Recession or not...

... John Deere, Jaguar and others forge ahead with investments in supply chain solutions

Tempe, AZ  November 1, 2001  Economic downturn or no, corporations around the world are continuing to invest in technologies that promise to make their supply chains more efficient.

Need proof? Here (in no particular order) is a sampling of recent customer-win announcements rolling out of the solution provider community:

·        Supplier-Relationship Management: John Deere and Eventra

John Deere will use software from Milford, Conn.-based Eventra to facilitate communications with the equipment manufacturer's direct materials suppliers. Deere will use Eventra's VendorSite software to link suppliers into a variety of corporate systems via a standard Internet Web browser. The overall goal of the implementation is to reduce Moline, Ill.-based Deere's direct material carrying costs. The initial implementation is focused on about 50 suppliers serving six Deere locations. Suppliers will exchange information with Deere in real time to improve speed and efficiency of the flow of parts through the supply chain  from demand planning and scheduling, through delivery and settlement.

·        Real-time Asset Tracking: Jaguar, Land Rover and WhereNet

British automakers (and Ford Motor Co. units) Jaguar and Land Rover are adopting a wireless parts-replenishment system from Santa Clara, Calif.-based WhereNet in a bid to  what else  reduce inventory and increase productivity (this is the auto industry, after all). WhereNet's wireless WhereCall system allows assembly-line operators to call for different containers of parts by merely pushing a button. The WhereCall system provides an alternative to paper-based Kanban parts replenishment systems or hardwired electronic call systems. In addition, every time operators push the "call" button, the system shares real-time consumption information with enterprise manufacturing execution and supplier systems, which can support lean manufacturing processes. The solution provider also announced that Flatrock, Mich.-based Auto Alliance International  a joint venture of Ford and Mazda (in which Ford owns a 33 percent stake  is a pattern emerging here?)  will adopt the WhereCall system. When all of the WhereCall applications are fully implemented at the three automakers' facilities, the WhereNet technology will be responsible for managing 3,500 individual auto parts across a combined factory floor space spanning approximately 6 million square feet.

·        Collaborative Planning & Forecasting: Cott Beverages USA and PeopleSoft

Cott Beverages USA, a division of Toronto-headquartered carbonated soft drinks provider Cott, has implemented PeopleSoft 8 Demand Planning in a move to let the company's global divisions and regional office plan manufacturing production as a unified enterprise. A component of PeopleSoft's Internet-based supply chain solution, Demand Planning allows multinational manufacturers to create a collaborative forecasting and planning process across the extended enterprise, with the promise of reducing excess inventories and increasing forecast accuracy. Forecasts generated through the software are based on statistical analysis of demand history; causal factors, such as events and promotions; and collaborative input from a company's divisions and trading partners. Additional customer wins for Demand Planning announced this week include Amcor, a leading packaging company, which is looking to improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs in its Australasian businesses. PeopleSoft is based in Pleasanton, Calif.

·        Product Development: W.E.T. Automotive Systems and MatrixOne

Germany's W.E.T. Automotive Systems, a manufacturer of seat-heating systems and conductive components for the automotive industry, has tapped Westford, Mass.-based MatrixOne to supply product collaboration solutions to connect W.E.T.'s subsidiaries in Germany, Canada, USA, Mexico, Hungary and Malta. By allowing the subsidiaries to share information and processes, Matrix One's eMatrix and Value Chain Portfolio will help the national units to perform customer-specific product developments with local partners while adhering to W.E.T.'s product and process standards  through common product structures, revision and change management processes  and to maintain W.E.T.'s quality standards. The German company is looking to reduce time for document searches and shorten storage times, thereby reducing overall development cycles. In the first project phase eMatrix will be implemented in the company's customer centers in Odelzhausen, Germany, and Windsor, Canada, with a phased rollout to W.E.T.'s global subsidiaries.

·        Product Development: Primax Electronics and PTC

Taiwan's Primax Electronics, a supplier of digital imaging and wireless/broadband communication products and equipment, is using PTC's Windchill software for design collaboration and the control of its product development data within research and development, its supply chain and its manufacturing arm. Primax has been using Needham, Mass.-based PTC's Pro/ENGINEER MCAD software for four years to create designs for imaging products, computer peripherals and Internet appliances. The electronics manufacturer is looking to use PTC's solutions to decrease time to market and enhance innovation.

·        Logistics: Tesco and G-Log

Leading British retailer Tesco Stores Limited has selected a solution from G-Log, of Shelton, Conn., to manage its logistics planning, control and monitoring processes. Tesco plans to use the solution to share data with its suppliers, partners and logistics service providers to gain real-time information on in-transit orders and to optimize transportation resources by both consolidating loads and selecting the most cost-effective carrier. The deployment will initially be in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with subsequent rollout to the rest of Europe and eventually worldwide. Tesco, with more than 930 stores around the world, will use the software to manage in excess of one million global inbound shipping movements per year. Tesco stores stock over 20,000 product lines, including food, drink, household items, garden products, toiletries, domestic electrical goods, clothes and petrol  or "gasoline," as the Yanks call it.