Brewing up a Smooth Supply Chain

Innovative solutions for diagnosing and fixing supply chain processes gone awry


Looking into the Data

In the event that something amiss pops up on the SeeWhy dashboard, Cullen can drill down into the details on a particular shipment to learn where a shipment is getting delayed and how that will impact Guinness' ability to meet its delivery obligations. The system also provides a standard daily report with month-to-date performance and a predictor for what the month-end performance is likely to be, given the current state of shipments. Cullen and his team can use all this information to take action to get individual shipments or overall service levels back on track. As might be expected, they were able to start improving Guinness' OTIF on arrival performance within months of adopting the solution. The metric currently hovers around 80 percent. "We could push it up further," Cullen says, "but if we did that we'd have an increased number of shipments arriving early."

Cullen and his team also developed new insights into the different factors that influence transit times and on-time delivery by looking beyond the "headline" information presented in the SeeWhy reports and drilling down to uncover root causes of delays or disruptions. For example, using the solution, Cullen learned that the October-December time period sees both an increase in seasonal traffic headed westbound as well as less-favorable weather, so Guinness is now able to take those factors into account in planning its shipping lead times, with the result that the product still arrives on time. In addition, the planning team has gained a better understanding of carrier performance based on the new arrival time metric. "Interestingly," Cullen says, "we learned that one of our most competitively priced shippers is producing very good customer service for us. That obviously has led down a particular track when we are seeking increased shipping capacity to meet a peak shipping requirement. Not only can we secure the capacity, but we can get it at the right price. In the past, to be honest, we would have probably gone for our most expensive carrier in the belief that they offered the best customer service because we simply didn't have the visibility to know any better."

The ability to use the predictive reports on expected month-end performance to proactively address any issues flaring up on the horizon has produced a critical change in how Guinness operates, Cullen says. "The way that we used to measure, the metric would come out maybe two weeks after the month-end and was retrospective. Now I've got a pretty good predictor two weeks into the month of where the month-end's going to be, so I've probably got an additional month of lead time available to me to take action to solve any issues. That's a lot of time in the supply chain these days."


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