution.

system customisation is key for Ortec in all its

Hughes comments that Ortec’s solutions

vertical market segments. “Customisation and

deliver competitive advantage that goes

overall customer service is certainly one of

beyond the capabilities of ERP, TMS or WMS

our core USPs,” he said. “Although we offer a

systems. Key features include:

variety of ‘off-the-shelf’ products we are able to look at a particular customer’s operations

and customise the solution to be the very best




May 2011


fit possible. And, as well as the core solutions

Scalable architecture.

themselves, we have all the technical

Combining of batch planning

expertise in-house to ensure users’ needs are


Multi-user in a multi divisional




lanning Success story

with real time execution. •

Real-time resource management.

Workforce Scheduling

Fully intermodal.

A company’s workforce is its most valuable

Flexible resource planning.

asset but also one of its largest expenses.

Advanced mapping congestion.

Hughes comments that optimal workforce scheduling therefore aims to improve efficiency and effectiveness; however its most

Waste Management

important purpose is to improve motivation

Ortec has developed specific software

and sociological aspects. “Ortec provides the

solutions dedicated to the design and

support necessary to meet these goals,”

planning of waste management collection

Hughes remarked. “Ortec Workforce

circuits. Hughes elaborated: “A true

Scheduling allows you to quickly respond to

decision support tool, Ortec’s Waste

ad hoc disturbances in your planning; for

Management solutions cover all the steps

example as a result of sickness or unforeseen

entailed in organising collection rounds

work. In addition, Ortec accurately registers

with a view to reducing operating costs

actual hours worked as well as levels of

Hughes concluded: “What’s important for

and improving the quality of service for

sickness and absenteeism. Ortec crew

Ortec is not just providing products that are

both Industrial and Residential waste

scheduling functionality supports everything

rich in functionality and capability, it’s also

collection. This tool also makes it easy to

from creating tasks and shifts, generating

about working closely with customers in a

produce simulations and impact

crew rosters and workstation assignment, to

growing range of vertical sectors in order to

measurements. With a large client base on

vacation planning and determining cyclical

ensure the solutions we offer are the very best

the continent and growing pressure on

rosters. It also takes into account employee

fit for their requirements – this is a number

local councils to reduce costs, we expect

preferences, employee qualifications and

one priority for us and something that we

waste management solutions to become

labour regulations to ensure service level

believe differentiates us in our core end-user

increasingly popular in the UK.”

agreements (SLAs) are continuously met.”

market sectors.” 

Ortec’s workforce scheduling and resource planning solutions – already widely used on the continent by hospitals, community healthcare providers and public and professional services – allow the end user to plan and optimise people and allocate work to correct available resources.

Resource Plann Resource R Planning ning and O Optimisation since ptimisation sin nce 1981 Benefits Include: Reduction in km  m driven Incr Increase ease in pr productivity od ductivity  Reduced paper flows Incr Increased eased driverr and vehicle utilisation Emissions missions Lowers CO2 Em   Incr  Increased eased dr drop op size or rreduced educed number of deliveries Contr Controlled olled stock k levels Real-time contr  control o of drivers and vehicles ol ORTEC OR TEC of offers fffers Adv Advanced vanced Solutions for: V Vehicle e ehicle Routing & Scheduling Strategic Netwo  Network ork Planning T Tactical actical Route Planning a P Demand Plannin  Planning ng & For Forecasting ecasting Pallet and Load Building W  Workforce o orkforce Sche Scheduling eduling

ORTEC OR TEC | The Old V Vicarage icarage | Market Str Street eet | Castle C Donington | Derbyshir Derbyshire e DE742JB D | +44(0)845 180 0689 | www www.ortec.com .ortec.com IT www.logisticsit.com MANUFACTURING

May 2011




lanning Success story

The perfect

S&OP remedy

Chiesi has reduced inventory by 15 per cent and improved forecast accuracy following a European Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) rollout with the help of TXT.

he Chiesi Group, founded in


across all affiliates, synchronised demand

Parma in 1935, is today an

and supply, as well as reduced stock outs

international success in the

and obsolescent inventory through greater

pharmaceutical marketplace. With

forecast accuracy.

global operations consisting of 22

Corrado Snaiderbaur, Chiesi’s corporate

direct affiliates, 3 manufacturing sites and 4

demand manager, pointed out that the

research centres, the group has over 3000

implementation of TXT was an indispensable

employees. The 4 research & development

prerequisite for S&OP. “For successful S&OP

sites (Italy, France and the US) employ more

you need systems, processes and people,”

than 300 people, while the 3 manufacturing

he said. “We began by redefining our

facilities employ around 600 people. Chiesi’s

processes, we then involved our teams and

technologies and products are available in

finally selected TXT e-solutions as our

over 50 countries through a strategic alliance

preferred technology. TXT has proven

Regulated minimum production lots.

network of international pharmaceutical

effective in delivering the S&OP process we

Products with a varying shelf life – risk of

groups developed both on a global and local

had mapped out.”

Large product portfolios to accommodate national variances.

expiration. •


A variable demand for promoted products.

One system, one vision

Decision-making support, not just reporting

In order to support planning in such a

The Chiesi Group’s growth has been achieved

Specifically, explained Snaiderbaur, Chiesi

complex environment, as well as improve

over time through both incremental sales and

needed visibility on sales forecasts. “We

overall visibility, Chiesi selected TXTDemand

through acquisitions. This growth has naturally

looked for a solution which not only allowed us

and TXTPlan; two solutions which are part of

fuelled the need for process standardisation.

to see the data but could also help in efficiently

the TXTPerform suite for Demand & Supply

The effort that took place was part of a

generating those numbers,” he said. “We also

Chain Management. The two solutions – now

significant process re-engineering project

adopted the same approach with the

at an advanced stage of implementation and

based on Sales & Operations Planning

management of our replenishment and

currently being used by over 80 employees

(S&OP). Chiesi approached S&OP with the

inventory processes.” The pharmaceutical

respectively – support collaborative Demand

following objectives: process formalisation

sector is particularly complex and features:

Forecasting, synchronised to Replenishment





May 2011



lanning Success story

Planning for a closed-loop Sales & Operations

immediately available. We appreciate the ability

impressive results.Within a year of the 2007

Planning process.

of TXTDemand to produce financial information

S&OP rollout in Germany and UK, Chiesi saw

as well” Demand forecasts obtained with

inventory levels reduced by 15 per cent and a

TXTDemand become input for replenishment

30 per cent improvement in MAPE (Mean

planning, which is executed with TXTPlan.

