2008 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100

100 ways to innovate your supply chain with the providers of next-wave supply chain services and solutions

Demand Management, Inc.
St. Louis, MO/USA
Order/Demand Capture, Fulfillment/Logistics, PLM, Decision Support

Case Study: Slime Taps Demand Solutions to Prevent Supply Chain from Going Flat

Although the name might sound like a comic book villain's weapon, Slime is actually the most widely distributed brand of tire sealant. The thick, green goo that originated in a garage is quickly oozing its way into tires around the world.

Slime is the 75th fastest growing consumer products company in the country, according to a recent Inc. 5,000 report. It has grown substantially since its start in 1989 and now sells several product lines along with its original Slime Tire Sealant. The leader in flat tire prevention and repair manages 6,000 item/location records - about 800 SKUs - of inflation systems, accessories, sealant products, tubes and hundreds of product combinations. With inventory in 14 locations and more than 50,000 retail distribution points in 36 countries, Slime relies on Demand Solutions to meet its demand and supply chain planning goals.

Filling In the Cracks

With up to 12-week lead times and distribution centers spanning several continents, Demand Solutions helps Slime make sense of its sticky supply chain. Of all the company's products, the tire sealant has the longest itinerary. Slime blends the raw components at company headquarters in Grover Beach, Calif., then ships the sealant to manufacturers in China for insertion into tire repair kits. The manufacturers ship the finished product back to a distribution center in Los Angeles where Slime ships it to retailers' distribution centers. From the distribution centers, the retailers deliver Slime to the stores where customers can purchase a safe and effective alternative to cumbersome spare tires.

Without a quality forecasting tool, lapses in the process can turn slow leaks into blowouts – Slime's Demand Manager and long-time Demand Solutions user Debba Rofheart knows that from experience. She recalls one instance where Demand Solutions saved the company from a disaster. A main customer's average order of a product drastically increased from 1,800 items up to 8,500 in one month causing mass confusion between the demand and supply teams.

"Because of Demand Solutions we were able to find the mistake before it did any damage," says Rofheart. "Even the CPFR team at the account didn't know what had happened."

The demand spiked because someone at the head office added an additional facing to display the product and didn't share the addition with the CPFR team. Fortunately, Slime was able to meet the increased demand and the situation became a testament to the power of Demand Solutions.

"Demand Solutions gives us visibility," says Rofheart. "We can see if something is abnormal and start asking questions and chasing it down before it becomes a problem. Demand Solutions is essential for a high-growth business like ours."

Visibility is necessary for a company that purchases almost three months in advance. The buyers have to count on the DS FM forecast, especially because a surprise order can set inventory levels back three months. Slime has established a fluid process of reviewing and updating the forecasts daily along with doing a monthly master forecast. The company is now operating in real time for receiving, closing work orders and invoicing.

"Slime would not be as successful without Demand Solutions. It is hard to quantify how much the software has saved us because our company has grown nearly 400 percent in seven years," says Pritchard. "But, we definitely would not be where we are at without Demand Solutions."


Descartes Systems Group
Waterloo, Ontario/Canada
Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Leverage technology to automate, manage and streamline the end-to-end shipment management processes with ongoing real-time visibility through an electronic multi-modal network. As Descartes sees it, the value of connecting to trading partners through logistics network and automating, as well as standardizing, business processes is the predominate focus for organizations with supply chain and logistics requirements. Single source, global, multimodal network-based solutions are the "next wave" of supply chain innovations helping organizations manage the end-to-end shipment process – from the booking of the move of a shipment, to the tracking of that shipment as it moves and, finally, the settlement and audit of the invoice relating to that move.

Burlington, MA/USA
Sourcing, Procurement, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

Emptoris believes the "next wave" of supply management innovation will most certainly be technology driven, spurred by globalization and increased competition, the need to address increasingly complex business problems and decisions, the need to leverage multiple sources of information and data to more effectively manage a process, and the growing dependence on low-cost country sourcing.

Emptoris solutions may be deployed flexibly and modularly to meet the unique demands of any business. They are built on a common platform utilizing enterprise-scale technology that delivers security, flexibility, compatibility, and integration with other enterprise solutions. A common underpinning across the suite is its ability to enable better decision-making through business optimization. Emptoris solutions allow business to drive ongoing total cost reductions, increase revenue, and manage compliance and mitigate risk.


Tampa, FL/USA
Sourcing, Procurement, Payment, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP

Leverage established supplier networks as a "single point of contact" with suppliers from order issuance through e-invoice settlement. Enporion customers, for example, point not only to reduced PO and invoice processing cycle times but also to increased supplier relationship success rates as a result of leveraging the enabler's network. For its part, Enporion says that the next wave of supply chain innovation is complete end-to-end e-procurement, using technology to electronically manage all aspects of the physical and financial supply chains and to gain "total corporate cash visibility."


Epicor Software Corporation
Irvine, CA/USA
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, CRM, PLM, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support

The growing demand in the supply chain for real-time collaboration inside and outside the organization, especially with increasingly globally-distributed operations, coupled with the opportunities that come from successful continuous performance initiatives, is driving a demand for leaner, greener flexible solutions delivered more cost-effectively.

Building on its service-oriented architecture SOA foundation and business applications, Epicor Software Corporation is innovating in the areas of Enterprise and Web 2.0 with Epicor ICE 2.0, a proprietary next-generation SOA for building dynamic business applications that leverages Microsoft Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 to deliver an even richer user experience, further boosting business collaboration and knowledge worker productivity.

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