Profile: Adept Reduces Costs, Increases Efficiency with Supply Chain Visibility


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Robot manufacturer gets better look into supply chain operations, increases customer service with demand-driven supply chain, logistics solution


Robot manufacturer gets better look into supply chain operations, increases customer service with demand-driven supply chain, logistics solution

San Jose and Pleasanton, CA September 9, 2005 Sometimes businesses need a really sophisticated robot to make a lot of very small parts. Founded in 1983, Adept Technology provides robot and robot control mechanisms for small-parts assembly, material handling and precision process applications at many of the world's largest telecommunications, consumer electronics, semiconductor, automotive, and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies.

Adept robots are complex devices, constructed with up to 300,000 parts manufactured by suppliers located around the world. Adept customers are also global and expect 24-hour response for replacement parts or service. Many Adept robots are critical to keeping assembly lines running, and Adept has a well-deserved reputation for quickly meeting service requirements.

With such an extensive product line, complex industrial robots and a worldwide customer base, Adept found that it was becoming a victim of its own success. The logistics and transportation requirements needed to maintain the high service levels that Adept customers expected were tremendous and expensive. If one of our robotic products or controllers fails, the production line stops. Customers have to get back online as quickly as possible, so we need to meet those needs at any cost, said Robert Bucher, Adept chairman and CEO.

Structured for growth, Adept wanted to control costs and increase operational efficiency. To do so, the company needed to expand visibility throughout the supply chain to ensure availability of parts, minimize logistics and transportation costs and maintain high customer service levels. Adept's challenge was accomplishing that goal as a small business with fewer than 200 employees.

A Network Solution

To cost-effectively operate a worldwide, world-class customer service organization, Adept needed to work much more closely with its vendors and transportation companies. Adept administrators knew that would require a network infrastructure to more tightly integrate its supply chain. To retain a focus on its core competencies and still achieve its growth and customer service goals, Adept decided to outsource its logistics and transportation management functions to D.W. Morgan, a consulting, logistics outsourcing, and transportation management company.

D.W. Morgan provides services to its clients using its own end-to-end Cisco Systems network. For Adept, D.W. Morgan implemented the Cisco Demand-Driven Supply Chain and Logistics solution, which links business applications throughout the supply chain over the Internet.

By synchronizing operations among supply chain partners, the Cisco Demand-Driven Supply Chain and Logistics solution is geared to help manufacturers meet customer expectations more efficiently and respond to market dynamics with greater agility. D.W. Morgan also uses custom application software that links the Cisco solution with transportation companies.

Grant Opperman, president and chief strategy officer at D.W. Morgan, explained: We give our clients the tools to help them move goods and manage their entire inventory. From raw goods to work-in-progress and everything in between, including in-transit inventory and products coming in from the service side, we give them visibility into every aspect of the business.

Adept initiated talks with D.W. Morgan because of its expertise in the field, before discovering that D.W. Morgan operated its own business on a Cisco network. While the Cisco network was not one of the reasons Adept opened discussions with D.W. Morgan, it was a factor in closing the deal. When D. W. Morgan said it was using a Cisco infrastructure, we knew that it could meet our needs with six nines' of reliability and 24-hour response time. At that point, we just focused on the company's shipping capability, its personnel and its software, said Lee Blake, vice president/general manager, Adept Services.

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