Problem

A fast-growing supply chain company recognized a need to automate data exchanges with dozens of their major suppliers.  Many processes were manually driven and cumbersome, requiring a series of emails, PDF files, phone calls, and spreadsheets to manage orders across all suppliers and systems.  As demand for supplies rapidly increased, the company sought to automate inefficient processes and create user-friendly solutions to enable rapid growth and stable scalability.

Solution

In order to properly integrate procurement and order-management data exchanges it was important to take an end-to-end approach.

We began by establishing positive working relationships with each of several dozen suppliers. In order to build rapport and ensure alignment, we scheduled kick-of meetings with each supplier’s team to discuss scope and expectations. This allowed us to foster the type of partnerships that were necessary at every step of the project. By setting up direct connections with each supplier, we were also able to create automated data feeds, enabling full visibility and confidence in the data across the entire order lifecycle. This allowed the Company to automatically communicate order details for each step of the process (e.g. purchase orders, acknowledgements, advanced shipment notifications, Invoices, etc.)

Simultaneously, our team worked to map data from each supplier into integration and ERP systems. Thoughtful validations and automated alerting were incorporated to ensure all orders are processed correctly and action is quickly taken on any exceptions. Additionally, we developed thorough documentation for implementation, testing, and ongoing support via playbooks to guide future teams to properly manage orders and expand on functionality. Our team also utilized lean management principles to supplier onboarding efforts and reduce friction when changes are introduced to the overall system.

Results

As a result of this initiative, the retail distribution company experienced the following:

  • Improved efficiency: By establishing automated data feeds with each of their suppliers, the Company is now able to communicate order details for the entire order lifecycle automatically. Manual processes were dramatically decreased and, in some cases, completely eliminated, allowing for increased productivity and scalability across the organization.
  • Reliable and accessible data: The Company now has real-time visibility across the entire order process. Additionally, they experienced improved reliability of inventory data with the implementation of automated validation and alerting that highlights any exception cases to be managed immediately. They now have the capability to quickly resolve issues or inconsistencies rather than having to manually mine for and correct them.
  • Solid foundation for future growth: With the creation of clear documentation for future teams and the use of lean management principles for supplier onboarding, the Company is set-up well for future growth. Moreover, they are primed for scaled growth.

Ultimately, by automating purchasing and supply chain management, the retail distribution company paved a solid path to support rapid growth and the implementation of more dynamic inventory management as well as predictive supply chain initiatives.

Supply Chain Automation

Overview:

A leading retail distribution company engaged Artisan to automate purchasing and supply chain management.

Technologies:
Cloud Native Solutions
ERP Integration
SaaS
EDI
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