Absolute Percentage Error). In its second year

The solution “Through the use of the TXT solutions we

and following the successful rollout to France

initially achieved a key benefit for the project of

and Spain, Chiesi reported a further 15 per

improved visibility over our subsidiaries.”

cent reduction in inventory and an additional 20

Commented Snaiderbaur. “Today we have a single database which gathers daily information from all countries. These are made available and elaborated through TXTDemand and TXTPlan.”.Snaiderbaur added that beyond the benefit of visibility, with support from TXTDemand the group has also improved its Demand Forecast generation process. “TXTDemand is an effective tool which connects perfectly to the needs of the

Right from the start, I knew that TXT’s technology, together with our commitment to S&OP practices, would yield significant results for the business, but I must say those results have exceeded my expectations.” – Corrado Snaiderbaur, Chiesi Farmaceutici.

per cent improvement in MAPE across all live regions with peaks of 41 per cent. This has brought a significant ROI to the company and continued value to the project. With the help of S&OP and a formalised calculation of MAPE, Chiesi has also put in place a structured safety stock calculation based on forecast accuracy. Visibility of forecast accuracy by item allows Chiesi to define safety stocks at an SKU level. The

forecasting process,” he said. “Forecasts today are based more on data analysis and less on

The solution supports Chiesi in the

subsequent reduction in working capital and

each planner’s specific experience. The

management of safety stocks, minimum orders

inventory value (the latter being a key financial

solution allows for the periodical revision of

and expiring inventories while ensuring the right

KPI of the S&OP project) has brought

plans which before was difficult to obtain with

level of visibility across stock levels for every

outstanding benefits to Chiesi. The company

such a rigid approach. Moreover, when forecast

country. The implementation of the two TXT

reports that it has strengthened the level of

revisions are carried out, a gap analysis with

solutions, together with Chiesi’s own effort to

executive commitment as well as contributed to

respect to the end-of-year budgets are

revise its internal processes, is now producing

S&OP becoming part of the company DNA. 




May 2011



Creative Group has a reputation for completing the difficult jobs that many other companies do not want to tackle.


lanning Success story

Seiki Systems provides increased machining capacity for the Creative Group Since implementing Seiki Systems powerful real-time graphical scheduling software, the Creative Group has dramatically cut lead times and improved its on-time delivery to customers, as well as effectively increasing its production capacity without purchasing additional manufacturing equipment. are delivering consistently on time is a

ithin its 11,500 ft2 facility in


Worthing, West Sussex,

Top floor to shop floor

secondary consideration because a £100 part

the Creative Group

At the start of 2010, Seiki Systems’ scheduling

which is guaranteed to be on time may affect

employs 28 highly skilled

software was initially installed, but it exposed

a customer’s £500,000 project further down

staff in a lean

too many problems in the business in terms of

the line. So for the customer on-time delivery

manufacturing environment to generate a

inaccurate legacy data. The brave decision

is more critical. For such customers we

turnover of £2.8 million. Originally established

was made to turn off the software to correct

operate a kanban system to ensure that the

in 1970, the company initially supported the

the background data before going ‘live’ again

demand is being fed from our resources in

instrumentation industry. This expertise was

with Seiki Systems. Having invested the time

the factory. The only way we can manage that

then augmented with the introduction of parts

and effort in improving all aspects of the

effectively is through Seiki Systems software.”

and assemblies such as coupling, joints and

production information the company started

valves for the vacuum industry.

running Seiki Systems software behind the

With Progress Plus MRP software already in

scenes in June 2010; giving the scheduled

use across the company it was vital that the

The Creative Group’s customer base is

production information to the works foreman

new scheduling software could communicate

spread evenly across many of the most

as spreadsheets for continuity. Then, in

accurately. “For us Progress Plus is the right

demanding industry sectors; including

October 2010 the software went live for

tool to run the administration of the business,”

medical which accounts for 22 per cent,

everybody to see and use – from the top floor

said operations manager, Mike Dean. “Many

aerospace at 23 per cent, vacuum and

to the shop floor.

people get confused and think that the MRP system runs the whole business – it doesn’t.

pressure instrumentation also at 23 per cent and 10 per cent each for semiconductor and

Since then the improvements to the business

You need a proper scheduling system to run

process instrumentation sectors – the

performance have been dramatic. Williams

the production of the business and that’s what

remaining is for general engineering.

again: “As a business tool Seiki Systems has

people forget. Seiki Systems provides that link

exposed the opportunities for improvement

to the shop floor.”

While this spread provides some protection

and has given the top-level management the

against demand fluctuations it does come

time to focus on the things that can increase

with its own set of problems. For example

our capacity, making us more efficient. This is

Predicting problems

batch sizes range typically between 1 and 50

being reflected by significant additional

Seiki Systems allows the Creative Group to

and rarely go over 200. “The high variety of

orders coming from our existing customers

predict problems and also load potential

complex work going through the workshop

because we are now 95 per cent on time with

customer capacity for jobs that have a high

did cause problems for us,” said production


probability of coming in. Also, if a number of jobs have been quoted for using a standard

manager, Kevin Williams. “We had traditionally used spreadsheets to plan production, but

