Supply Chain Projects Update

Part 2: Initiatives in the consumer retail and grocery sectors, the chemical and transportation industries and more

Tempe, AZ  March 5, 2002  Wherever you turn these days, enterprises old and new are tinkering with their supply chains. To help you keep abreast of the latest supply chain enablement projects, this week iSourceOnline is bringing you briefs on initiatives underway in a variety of companies and industries.

Today's roundup highlights projects underway in the consumer retail and grocery sectors (supply chain execution and collaborative logistics), online marketplaces for forestry and education products (catalog content integration), the transportation industry (supply chain planning) and chemicals (energy management and optimization).

·        Future Shop, Canada's largest retailer of consumer electronic products, has implemented a supply chain execution solution at its new distribution center with the goal of improving inventory accuracy and customer service. Future Shop, a wholly owned subsidiary of Best Buy, is using the Distribution Management solution from software company Retek at its new Brampton, Ontario facility.

"Managing merchandise logistics within the dynamic consumer electronics market is very difficult," said Trent Anderson, vice president of supply chain for Future Shop. "We needed a highly scalable supply chain execution engine to ensure we were moving product through our distribution center in a rapid manner and keeping our stores stocked with the right merchandise."

Anderson said that with the Retek solution in place, Future Shop should be able to efficiently manage its warehouse operations and execute its merchandising strategies.

Future Shop has 95 brick-and-mortar stores, as well as a Web store, and the company employs 8,000 people.

·        Grocery retailer Hannaford Bros. is set to use a collaborative logistics solution from Elogex to optimize its transportation operations while maximizing its usage of logistics assets. The Elogex solution will be deployed throughout the Hannaford, Shop 'n Save and sister company Kash n' Karry's supply chain. When fully implemented, Hannaford will process over 120,000 shipments per year, creating collaborative connections between Hannaford and hundreds of carriers and suppliers.

Hannaford will use the Elogex solution to manage both inbound and outbound transportation. Elogex says the software provides full visibility to inbound shipments, which are monitored for freight allowances and supplier compliance, while outbound shipments will be streamlined by automated carrier selection and rating. Hannaford will also use Elogex's multi-division, multi-firm consolidation engine to create dynamic continuous moves for more efficient vehicle utilization, and the retailer will complete the shipment cycle with automated delivery appointment scheduling and direct freight settlement.

Rick Zaffarano, director of supply chain services at Hannaford Bros., said the Elogex solution would address the specific needs of Hannaford's business from the time the order is placed until they receive delivery in their warehouse.

Hannaford Bros., based in Scarborough, Maine, employs about 23,000 people and operates 115 supermarkets and food and drug combination stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts.

·        ForestExpress, a forest industry e-marketplace, and AcquireX, an online exchange for the education marketplace, are using a catalog content integration solution from Liaison Technology.

Liaison says its Content Hub 2.0 provides streamlined workflows and process automation for the creation and management of commerce-ready catalogs, enabling companies to extend outside their firewalls and integrate suppliers into their businesses. The distributed architecture of the solution allows suppliers to manage catalog loading and exception handling directly, thereby ensuring data delivered to their customers is complete, Liaison said.

The solution provider said its software can reduce content operations costs while increasing increase the customer control over the catalog loading and maintenance process. Liaison's architecture and role-based user management allows customers to distribute catalog maintenance issues to the appropriate business owners within the enterprise, as well as to its suppliers and partners.

Enterprise customers such as Dell, Comark and IDC use Liaison's solutions to automate loading and dynamically updating catalog content used by their procurement, marketplace and channel management platforms, according to the software provider.

·        Penske Logistics has signed a $1.5 million software license contract for supply chain planning software from SynQuest. Penske has licensed SynQuest Supply Chain Design, Inbound Planning and Tactical Planning Engine software to provide enhanced logistics services.

SynQuest said its solutions help companies develop optimized strategic, tactical and operational logistics plans from new model introduction to full plant production. The solutions are designed to support lean logistics by determining the frequency and delivery of parts for just-in-time manufacturing at the total lowest cost, according to the solution provider.

Commenting on the deal, Vince Harnett, president of Penske Logistics, said, "SynQuest's products and expertise compliment our current set of tools and will help Penske continue to deliver value to our customers."

Headquartered in Reading, Penn., Penske Truck Leasing is a $3.4 billion joint venture of Penske Corp. and GE Capital. The company operates approximately 206,000 heavy-, medium-, and light-duty trucks and serves customers throughout North America and Mexico.

·        Chemical company Celanese has signed a new software license and services agreement for the company-wide deployment of Aspen Technology's energy management and optimization solution, Aspen Utilities, with the goal of reducing energy costs. The first phase of the implementation will cover six major sites for the chemical company.

Energy costs typically are among the largest operational expenses for chemical manufacturers. Aspen said its solution enables companies to reduce their energy bills by allowing them to optimize their utility system operation and improve the management of contracts with external utility suppliers. This benefit is achieved using a detailed model of the utility system, coupled with optimization capabilities, so that companies have an accurate real-time picture of their site-wide energy requirements and can view potential options for improvement, according to the solution provider.

"Energy and environment are key elements of Celanese's operations strategy," said Jim Alder, vice president of operations and technical for Celanese Chemicals. "We believe that utilities optimization using Aspen Utilities will provide a consistent decision-making framework and better monitoring capability for our site directors, resulting in the optimum supply of utilities to our process plants and reduced utilities bills."

Celanese previously standardized on Aspen Engineering Suite for process simulation, dynamic modeling and process synthesis, and is in the process of implementing AspenTech's advanced control technology in its process plants on a companywide basis.

Headquartered in Germany, Celanese has 30 production plants and five research centers in 11 countries mainly in North America, Europe and Asia. The company, which took in 2001 revenues of about $2.3 billion, has 11,800 employees.