A large distributor of Gardening Tools and Equipment had issues with knowing the status of customer orders. Orders were received through a variety of channels into their ERP. Once received; they were validated and potentially put on hold. If approved; the orders were submitted to their Warehouse Management System for picking and packing at their distribution centres. Delivery was undertaken by 3PL companies from the warehouse to the stores. The challenge was when a customer enquiry was received about a particular order; a specialist had to look at atleast three systems - the ERP, the WMS or the 3PLs tracking website to determine the state of the order.
Archisage implemented a Proof of Concept solution using IBM Supply Chain Insights that received data feeds from the ERP and WMS systems. In addition, custom integration components were built to retrieve order status from the 3PL systems. This information was then made visible to users through customised dashboards and KPIs focused on the main areas where an order could be held up.
Drill downs on the KPI widget enabled the user to narrow down their focus to particular parts of the order process.
Custom Reports were developed using Watson Embedded Business Assistant. These reports provided insights into the most common reasons of delays or bottlenecks and the dollar value of these delays, thereby enabling the business to focus on the most important issues.
The solution was migrated to the new IBM Supply Chain Intelligence Suite platform; which provided additional benefits of performance and reliability. The Search capabilities of SCIS through the Data Explorer were extended and enhanced to support searching for a particular order by custom attributes enabling different users to access a particular order based on the attribute they were most comfortable with. This provided a single location that a customer facing agent could provide an Order Number or Consignment Note Number, or Shipping Number and then be able to view the full information for that order and all linked lines, products and shipments and their statuses without having to go to different systems.
Through the dashboards, the customer had full visibility into the state of the orders from the moment the order was received by the organisation to the time they were delivered to a customer. The dashboards provided a viewpoint into where the bottlenecks were as well as brought to light orders that have been stuck in certain stages for a long period of time.
Access to Information
The solution through Data Explorer enabled the resolution of the key pain point - answering the question, "Where is my order?". By bringing in data from the different systems; we were able to provide a single point of reference on the status of an order. This included data from 3PL systems enabling the visibility of the order to extend post the warehouse and to the point it was delivered to a customer.