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Information Systems: The Foundation to Supply Chain Automation and Digitization

supply chain

Information Systems: The Foundation to Supply Chain Automation and Digitization

At Generix Group, we know that information systems are the foundation to a supply chain’s automation and digitization. However, many companies still lack them, either because they see their implementation as a complicated challenge, or because they are unaware of service companies that can help them, or because they believe the costs of such services are prohibitive.  

For that reason, we wanted to interview Ignacio García, Sales Director at Generix Group Spain. Thanks to his extensive experience in these matters, Mr. Garcia is in a great position to help and guide companies select the technology solutions best adapted to their requirements and available capital

Why is it so important for companies to invest in good software? And why should they see it as a source of savings?

A supply chain is made of various segments, from transportation to warehouses to relationships with suppliers, etc. All these segments are like a company’s organs. For the entire body to move efficiently, the health of each organ is key – and this is becoming increasingly true. The markets’ evolution, both in the consumer market, with the rise of eCommerce, and the industrial market, where the pressures on manufacturing activities are felt more and more, increases the need for better logistics capabilities every day. Today, it is simply impossible to meet these demands without the right tools. It’s not just a question of savings, which these solutions will indeed achieve, but a question of survival in the medium term. Management solutions (WMS, TMS, VMI, EDI, etc.) not only lead to significant productivity improvements and savings, but they are also essential to a company’s ability to respond to market demands.

What solutions do you recommend for real time control and visibility in the transport and warehousing segments: inventory management applications, breakdown, or downtime alarms…?

Achieving visibility over your supply chain can be compared to building a house: you must first lay solid foundations on which to build. In this case, it’s all about having the right management tools from which to extract information from your supply chain. That’s the first step on the way to optimizing an operation’s processes. The pillars of supply chain visibility are a specialized WMS in all warehouses, a transport management system (TMS), and an order management system fully integrated with the customers’ and suppliers’ platforms through EDI or purchasing portals.
Once these pillars are in place, you can build. Platforms such as Generix collect all the information and make it easily available to every agent in the chain, from suppliers to end customers. That enables companies and their management to view the status of their orders from suppliers, monitor an order’s progress through the warehouse, and remain informed of transport status with all the relevant information: status, dates, quantities, etc. The operational benefits are obvious, especially where service levels and quality are concerned.

How do you assess the current market situation? How well implemented are these technologies in supply chains, to what levels?

We’re now used to seeing that kind of interface in the consumer goods industry, where companies can easily consult their status order. More and more, we’re also seeing it in more industrial sectors. There’s a variety of very interesting examples that range from the purchase and delivery planning of reinforced concrete, where concrete mixers can be traced from beginning to end, to industrial manufacturing sectors: automotive, heavy equipment, aeronautics, etc.

In the direct-to-consumer sector, we can safely say that these solutions are widely implemented. However, these typically focus on the final part of the logistics flow, which means that there is still a lot of room to improve visibility with suppliers, transporters, etc. Lately, that’s where we’ve been seeing the most interest from the market.

One last note on this topic: the pandemic and the resulting problems and tensions we’ve seen in maritime transport have highlighted the importance of resilience and visibility for supply chains. In the coming years, this will bring a shift in focus where these technologies – together with strategies for the diversification of suppliers, the elaboration of contingency plans, etc. – will be seen as a necessary tool to gain the flexibility and security needed in the face of such events.

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What projects are you currently working on?

The projects we’re seeing the most these days are platforms that combine transport tracking, integration with carriers, stock visibility (inhouse or at suppliers), procurement, and the likes. And that, in a variety of industries and in different segments of the supply chain. There’s far too many to list, so let me try to give you a sample of the most noteworthy – as most of them are consumer transport visibility projects, I’ll concentrate on other examples that I think are particularly interesting.

Manitou is a good example. They are a global manufacturer of forklifts and they’ve recently launched a visibility platform for their entire supply chain. It encompasses suppliers and manufacturing facilities around the globe and provides visibility to its entire sales network and customers over available stocks as well as on the delivery dates of new equipment.

Another very interesting project is the platform that was implemented by a leading water management company. They had two main objectives. First, they wanted to facilitate the work and planning of its infrastructure maintenance teams. Second, they wanted to enable their teams to respond more efficiently to urgent breakdowns. Thanks to their new platform, they now have global visibility over their stock of parts, both in their different warehouses and at their suppliers of construction material, which enables them to rapidly relocate their inventory in the event of urgent breakdowns. It also facilitates procurement processes, which drastically reduces its global stock. Thanks to better stock management, that company is enjoying significant savings and has drastically improved work execution, which leads to far better response times and efficient incident resolution.

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission. 


Transportation Solutions for Retail Companies

One of the most headache-inducing tasks in the retail sector is undoubtedly transport management. The increasing complexity of flows between suppliers, warehouses, stores, end customers and, of course, the inevitable returns. This can create a nightmare universe for those responsible for coordinating the transportation area, but, above all, it can open a gap through which the company’s profitability is lost surprisingly quickly.