He continued: “The customer doesn’t need to

lead time and the load on the workshop

even the best spreadsheet in the world could

know how you operate internally they are

increases the detailed capacity planning in

only cover say two weeks ahead, anything

more interested in price, delivery and quality,

the software provides us with accurate

longer and there are far too many variables to

but not necessarily in that order. Delivery and

delivery forecasts. “As a business tool we are


quality come first. Price, actually, when you

looking forward to using it when we achieve





May 2011



lanning Success story

For a number of years

feel like we have around 15 per cent more

the Creative Group has

capacity, without employing any extra people

been using its MRP

or investing in any more machines. And that is

system for shop floor

a conservative estimate because the lead

data collection, so the

time for a majority of work going through has

operator logs on the

been cut from 8 to 10 days down to 3 to 5

job, logs off the job,

days. Now customers can get parts to us to

puts the quantities

be worked at the last minute and we turn

through including

them around.”

scrap, and that data

The Creative Group uses Seiki Systems’ advanced scheduling software to improve production efficiency and capacity.

gets fed back and

There are five discreet sections operated by

compared to the sales

the company that are scheduled using Seiki

order. Seiki Systems

Systems. They are currently set at an

engineers have

efficiency of 75 per cent throughout the

integrated their SFDC

factory, but most of them are running at 87.5

with Progress Plus,

per cent with one section highlighted as

which seamlessly

requiring some engineering input. Seiki

our target of filling the order book up to 12

keeps all the production data aligned and up

Systems has allowed the management to

months ahead,” said Dean. “Traditionally we

to date.

focus the company in the direction it feels best, allowing management to macro manage

only saw 6-10 weeks ahead. Now we have changed the sales operation to fulfil at least

“Prior to going live with the software most of

rather than micro manage all aspects of the

50 per cent of our order book a year ahead.

our phone calls from customers centred on

business for future growth. It is continually

This enables us to plan better and know

them chasing parts that were late,” explained

growing in terms of how the Creative Group

where we are standing, and Seiki Systems

Williams. “Today, most of the calls are for new

uses it, bringing the purchase order to invoice

helps us manage the stock of 750-plus items

enquiries. Since we have been using the

processes as close together as possible

which operate within the kanban systems.”

software the additional throughput makes it

without compromising on quality. 




May 2011




Product news

LXE introduces the Thor vehiclemount computer XE, part of EMS Technologies'


The replacement front panel maintains

Global Resource Management

consistent IP 66 protection against water

business unit, has launched the

and dust.

Thor vehicle-mount computer, targeting multiple logistics

The computer automatically recognises any changes to keyboard configuration.

applications. The Thor computer houses an Intel Atom processor that features a dual operating system of either Windows Embedded Standard or Windows Compact

Quick-mount smart dock

Embedded and is the newest vehicle-mount

Thor computer end users can rapidly detach

computer to use the half-screen, full keypad

the device from its vehicle-mount hardware,

form factor that LXE pioneered over three

presenting many advantageous features:

decades ago.

The Thor computer can be removed from vehicle-mount with one hand.

The Thor’s front panel can be changed within minutes with a screwdriver.

"The Thor vehicle-mount computer is capable of providing unprecedented gains in ROI,"

The unit will remain powered-up for up to 30 minutes via battery backup.

said Dino Koutrouki, vice president and general manager, EMS Global Resource Management. "Technology delivers ROI when

Enterprises can deploy quick-mounting

it allows resources — both human and capital

hardware on all forklifts and deploy the

— to be invested in profit-generating areas,

portable computers only on forklifts

instead of in the maintenance or usage of the

currently in use.

technology itself. The Thor is purpose-built for businesses to achieve immediate, measurable

IT departments are able to quickly detach the Thor computer for software updates.

ROI results." The Thor computer offers three

Quick-mount smart dock: Thor computer end users can rapidly detach the device from its vehicle-mount hardware.

unprecedented patent-pending features: a field-replaceable front panel, a quick-mount

Thor computers are easily transferred between forklifts for maintenance as required.

smart-dock and an ignition control.

Field-replaceable front panel

Ignition control

With ordinary vehicle-mount computers, any

The Thor vehicle-mount computer's ignition

significant damage to front panels can require

control function can save valuable minutes

end users to return the entire computer to the

during start-up when an operator is required

manufacturer for front-panel replacement, or

to leave the forklift, adding up to significant

to purchase an entirely new unit. Now, with

labour cost savings:

the introduction of the Thor computer, users

are offered more flexibility, as well as time and

The unit starts up with the forklift ignition, saving the operator an extra step.

cost savings through its innovative, fieldreplaceable front panel feature: •


Preferences may be set to sleep, shut

The panel can be changed within minutes

down, or stay powered up on battery

with a screwdriver.

backup when the forklift powers down. 




May 2011



© 20 2011 11 LXE. LXE X All rights s reserved. reserved


Quickk M Mount Smart S Dock c

Field-Replaceable e a b Front Fr Panel e

Ignition Igniti onn Control & Auto-On


3 Pat Patent-pending tent-pending t d Features. F u 2 Ope erating t Systems System S m too choose ms o from. frrom. rom Operating 1st of o its Kind.. See S ee how o the Th Thor hor o V Vehicle ehicle e Mount C Compute Computer er can cchange hange g your e enterprise e by scanning n opposite wit with h your y barcode barcodec enabled e device e or by visiting i www www.lxe.com/thor. w.lxe.com/thor / .

www.lxe.com/thor www w .lx xe.com/thor e r

Warehouse Management


CROSSORTER 1500 is built with sustainable materials, consisting of technical or biological nutrients that are safe and healthy for humans and the environment.

Product news

Vanderlande demonstrates innovative new material handling solutions for retailers at CeMAT 2011 Jan Hulsmann: “At CeMAT, we showed how our innovative material handling solutions enable retailers to reduce out-of-stock, increase speed-to-shelf, and ensure on-time delivery and efficient in-store logistics …” t CeMAT 2011, held on 2 to 6 May in Hannover, Germany, Vanderlande Industries presented a number of new material handling solutions, which enable food retailers to empower their stores and streamline their warehouse operations.


