client story

Supply Chain Automation

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

Innovation Strategy
Digital Transformation
Unified Commerce


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 engaged Artisan to help automate inefficient processes and create user-friendly solutions to enable rapid growth and stable scalability. 

To properly integrate procurement and order-management data exchanges, it was important for our team to take an end-to-end approach. We began by establishing positive working relationships with each of several dozen suppliers. In an effort to build rapport and ensure alignment, we scheduled kick-off meetings with each supplier’s team to discuss scope and expectations. This allowed us to foster the type of strong partnerships necessary at every stage of the project. By setting up direct connections with each supplier, we were also able to create automated data feeds, enabling complete visibility and confidence in the data across the entire order lifecycle. These data feeds enabled the company to automatically communicate order details at every step of the process (e.g., purchase orders, acknowledgments, advanced shipment notifications, invoices, etc.)

Simultaneously, our team mapped data from each supplier into integration and ERP systems. We incorporated thoughtful validations and automated alerting to ensure all orders are processed correctly and quick action can be taken on any exceptions. Additionally, our team developed thorough documentation for implementation, testing, and ongoing support via playbooks to guide future teams on managing orders and expanding functionality. Our team also utilized lean management principles to supplier onboarding efforts which reduced friction when changes were introduced to the overall system.

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 can now automatically communicate order details for the entire order lifecycle. Manual processes were dramatically decreased or 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 that need to be managed immediately. They can now quickly resolve issues or inconsistencies when they arise rather than manually mine for and correct them.
  • A Solid Foundation for Future Growth: With 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, future implementation of more dynamic inventory management, and predictive supply chain initiatives.


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