Initial Situation & Challenges
A medium-sized wholesaler in Austria had set up a supply network with approximately 15 suppliers in China. The client’s main customers were discount stores all over Europe, requiring a wide and flexible transportation network. As orders to the suppliers were customer-driven, there were no long-term forecasts or large amounts of stock. Order data was recorded manually in spreadsheets, and communication with suppliers and freight forwarders was done via e-mail or phone, which was inefficient. Strict timelines dictated by discounters and fast-changing cargo-ready dates on the side of suppliers led to high administrative effort. The lack of transparency and system-supported coordination resulted in an unsatisfactory utilization of containers. Since performance issues could result in additional fees or even lost business, the wholesaler often had to resort to costly airfreight transports in order to meet the desired delivery deadlines.
SPOT Purchase Order Management was implemented to simplify communication between all involved parties and close the gap between transmission of the purchase order and final delivery. All system-generated information is made available to the relevant parties on a personalized dashboard or via e-mail. Important deadlines are recorded on shipment level and applied to every single item assigned to the shipment. The responsible people are immediately notified of any arising discrepancies. All shipment-relevant documents are uploaded on shipment level and made available to all involved parties.
The implementation of the supply chain visibility and collaboration platform SPOT allowed for a significant reduction of administrative effort thanks to the central availability of all order- and shipment-relevant data, system-guided workflows, standardized processes and automatic discrepancy alerts. Forwarders and suppliers can now check the status of individual items at any time so that waiting periods caused by time differences and other factors are eliminated. Thanks to real-time status updates and the simple overview of all tasks in a customizable dashboard, expensive emergency transports are minimized and shipments can easily be grouped into cost-efficient consolidations.