It is normal for the retail industry to face daily fluctuations and changes in its transportation needs, and in these conditions, having an effective Transportation Management System (TMS) solution is what makes the difference between companies that can always track and manage the movement of their goods and those that continue to blindly trust that everything will go according to plan.

Transportation technology as a lever of value

As companies realize the importance of transportation and its direct impact on business results, TMS technology solutions are emerging as key tools to help improve the customer experience, increase the efficiency of their shipments to stores and reduce costs in their transportation network.

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A TMS facilitates route and load optimization, contract writing, order tracking and shipment notifications so that not only is uncertainty reduced, but decisions can be made and executed in real time based on available information.

Multi-collection, multi-delivery, optimization of resources in terms of volume, weight and optimal mileage are unavoidable needs for a retailer who wants to stay in the market and not be left behind. As if all these day-to-day difficulties were not enough, Covid-19 has introduced more variability, uncertainty and difficulties in planning or maintaining fixed routes, so the flexibility provided by a TMS now takes on vital importance.

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. From Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and more, software platforms can deliver a wide range of benefits that ultimately flow to the warehouse operator’s bottom line. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This originally appeared here. Republished with permission. 

shopping cart

Shopping Cart Abandonment: A Challenge for E-Commerce

Unfulfilled shopping carts are rampant in the retail industry and represent a significant source of additional revenues. Too many sales are left pending due to the lack of a smooth process and relevant options presented in real-time to the consumer. To “tighten the weave” of these abandoned sales, retailers need to manage unique and omnichannel baskets. Here is an analysis of best practices.

According to Baymard Institute, 55-75% of initiated shopping carts are abandoned. Despite these statistical findings, shopping cart abandonment is not fatal to retailers. Retailers like Cultura and FNAC have been demonstrating this for several years with a dynamic, 360° approach to their customers’ selections. Their strength? Ensure an overall view of the product selection and associate additional offers and advantages in real-time, regardless of the customer channel (at home, on the move, in-store).

Distributors: Aim for the Top!

“This ‘seamless’ connection between physical and digital channels is the first prerequisite for better basket completion” explains Philippe Petit, product marketing manager at Generix. “The second element relies on the retailer’s ability to analyze, in real-time, the nature and value of products, and to trigger personalized offers in correlation, which improve customer satisfaction and the retailer’s margin.”

According to a study by AB Tasty, a personalized e-commerce customer experience can increase the revenue generated by 15%.

To turn this promise into reality requires a software suite capable of transforming “static” shopping carts into dynamic allies for retailers. Omnichannel Sales ensures this mission by integrating ‘sales gas pedals’ that offer customers discounts, additional products, advantages or loyalty points depending on the products they select,” says Philippe Petit.

Golden Rules

1. A high-performance shopping cart is unique, omnichannel, and seamless

2. It is managed in a personalized, contextual, and real-time manner

3. It is a customer relationship and satisfaction tool

4. It improves sales, margin, and loyalty

The customer in search of omnichannel fluidity

Consumer journeys are made up of constant back and forth between several spaces (physical and digital), several terminals and several moments (information searches, price comparisons, analysis of comments, delivery conditions, etc.). In networks that combine in-store and online sales, too many baskets turn into a trap, due to a lack of management that is in line with this “mosaic” of expectations and behaviors.

There is also the case of franchised stores, which do not always have the same management systems as branches, resulting in a discontinuity in customer relations. In marketplaces, the rate of completion of baskets varies greatly depending on the costs and delivery conditions of each supplier.

The unified basket, a factor of recurrence, recognition, and valuing of customers

“The absence of a unified shopping cart, managed in real-time, penalizes the brands. Between two distributors that are apparently equivalent, customers always choose the one that offers them the most simplicity and recognition,” continues Philippe Petit. To reverse this trend, Generix Omnichannel Sales aggregates data into a single basket, thus freeing retailers from the problems of re-entering or merging files.

The solution integrates the entire spectrum of information including the basket (items, value), the customer journey (physical and digital), the transaction, promotions, loyalty, and history (recency, frequency, value). This makes consumers feel known, recognized and rewarded for their loyalty. “This is a strong element of differentiation, with a purchase act that is supported from start to finish, regardless of the channels and paths,” emphasizes Philippe Petit.

The statuses can be configured (pending, abandoned, or canceled). The customer, the sales advisor, and the after-sales service can find, in real-time, the shopping cart created via an e-commerce site, a wish list prepared on the phone, an order placed on a salesperson’s tablet.

The retailer can create and instantly distribute discount codes sent by SMS, encouraging consumers to go to the store or online. Omnichannel Sales even offers web services for VAT processing and legal collection of shopping carts generated via a salesperson’s tablet or an in-store kiosk.

According to a study by OpinionWay and iloveretail 48% of French shoppers use their store while in a store.

