How can a a dynamic and growing company company undertake a major supply chain transformation, supported by new planning software, without having any impact on the business as the changes were taking place? And deliver as promised rapid time to value, with payback on the new technology in just two months.
The answer for FleetPride, a major and fast growing distributor of parts for the trucking industry, was to head to "the cloud," for its new planning tools.
That according to Steve Fogolini, Director of Supply Chain at FleetPride, who recounted the successful project during a recent Videocast on our Supply Chain Television Channel. To see the full broadcast, go here: Supply Chain Planning in the Cloud Delivers Rapid Time to Value, Payback in Just Two Months for FleetPride.
FleetPride is the largest independent distributor of aftermarket parts for the trucking industry in the US. It has grown rapidly in recent years through a series of acquisitions, as well as organic growth. Like many companies that have made such moves, that left FleetPride with a large, decentralized supply chain network that was difficult to manage, had poor visibility, and was more reactive than proactive in terms of supply chain planning and execution.
"We wanted to create a single supply chain focus," Fogolini said.
Fogolini says that over the course of 30 years, FleetPride had built the company on a homegrown technology platform that just was not able to meet the supply chain needs of this now much larger and more complex company.
And this was not an easy planning environment. FleetPride has more than 1 million SKUs, and manages a network with five regional distributions centers and 254 branch locations. It has more than 1600 unique vendors.
But unlike many companies, when the decision was made within FleetPride to deploy new supply chain technology, slow and exceedingly cautious was not the operating mode.
"We were looking for a rapid solution that could scale quickly and not interrupt the current business," Fogolini said. That, of course, can be a tall order, and he added that the company had seen several of its suppliers run into operational problems as they deployed new software. FleetPride was determined that this was not going to happen to its supply chain.
That commitment started by very tightly defining the project's goals. Fogolini said those were four:
(1) Enable proactive prediction and anticipation of growing demand
(2) Improve cash flows
(3) Achieve profitable demand and supply balancing
(4) Realize rapid time to value with low risk
The last of these might be thought of as especially challenging, as usually accelerated deployments entail a lot of risk.
But to a great extent, cloud-based supply chain software can change this dynamic. Deployment inherently becomes much faster, and since so much of the technology effort can be dramatically reduced, it allows the project team to focus much more intensely just on processes and results.
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