Goods-to-man item picking system with the PICK@EASE workstation Vanderlande demonstrated its goods-to-man item picking concept CPS with the PICK@EASE workstation. This is especially suited to the slower moving items in the retailer’s product range; such as personal care products like shampoo and tooth paste. It is claimed that, with this high performance ergonomic workstation, operators can achieve a sustainable high performance of 900 order lines per hour. “Within a goods-to-man concept goods are automatically retrieved from an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), so the amount of walking warehouse personnel have to do is substantially reduced,” explained Vanderlande’s general manager Distribution, Parcel & Postal, Jan Hulsmann. “Goods picking is made much easier, quicker and better coordinated, with greater throughput 40




May 2011

and much less risk of picking errors. In fact, productivity can be increased by threefold or fourfold compared to previous methodologies. Also, due to the ease of use of CPS with the PICK@EASE workstation, new warehouse personnel can learn how to the use it within minutes rather than hours due to the selfexplanatory nature of the system.” Hulsmann added that many ergonomic improvements have also been built in to this new system. “Warehouse personnel often perform activities, which can put a lot of strain on their backs, arms and legs. Therefore, this solution has for example been designed to work at the right height to make daily work processes not just more efficient but also more comfortable.”

reduced to the absolute minimum – from receiving goods to shipping goods. Goods are offloaded from the truck, they then get depalletised, moved to single cartons and then brought to the automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) where they are automatically placed. Then when a request is received for certain goods to be sent to one of the warehouses they are picked out in the right sequence and palletised – this process is all fully automated. This new solution offers a dramatic change in cost efficiency, in ergonomics, in store friendly delivery – everything that our customers need to achieve to empower their stores and streamline their warehouse operations through lower cost outlay, higher productivity, greater accuracy and energy efficiency.”

Additionally, an Ergonomics Workshop was organised on the stand. With the ‘XSense Suit’, visitors were able to see sustainable performance in a given situation immediately. With the Virtual Reality ‘Ergomix’, visitors themselves were able to test how certain types of workstations impact sustainable performance.

Automated Case Picking (ACP) Additionally, Vanderlande demonstrated its new fully Automated Case Picking (ACP) solution especially developed to handle retailers’ fast moving goods. With ACP, a reduction of 40 per cent in order picking costs per case can reportedly be achieved. “Our ACP solution fully automates the handling of cases, in a food retail distribution warehouse,” Hulsmann explained. “We set out to ensure that necessary manual work is

Vanderlande’s PICK@EASE workstation.


Warehouse Management

VISION warehouse Management System The VISION ‘Control Room’ showed the capabilities of the Warehouse Management System. As well as providing all the required functionality to manage the various everyday warehouse processes the system also includes a ‘Business Process Intelligence’ module to aid continuous process improvement.

Eco-friendly Continuing the environmental theme, Hulsmann pointed out that as well as helping its customers to save energy through the provision of highly efficient warehouse automation systems, Vanderlande as a company also constantly strives to be as ‘green’ as possible. “For example, we have a solar roof on our German office, and we all drive fuel-efficient cars in order to keep our CO2 emissions to a minimum,” he said. “We have also adopted the Cradle to Cradle design concept developed by Professor Michael Braungart, whereby we look carefully at our eco-effectiveness as a company; for example, carbon footprint reduction methods. And this finds its way into the actual products we

develop, such as the CROSSORTER 1500. It is built with sustainable materials, consisting of technical or biological nutrients that are safe and healthy for humans and the environment. It consumes 80 per cent less energy than conventional cross belt sorters, 99 per cent of the materials are easy to dismantle and recycle, 90 per cent of the materials used are environmentally friendly and the number of parts is reduced to an absolute minimum. We push the whole eco-friendly concept down our supply chain and always consider how the parts we source can be re-used or recycled after our systems have come to the end of their lifecycle. For this purpose, we always look to source for parts and materials that have high energy-efficiency ratings. Indeed over 90 per cent of the materials we use are now considered to be eco-friendly insofar as they can be easily dismantled and recycled. We also always strive to be as environmentally responsible in terms of how products are packaged and shipped.” Hulsmann concluded by saying consumers are becoming increasingly demanding; asking for competitive pricing, high availability on the shelves, a broad and attractive product range and a pleasant, convenient shopping


Product news

Vanderlande demonstrates Automated Case Picking (ACP). experience. “These requirements place a tough challenge on the retail stores and the retail warehouse processes of our customers. At CeMAT, we showed how our innovative material handling solutions enable retailers to reduce out-of-stock, increase speed-to-shelf, and ensure on-time delivery and efficient instore logistics, enabling the stores to focus on what they do best: serve customers.” 


DELIVER THE RIGHT PRODUCT ON TIME WITH SHORTER CYCLE TIMES, WHILE REDUCING COSTS Processing customer orders quickly and accurately has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and determines the success of your business. AS/RS, order picking, sortation, consolidation, Warehouse Control Systems. Find out what we can do for you at:





May 2011



Supply Chain Solutions

Prevent old stock from draining your working capital tock that is becoming obsolete poses a real risk to a company’s performance. It ties up valuable working capital that could be more usefully employed elsewhere in the business to generate value and can have a serious impact on the company’s balance sheet. In the current financial climate when companies are finding it harder than ever to raise capital and all managers are under pressure to reduce costs, obsolete stock is a cost best avoided.

S “

No-one likes to see money disappear into thin air, but that is effectively what will happen if you purchase parts that you never use … The cash used to purchase all that extra stock may well have been better used on expanding the business or bailing the company out of an emergency.” – Mark Garritt, ByBox.

The problem is especially acute for companies which face a challenge in keeping track of stock – for example companies that run large teams of field service engineers and who work to tight customer Service Level 42




May 2011

Agreement (SLAs). With stock spread between warehouses, forward stock locations and engineers’ vans, it is only too easy for such companies to overorder spare parts, for fear that an engineer might miss a 2 or 4 hour SLA for a repair because a part was unavailable.