Clear and efficient returns management: An important decision factor for e-customers

Returns are the third most important decision factor for e-customers, after price and delivery terms. The clearer the brand is on the conditions of return (deadlines, logistics), the more it encourages customer trust and commit to purchasing.
“Generix uses the complete information of the registered baskets in the case of a partial or complete return of a purchase”, underlines Philippe Petit. Whether it was generated in-store and/or online, the single basket kept in Omnichannel Sales facilitates the management of returns, with the same level of information whatever the origin of the order (mobile, web, store, call center, etc.).

Generix hopes to eventually offer an analysis of the reasons for basket abandonment, whether it’s due to a product line’s pricing policy, an over cost between the product’s value and its delivery cost, or a lack of clarity on the return conditions. The result is a significant reduction in the number of unfulfilled shopping carts in consumer e-commerce.

As omnichannel-driven demands become the norm, with resulting customer satisfaction harder to achieve, supply chain professionals need to leverage advanced WMS technology to keep their operations nimble, efficient and scaling – especially in these volatile times. Given Generix Group’s completeness of vision and ability to execute, as recognized once again by the Gartner analyst community, their Solochain WMS is well-positioned to help companies needing a modern, flexible and agile solution that can easily adapt to their changing needs. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission. 


Figuring Out the ROI for Your New Warehouse Management System

Figuring out return on investment (ROI) is a core exercise for anyone who is making an investment in software or hardware. “What’s the ROI?” is a common question that a warehouse or logistics manager will get when it comes time to justify a new software investment to corporate leadership.

A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency or profitability of an investment or compare the efficiency of a number of different investments, ROI attempts to directly measure the amount of return on a particular investment, relative to the investment’s cost. To calculate ROI, the benefit (or return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment. The result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.

Of course, ROI isn’t just about dollars and cents. There are other factors that must be considered in order to come up with an accurate estimate of exactly what a company will get out of its warehouse management system (WMS) or other supply chain software suite. Other key “wins” to factor into the equation, for example, include:

-Labor savings

-Vehicle savings (i.e., fewer lift trucks)

-Inventory reductions

-Lower shipping expenses

-Fewer customer chargebacks

-Less need for outside storage facilities (and their associated fees)

-Being able to support business growth

-Customer satisfaction due to faster order fulfillment and accuracy

These and other points can be used to develop an accurate ROI for a new piece of software. “ROI is a popular metric because of its versatility and simplicity. Essentially, ROI can be used as a rudimentary gauge of an investment’s profitability,” Investopedia points out. “This could be the ROI on a stock investment, the ROI a company expects on expanding a factory, or the ROI generated in a real estate transaction. The calculation itself is not too complicated, and it is relatively easy to interpret for its wide range of applications.”

According to Forbes, the formula used to calculate ROI is:

[Gain on investment – cost of investment] divided by [cost of investment] = ROI

The cost of your investment is the amount of money you spend on implementing and maintaining your new software system, with the most obvious being licensing fees, tech support, and subscription service, Forbes points out. There may also be additional costs, including installing your new system, educating your staff about the upcoming switch, and training them on how to use the new system.

Gain of investment is the amount of money you stand to gain from implementing the new software system. For example, many health care providers and pharmacies have obligations to regulators. “If they don’t adhere to regulations, they may end up with a fine,” Forbes explains. “Many software packages offer safeguards to make sure companies adhere to all regulatory requirements, thus reducing the likelihood of these fines. The money you don’t pay out in fines would be a gain in investment.”

For clarity’s sake, Forbes says it’s always best to express ROI in relation to a period of time. Your ROI for the first month after you implement your software, for example, will differ from your ROI over the course of the year.

WMS-Specific Points

According to Explore WMS, defining the ROI of implementing WMS should be based on three factors:

Tangible. These are your benefits that are easily measured and validated. The most common ROI elements are going to be reduced overhead costs, improved order accuracy, efficiency gains, and inventory accuracy.

Intangible. These are the benefits that will feel apparent, but it is hard to validate the specifics. Your team might enjoy their workday better when cycle counts are automated or when they get notices about where a component should be on the floor.

Support. Some of your WMS benefits are measurable but can vary greatly and need to be put into their own bucket. These might be if a WMS makes your operations meet partner/vendor requirements and opens you up to potential new revenue streams. Or, a WMS’ reporting functionality may make it easier for you to comply with best practices and future regulatory demands.

“Think of your ROI on these levels, and you’ll start to see value as soon as you learn the functionalities of the WMS you select,” author Geoff Whiting explains. “When you begin to quantify them, you’ll often discover that you have more budget to invest elsewhere, can improve sales numbers, or are enhancing the work environment in ways that reduce turnover and attract high-caliber staff.”

Using ROI to Your Advantage

Taking the time to define and understand expected ROI will also give you a better understanding of your vendor choice and change management practices, Whiting adds. It can also make your next software purchase more viable and productive.

“You need ROI in the first place to know whether it is worth investing time and money in this new project or technology; and afterward to double-check if the investment was worth it and meeting your expectations,” Datapine adds. “By looking at past investment choices and performing an ROI analysis, you can assess these decisions and make better costs projections in the future.”

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. From Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and more, software platforms can deliver a wide range of benefits that ultimately flow to the warehouse operator’s bottom line. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.