Partner more, pay less. In a strategic move designed to reduce its costs of doing business, Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. (SE&A), a manufacturer of electrical, engineering, and automation solutions and products, has partnered with Prophet 21 to become a member of Trading Partner Connect. Trading Partner Connect is an Internet trading network through which Prophet 21 provides distributors with technology solutions that help them increase sales, improve customer service and reduce operating costs.
Mark DiNunzio, director of sales technology at SE&A, explains that membership in Trading Partner Connect reduces transaction costs for both distributors and manufacturers, which results in better business relationships. "We learned from our channel partners that their incentive and compensation packages were tied directly to—the costs of doing business," he says. "Trading Partner Connect will absolutely help us lower their costs and help us enhance our competitive advantage."
Taking ownership. Verst Group Logistics (www.verstgroup.com), a large, family owned third-party logistics provider (3PL) in the Midwest, has gone live with Provia Software's FourSite 3PL product at a two-facility campus in Walton, Ky. The two facilities total just under half a million square feet of storage space.
Verst offers public and contract warehousing, transportation services, cross-docking, pick/pack fulfillment, contract packaging/labeling and reverse logistics for clients in the consumer packaged goods and paper industries.
According to Jason Gindele, IT manager for Verst, "Before [we went] live, Provia worked closely with our implementation team to train us on the system and empower us to take ownership of the [project], and as such, we required limited on-site support from Provia during the actual implementation. They were available if we needed them, but the training we received let our team handle the software rollout."
Having yet another client go live with little or no assistance from Provia staff illustrates the company's "Total Cost of Ownership" (TCO) approach, where clients are able to realize the benefits of their supply chain execution system quickly and continue to realize the benefits long after the initial implementation. "Like many Provia clients, Verst embraced our TCO methodology and worked closely with us so they would fully understand the system well before they [went] live," says Provia's president and CEO, Ken Lewis. "Having an in-depth understanding of the system allowed Verst to hit the ground running."
Good DCs don't come cheap. DM-Drogerie Markt is investing more than $53 million in the development of a new European distribution center. Much of that money will go to Swisslog, a provider of supply chain management solutions. The investment will significantly enhance the German drug store chain's logistics capacities. DM will make Swisslog responsible for the project management and planning, construction and supply of the automation technology and control software in its new distribution center in southern Germany.
DM averages 50 new retail outlets per year and typically posts double-digit growth in sales. Its continuing expansion makes the improvement of logistics infrastructure and processes a necessity. The new distribution center at Wagh¹usel, between Karlsruhe and Mannheim, is DM's third and will relieve the capacity crunch in the DCs at Meckenheim and Weilerswist. By setting up the additional regional distribution center, DM also aims to reduce transportation costs.