Over-stocking – a waste of money and opportunities All this extra inventory costs money and while it lies unused in a warehouse or van its value on the company’s balance sheet will depreciate until it is written off altogether. “Noone likes to see money disappear into thin air, but that is effectively what will happen if you purchase parts that you never use,” said Mark Garritt, managing director of ByBox, the UK specialist in in-night parts distribution and field service solutions. “Over-stocking is literally a waste of money – and a waste of opportunities. The cash used to purchase all that extra stock may well have been better used on expanding the business or bailing the company out of an emergency. Especially in a recession, over-stocking makes no sense at all. Companies need as much financial flexibility as they can get.”

Freeing-up capital While some companies may be able sell their

obsolete spare parts to a broker, others in the technology sector will face additional costs for disposal of stock, under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. How can ByBox deliver a solution to the problem of stock obsolescence? By using ByBox’ network of 18,000 electronic drop boxes at 1350 locations, underpinned by ByBox’ Thinventory software platform, inventory management is linked to a solid dependable transport network delivering real-time control and visibility. Companies can free up capital invested in overstocking and save on running costs at the same time. ByBox delivers parts pre-8am to the nearest drop box or manned handover site to an engineer, ready for collection at the start of the working day, or pre-10am direct to site. Thinventory gives complete realtime visibility of the supply chain, making it easy to identify where the nearest suitable part is to service a new call, across all locations, including the engineers’ vans. This means that companies are able to reduce their stockholding and downsize their warehousing, FSL, transport and overhead charges.



Supply Chain

purchases and supporting customer SLAs. Additionally, by using the ByBox drop box network in reverse, engineers can return faulty parts which are still under warranty to the manufacturer, using one of ByBox’ bar coded Blackstripe labels which automatically route returns to the correct destination maximising claims. ByBox also operates a network of 29 Forward Stock Locations across the UK, which hold parts that may be urgently required. 

ByBox at a glance

Visibility, control and confidence Parts that are about to become obsolete – for example at the end of a particular customer service contract – can be readily pinpointed

then moved around the system to where they are required. Thinventory provides the visibility, control and confidence to operate a lean supply chain, reducing new stock

Founded in 2000 with the aim of simplifying supply chains, ByBox is one of the industry’s major success stories and now holds 70 per cent of the field services market and a host of blue chip customers including Coca Cola, Konica Minolta, Fujitsu and Computacenter.

We deliver when you’re not there… ...so you can pick up when you are ByBox specialises in providing field service supply chain solutions to businesses who operate field teams around the UK and Europe.

The ByBox model works by delivering in night pre 8am to a network of drop boxes around the UK. ByBox can provide warehousing, collections, stock management, distribution, returns, repair and engineering resource. All with 100% traceability on the unique Thinventory™ platform.




March 2011



Supply Chain

Success stories

Taking advantage of manufacturing growth K manufacturing would appear to be growing at its fastest annual pace in more than 16 years. In recent report from The Office of National Statistics the sector was shown as having grown by 6.8 per cent compared to this time last year. David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce commented: "The manufacturing recovery is gathering momentum, and this data supports our belief that economic growth is positive in the current quarter, after the setback at the end of last year." Two companies who are taking advantage of this growth today and investing in this growth for the future are Orangebox and VG Scienta.


The Orangebox story Orangebox is a successful office furniture company, helping clients create inspirational work environments. Orangebox has a turnover of £28 million with 190 employees spread over 3 sites in the UK. The company designs and manufactures all its products in the UK and has a large showroom in London. Orangebox has an increasing

We are very confident that Microsoft and Columbus IT is the ideal partnership. The R&D investment and long-term roadmap for Microsoft Dynamics gives me great assurance that we are investing in an IT platform that will grow with us long into the future. Columbus IT have outstanding expertise in both manufacturing and IT systems and they are a great fit personality wise.” – Ewan Tozer, Orangebox.





May 2011

international presence and already supports customers in Northern Europe, Middle East, Asia and Australia. Orangebox’s business is focused on two product platforms: high-performance task seating for intensive desk based work, and the company’s smartworking solution – a collection of soft seating, tabling, screens and pods that helps companies create great collaborative spaces. Both platforms offer a wide choice to customers and hence the business needs to be very agile in order to manage this complexity while still providing a responsive and reliable service. Taking advantage of the upturn in manufacturing, Orangebox has continued to invest in its IT department, which culminated in the decision to buy Dynamics AX at the beginning of 2011. Ewan Tozer, commercial director of Orangebox, explained: “We require a solution which is secure for the future, supports our growth plans and seamlessly integrates with our internal systems. We want to empower all users to access and capitalise on our information so we can make quicker and smarter decisions at both tactical & strategic levels.” Tozer continued: “We are very confident that Microsoft and Columbus IT is the ideal partnership. The R&D investment and longterm roadmap for Microsoft Dynamics gives me great assurance that we are investing in an IT platform that will grow with us long into the future. Columbus IT have outstanding expertise in both manufacturing and IT systems and they are a great fit personality wise.”

The VG Scienta story Established over 40 years ago, VG Scienta’s vacuum component business built a name for

Orangebox, a successful office furniture company, has continued to invest in its IT department, which culminated in the decision to buy Dynamics AX at the beginning of 2011. itself based on high quality and technical innovation in Ultra High Vacuum (UHV) applications, and continues to support the most technical and forward-thinking research institutions and manufacturers globally. VG Scienta has over 3000 standard products as well as a dedicated design department for R&D servicing a global network of offices and distributors in Americas, Asia pacific and Europe. VG Scienta set its sights on a 30 per cent organic growth plan. With this in mind the company knew it had to address the heart of the business and took the decision to replace its bespoke system with a fully integrated ERP solution. Engaging independent consultancy company Marlborough Management Group, a list of potential vendors was drawn up using its SpecIT toolset. Marlborough Management Group identified a shortlist of three solutions and Microsoft Dynamics AX was chosen after a detailed selection process. “As this is a Microsoft product it has a look and feel that will be familiar to many within the company, whilst being powerful enough to support our current and future business requirements,” said project manager Geoff Hicks. The first phase of implementation will provide


Success stories

functionality to improve areas such as planning, reporting and operational efficiency. Future planned phases will provide a complete end-to-end business solution. Chris Jackson, IT manager at VG Scienta, commented: “Our primary aim was to find a supplier that we could build a strong relationship with. The team from Columbus IT gave us more confidence in their ability to implement as they came with huge technical ability and product understanding as well as practical knowledge of the manufacturing industry.”

