One System Worldwide
An international network with 85 locations in 20 countries now allows Arvato Supply Chain Solutions to coordinate the individual processes within the global value chain at a level of efficiency that enables them to form a compelling whole. Ensuring that the many complex processes in logistics, fulfillment and the warehouse interact smoothly requires a standard solution (especially in transport management) with which all the transport and logistics processes throughout the supply chain can be managed, monitored and optimized.
At present, for example, transport management is called upon to meet requirements that arise from customers’ focus on inventory optimizations and continual improvement in quality. This makes the delivery routes longer, and far more service providers are needed. “Just to be able to reach all the end customers, our customers have to use an average of four to five transport service companies. So they are trying to cover all the distribution channels from a central inventory. With our new transport management system (TMS), we can offer them the right solutions,” says Berthold Reinke, Vice President of Transportation Management at Arvato Supply Chain Solutions.
To help make that possible, the TMS platform has been designed with a modular application architecture. It includes invoice verification features, consolidated billing across all transport providers, a standard track-and-trace platform and a reporting solution. The system also guarantees a smooth exchange of data with partners: transport providers are integrated through a global, SAP-based EDI platform. One particularly important aspect is that the system is designed as a neutral platform and therefore offers a large range of transport services, but these can be replaced with others at any time. Both global players and local heroes are already linked to the system, which makes it much easier for Arvato customers to open up new and international markets. Support for multiple languages is a big help too.
“Our customers can reach approximately 350 million consumers from a central inventory through our transport networks. That’s many times more than what would normally be reached from a local warehouse, and it allows companies to further optimize their inventories,” says Reinke.That applies especially to the field of apparel, which is characterized by very short product life cycles that don’t really permit a decentralized warehouse strategy, because the range of products is very quickly out of date. The new TMS makes it possible to deliver shipments to customers within Europe from a central inventory within three days. By way of comparison, a shipment to Spain without express service takes five to six days for the integrators.
Label Engine Supports Omnichannel Marketing
Arvato Supply Chain Solutions also aims to help customers implement their omnichannel strategies with the new transport management system. To that end, as an important extension, a “carrier label engine” was developed. This makes shipments possible even when they don’t originate from Arvato warehouses. Reinke comments: “There is a need for that more and more often, and it’s an important module for us to present ourselves on the market as a full-service provider.” With the carrier label engine, for example, it becomes possible to sell and ship products to online customers from brick-and-mortar retail branches too. The advantage for Arvato customers is that they can generate additional revenue and at the same time increase the satisfaction of their end customers. “We’re currently managing about two million ship-from-store consignments of this kind — with growth of about six percent per year,” says Reinke. In all, Arvato Supply Chain Solutions manages approximately 80 million shipments per year via the TMS and receives roughly 750 million status updates from the transportation providers.
From anywhere to anywhere
The internationalization of supply chains across national borders makes processes more complex and thus more error-prone. Berthold Reinke, Vice President of Transportation Management at Arvato Supply Chain Solutions, explains how an international transport management system can increase security and transparency, optimize processes and, overall, lead to significant cost reductions.