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Case Study

Order Confirmation & Routing

We worked with one of the largest FMCG retail chains in the US. One of their supplier collaboration challenges was with the routing and pick up of purchase orders for pick-up vendors. The retailer used a call-in system to track the pick up date and time for the purchase orders. However, the transportation planning for retailer was inefficient because they often ended up with less than optimal truck load for their pick up routes.

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We enabled the Purchase Order Confirmation process through Simplain Vendor Portal to fix the issue. Even though the main issue at hand was with FOB orders, the confirmation process was also enabled for delivery vendors. Delivery vendors needed to confirm only if they are going to be late or short on the products in the orders. FOB vendors were forced to confirm every orders. A side benefit of including all vendors in this process was improved response time for their retailer's purchasing team, even as they handled several supply chain disruptions during the COVID19 pandemic.

While this is a standard ASN (Advanced Shipment Notice) process that can also be achieved via EDI 856, there was a minor change in this implementation. The FOB Vendors were required to key-in Total Weight, Cube and pallet count information in addition to the pick up date/time and quantity information. At this point the system would immediately compare the Weight and Cube in the Purchase Order with that entered by the vendor. When there is a significant difference(over the configured tolerance), the system would force the vendor to correct the item dimensions and weight in the Master Data. The comparison also showed the most recent dimensions as measured at the time of receiving at the warehouse.

When the process was implemented, there were several complaints from the vendor initially as they did not understand why there would be such differences in the first place. There was even one instance where the vendor decided to travel to the warehouse to physically measure the products.

The root cause of the problem was indeed the item introduction process. We noticed that the vendor representative was providing incorrect item dimension information with no way for the retailer to validate it. The application just highlighted rudimentary data issues that could have been prevented at the source, with some stronger collaboration and vendor accountability. Vendors and Master Data Team at the retailer were both educated on the importance of this data element for pick-up purchase orders to mitigate the issue. The retailer rolled out the process with thousands of their vendors to realize efficiency gains not just for themselves but also for their vendor partners.

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