Supply Chain

Our primary aim was to find a supplier that we could build a strong relationship with. The team from Columbus IT gave us more confidence in their ability to implement as they came with huge technical ability and product understanding as well as practical knowledge of the manufacturing industry.” – Chris Jackson, VG Scienta.

Solid foundations for growth The manufacturing sector in the UK is in a healthy place, with 21 consecutive months of growth. However to take advantage of this growth, manufacturers need to ensure that they are able to grow with it. Too many companies have old disparate IT systems that are holding them back. The manufacturers who are investing in the future with fully integrated ERP solutions are able to drive operational efficiencies in the business, have greater visibility of their business and ultimately become a more competitive and successful business. 

Company news

Electronics distributor outsources E-commerce platform to GXS XS, a provider of business-tobusiness (B2B) e-commerce solutions, has announced that European IT distributor Esprinet has signed a fiveyear agreement for GXS Managed Services, a comprehensive portfolio of outsourced B2B services from GXS that includes mapping, on-boarding and technical support.


A wholesale distributor of IT and consumer electronics in Italy and Spain, Esprinet’s core business is delivering technology to over 40,000 resellers who typically address the


needs of small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs). With this network of trading partners, Esprinet wanted to drive down costs while increasing operational quality and productivity. To achieve these goals, the company is now deploying GXS Managed Services to replace Esprinet’s existing internal B2B platform. As part of this decision, Esprinet is consolidating its disparate B2B traffic, encompassing valueadded network, AS2 and Internet-based electronic trading, with GXS Trading Grid. Esprinet estimates that the adoption of GXS Managed Services will allow it to reduce the

costs of its B2B e-commerce network by 45 per cent. There are significant benefits to Esprinet beyond these cost savings. A key objective for the company was to enhance visibility across the business via a central point that would allow the company to track and monitor customer transactions in real time. GXS Managed Services is now delivering a dramatically improved level of visibility across incoming purchase orders. Finally, GXS Managed Services is expected to improve Esprinet’s ability to implement new connectivity and transactions requirements with customers and suppliers worldwide. 



May 2011



Supply Chain


Investing in growth Supply chain planning in the Cloud can help midsized businesses tackle their most pressing challenges and capitalise on expansion opportunities, writes Danny Halim, vice-president of Industry Strategies, JDA Software. s the economy rebounds, today’s midsized companies are in a uniquely challenging situation: they must drive innovation in both their products and internal processes while establishing a foundation for growth and keeping pace with increasing customer expectations. Simultaneously, any solution to help companies achieve this goal must deliver value fast – or they will never get out of the starting gate.


A recent IDC Manufacturing Insights report captured the dichotomy between lowering operational costs and driving innovation. When asked about the business priorities that would drive their IT investments, 38 per cent of midsized companies surveyed emphasised the importance of cost-cutting initiatives. Yet, top-line growth strategies such as higher sales volumes and faster product and service innovation were almost equally important to survey participants (36.7 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively). Given the IDC report findings, midsized companies must make aggressive, decisive investments that support their growth strategies and also deliver a rapid return on investment. But how can midsized companies balance the need to invest in future growth while managing increasing cost pressures? The answer lies in initiatives that quickly capitalise on opportunities to increase demand responsiveness and reduce costs to improve cash flow without interruption to the day-to-day business. Technology, implemented in a non-traditional way, can help midsized businesses seize such opportunities.

Looking beyond spreadsheets and legacy systems The implementation of supply chain planning solutions is an obvious way to identify improvement opportunities and drive down 46




May 2011

costs, thus generating cash flow from operations. But many midsized companies are missing out because of their persistent reliance on outdated tools. Typically, these tools consist of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and aging legacy systems that simply cannot match the speed and breadth of today’s supply chain complexities. Additionally, they cannot accurately forecast the trends and needs of the future. This forces the business to rely solely on the speed and experience of its people. There is no denying the value of relying on an experienced team, but at some point the team becomes overburdened with tactical, routine issues, leaving no time for strategic business planning. The right technology can help. Today’s supply chain planning solutions can gather and analyse huge volumes of information from across the supply chain in real time. This enables companies to quickly identify potential opportunities and automatically adjust the supply chain plans to deliver high service levels and uninterrupted cash flow. By offering forward-looking capabilities, supply chain planning tools also help companies mitigate business risks by avoiding customer service failures, out-ofcontrol inventory building and operational breakdowns.

Danny Halim: “Today’s supply chain planning solutions can help midsized companies make decisions quickly and more optimally so that they can improve cash flow and establish a solid foundation for growth as economic conditions improve.” to predict demand down to the customer and regional level. The company is also able to plan ahead of the demand curve by positioning inventory across its distribution centres and ordering the optimal amount of products from its suppliers in support of the demand. What used to take at least 30 minutes for planning each purchase order now only requires two to three minutes to complete. This allows the company to eliminate nonproductive inventory and use the freed-up working capital to invest in growth initiatives. Today, the business can quickly respond in real time to volatile customer demand. Not only has profitability and cash flow improved, but the company has increased service levels to 98 per cent. Stock-outs are at an all-time low, allowing the company to provide differentiated service to its retail customers.

Meeting an aggressive IT transition deadline

Managing at the speed of change A family-run food products company and JDA Software customer recently implemented supply chain planning solutions across its North American operations – and achieved impressive results. The company operates a very complex supply chain, delivering more than 1600 SKUs to thousands of retail customers through 14 distribution centres. The company has gained much needed visibility into its North American supply chain with the use of supply chain planning solutions

Formed as the result of the merging of two large companies, a leading laundry-care manufacturer and JDA customer needed to establish a new IT environment in five months. This aggressive IT overhaul included the replacement of the company’s mission-critical supply chain planning and fulfilment applications. Magnifying this challenge was the fact that the company only had three IT resources and lacked the physical space to house the hardware and servers required to run new systems.



Faced with a looming deadline and limited resources, the company opted to have JDA host solutions that would enable it to govern critical aspects of the business, including safety-stock levels and distribution network planning. With JDA managing the long-term, day-to-day running of its supply chain solutions, the manufacturer was able to meet its IT-transition deadline on time and on budget – and without any interruption to the business. In addition to the following benefits, the manufacturer boasts that it has not experienced any downtime since day one, all while supporting more than 150 users: •

Achieved ongoing cost savings associated with software, maintenance, network and infrastructure upgrades.

Gained innovative capabilities, fast response times and strong performance.

Secured a scalable infrastructure capable of supporting the most complex, multi-modal global network.

Taking huge strides for a small, lowrisk investment While there are hundreds of success stories like those just mentioned, many midsized companies may still be reluctant to implement new technology to manage their supply chains – perhaps fearing the financial and time investments needed to obtain world-class results. However, continuing advancements have made these powerful solutions faster and more cost effective to implement than ever before.

Getting started When determining whether or not to implement supply chain planning technology, JDA recommends that midsized businesses consider these critical strategies for increasing return on investment: 1. Focus on the most critical issues first Often, companies realise the biggest impact by simply making a small set of targeted improvements to their most significant supply chain pain points. Specific challenges they may choose to address include inaccurate forecasts, overstocks, missed deliveries or other roadblocks in their supply chain. Midsized companies should partner with their solutions provider to conduct an up-front value assessment that identifies a few critical areas for short-term improvement, as well as defines the potential returns. 2. Act quickly using existing data Midsized companies shouldn’t let concerns about data availability hold them back. Today’s supply chain planning solutions typically require only about 20 data points, which most businesses have at their disposal via existing spreadsheets and legacy systems. Such solutions can help these companies develop fully automated plans that will serve as the basis for making better, more informed decisions. 3. Improve supply chain planning without burdening IT

Supply Chain

provider’s experts to run the software for them. Supply chain planning in the cloud, in combination with a team of knowledgeable experts and a proven implementation methodology, allows companies to focus on adopting best-in-class supply chain processes that will drive value to their businesses. Additionally, such solutions can be implemented in as little as four months, resulting in a fast return on investment. 4. Ensure the solutionʼs functionality can scale As a company grows, demand for its product changes and market conditions shift, ultimately leading to greater supply chain complexity. To get the most from a technology investment, companies should assess the solution’s ability to scale as the business grows in volume and complexity. As improvements are made in specific areas of its operations, the company can move on to tackle new challenges – and meaningful results will begin to cascade across the entire supply chain. Today’s supply chain planning solutions can help midsized companies make decisions quickly and more optimally so that they can improve cash flow and establish a solid foundation for growth as economic conditions improve. By taking a speed-to-value deployment approach, companies will ensure that bottom-line benefits are achieved quickly with minimal risk to the business. 

Implementing new technology can be risky. Midsized companies can avoid interruption to their day-to-day business and unnecessary use of their own IT resources by relying on the solution

Midsized companies can avoid interruption to their day-to-day business and unnecessary use of their own IT resources by relying on the solution provider’s experts to run the software for them.




May 2011



Supply Chain

Success story

BASF selects Barloworld SCS supply chain modelling software Global chemical company, BASF, has selected Barloworld Supply Chain Software’s Cast supply chain modelling product to assist in rationalising its distribution facilities on a Europe-wide scale. ith close to 385 sites worldwide and customers and partners in almost every country, BASF required a solution to optimise its supply chain and enhance operational efficiency. “We were predominantly looking to streamline our European distribution network across more than 220 sites,” explained Markus Bölke, senior manager of European Logistics and Supply Chain Consulting for BASF. “Barloworld SCS presented BASF with Cast, a unique software system, which proved to be


Ewan French: “Globalisation … heightens the need for software capable of considering all components of the supply chain.”

the only package we considered capable of producing the results we were looking for.”

Calculating the total cost to market Barloworld Supply Chain Software (SCS) has developed its PC-based supply chain modelling software, Cast, to assist with global supply chain modelling, network design and optimisation. Cast is used to evaluate and identify the ‘preferred’ or optimal supply chain configuration and to calculate the total cost to market, leading to cost savings and service improvements.

“Globalisation brings greater complexity to a business, which heightens the need for software capable of considering all components of the supply chain,” said Ewan French, chief operating officer at Barloworld Supply Chain Software. Cast functionality facilitates global supply chain network modelling with mapping, locations and road network databases for any combination of countries. 

FP McCann meets EDI mandate deadlines with the help of Wesupply P McCann, a successful company within the UK building and civil engineering sectors, has moved to Wesupply’s OneTime EDI solution to meet stringent deadlines for complying with customer EDI mandates. Going live within four weeks, the company now has a fully-managed electronic trading service for its purchase order management process – improving customer collaboration and supply chain visibility.


“Speed of deployment for The OneTime solution was critical to us,” said Brian Law, IT manager at FP McCann. “We had numerous customer mandates to comply with, but one included a deadline of just four weeks. That deadline was met and we





May 2011

Speed of deployment for The OneTime solution was critical to us. We had numerous customer mandates to comply with, but one included a deadline of just four weeks. That deadline was met and we now share a common view of the full purchase order-to-invoice cycle with our customers.” – Brian Law, FP McCann.

now share a common view of the full purchase order-to-invoice cycle with our customers. In addition to enabling the realtime exchange of critical business documents, visibility across multiple customers helps us improve product availability and increases invoice-matching rates.” Jerry Quinn, sales director at Wesupply,

added: “Complying with customer mandates on electronic trading can be a major challenge for companies. I am delighted that we were able to take on that challenge for FP McCann and bring them onto the Wesupply platform within the four week window.” FP McCann will be using the Wesupply platform to automate the exchange of orders, invoices and advanced shipment notices with its customers. 


Success story

Printing & Labelling

Swiss Coop buys Citizen printers


itizen Systems Europe, the international manufacturer of POS, label, barcode and mobile printers, has received an order from the Swiss retailer Coop for over 7000 CT-S801 pointof-sale printers and 1700 CL-S621 label printers for shelf-edge labelling. Delivery to the co-operative company, one of the largest retailers in Switzerland, will be made during 2011. Citizen reports that ease of use and service were critical concepts in the Coop’s decision to choose Citizen. It added that the rugged construction and metal print mechanism of the CL-S621 and 300 mm per second print speeds of the CT-S801 gave Coop confidence in the products.

Multiple-language advantage According to Citizen, the integrated LCD panel of the CT-S801 is a major advantage in a multi-lingual country like Switzerland, allowing information to be displayed in multiple languages. Overall, the printers

require little setup time and enable higher productivity for employees at the counter and behind the scenes.

Wider choice "Citizen is one of the few manufacturers that offer both point-of-sale and label printers,” said Román Aresté, Citizen’s

The integrated LCD panel of the CT-S801 is a major advantage in a multi-lingual country like Switzerland, allowing information to be displayed in multiple languages.


sales manager for the Swiss region. “In all our printers we focus on usability and reliability, and this order is a reflection on our strategy of continuous investment in innovation and customer care.” 

CITIZEN SYSTEMS EUROPE AT A GLANCE Citizen Systems Europe operates from locations throughout Europe covering the EMEA region. It offers a wide range of printers for industrial, retail, healthcare and mobile applications specialising in label, barcode, portable and point-of-sale printers. In each case, the company’s products are sold and supported by a network of specialised partners. Citizen Systems Europe is a wholly owned subsidiary of Citizen Systems Japan and part of the Citizen group of companies, a global organisation that manufactures products ranging from its world-famous Eco-Drive watches, calculators, mini-printers and industrial printing systems to machine tools, quartz oscillators, LEDs and other electronic components.



May 2011



Printing & Labelling

Company news

Cognex makes permanent pit stop at Silverstone


ognex UK has officially opened its new head office based at Silverstone, Northamptonshire. Set within the world-renowned circuit at the home of British racing, the Silverstone Innovation Centre was chosen as the ideal location for an engineering and innovation driven company. The new office suite provides a conference room with an enviable view as well as a state-of-the-art training facility for vision seminars and workshops.

experiencing positive growth across the UK and Ireland markets. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding contribution our sales, support, research and development teams have provided to make this happen and we look forward to many successful years here.” In addition to the new office facilities, the Cognex team are reportedly delighted to be ideally located for the British Grand Prix later this year. 

The Cognex team at its new Silverstone office.

COGNEX AT A GLANCE Positive growth

Product news

Among a gathering of the UK and Ireland sales teams, Gasbar Ursan, senior regional sales manager for Central & Northern Europe, officially opened the new office. He commented: “The move to Silverstone comes at a time when Cognex is

Cognex Corporation designs, develops, manufactures and markets machine vision sensors and systems, or devices that can ‘see’. Cognex vision sensors and systems are used in factories around the world where they guide, inspect, gauge, identify and assure the quality of a wide range of items during the manufacturing process. Cognex has shipped more than 500,000 machine vision systems, representing over US$2.5 billion in cumulative revenue, since the company's founding in 1981. Headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, USA, Cognex has regional offices and distributors located throughout North America, Japan, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Printronix launches first family of line matrix printers under Tallygenicom brand


rintronix has launched its new TallyGenicom by Printronix branded printers, the first family of line matrix printers following the merger of the two brand names. The next generation TallyGenicom 6600 series enables customers to benefit from reduced total cost of ownership, improved reliability, productivity and environmental efficiency, while seamlessly integrating into current work flow environments. All models in the 6600 series are Energy Star qualified and are fully compatible, direct replacements for earlier TallyGenicom printers. The 6600 printer family includes the following new product offerings: The 6600Q Cabinet line matrix printer – configured in a fully enclosed sound reduction cabinet – offers a mission-critical line matrix printer solution for those who work





May 2011

in noise sensitive areas or those with applications requiring very large print runs. The 6600Q can be customised for customers’ printing needs: For example, a front paper access option enables all media access from the front for operation in confined spaces, or the SureStak power stacker can facilitate large print runs with orderly stacking of hard to handle forms. The 6600 Open Pedestal line matrix printer is described as a dependable workhorse line matrix printer that forms the foundation of the 6600 product family. It is built for harsh environments such as loading docks, machine shops and factories. The 6600 open pedestal is presented in a small footprint with the convenience of either top tear or rear output. Accessories include a front input tray or two different rear output trays.

The 6600 Quiet Pedestal line matrix printer is designed to have a compact footprint. It comes loaded with the built-in quality and performance of the top-of-the-line 6600Q quiet cabinet printer and is designed for customers seeking a quiet, versatile, dependable pedestal-style printer for use in an office with space limitations. The 6600Z Zero Tear line matrix pedestal printer is the specialised line matrix printer choice for short print runs. It is designed to eliminate waste of forms, such as preprinted tickets and serialised documents, through single form tear-off capability. Available for smaller spaces where front accessibility and maneuverability is important, the 6600Z offers all of the standard features and reliability found in the entire 6600 series. 


COLLABORATION IN MOTION Material Handling News and Video





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Microsoft Dynamics® ERP creates an easy-to-use information infrastructure that helps you operate more efficiently every day. As a result, Wheelabrator Group can forecast budgets, allocate resources and maximise their ROI by having real-time customer information at their fingertips. To learn more about the improvements Microsoft Dynamics® ERP can make to your business processes, go to microsoftdynamics.co.uk/manufacturing

Profile for First Sight Graphics

Manufacturing & Logistics IT - May 2011  

Manufacturing & Logistics IT - May 2011  


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