Our client, a renowned consumer goods company in Europe, sought to exploit this opportunity and address the challenges underpinning its legacy supply chain operations. The business offers a wide range of consumer products, including food and beverages, cleaning agents, beauty products, and personal care products. High in-house IT costs and a strong need for digital customization in warehouse management and logistics triggered a supply chain digitization initiative – for which the client partnered with Birlasoft.
Throughout this engagement, Birlasoft designed and implemented cutting-edge supply chain processes with a no-touch planning solution, cloud-based SAP and Oracle Transport Management (OTM) deployment, and automation. This enabled enhanced CSAT, 8% annual cost savings, and more resilient supply chain processes. Take a look at the details of this initiative.
The Challenge
1. Suboptimal supply chain operations
The financial performance of FMCG companies is strongly linked to their supply chain efficiency – this requires optimal logistics planning and risk management, which calls for end-to-end visibility into supply chain processes.
Our client could not achieve optimal fill rates due to ineffective logistics planning workflows, tooling, and sub-optimal route planning. This significantly exacerbated delays and costs associated with trans-continental shipments.
2. Poor supply chain resilience
In asset-intensive lines like FMCG, supply disruptions can jeopardize business operations overnight. When the pandemic revealed the supply chain risks underlying complex trade networks, businesses accepted supply-related disruptions as a more probable source of risk than previously thought.
Our client wanted to shield its operations from supplier disruptions and wanted to build a more resilient supply chain that would be able to mitigate procurement risks from suppliers in varying geographies. This called for modern tooling, enabling better decisions, demand planning, and stakeholder collaboration.
3. IT overheads associated with supply chain operations
Supply chain operations are typically backed by a highly available IT infrastructure composed of high-performance machines running expensive supply chain software suites. These incur server space, maintenance and management, and power costs, in addition to a dedicated IT team.
Our client ran their supply chain processes on on-prem architecture, incurring high operational costs. Moreover, manual logistics web and mobile application testing led to prolonged testing cycles, and erroneous logic was trickling into production.
The Solution
1. Implemented a no-touch planning solution
Birlasoft created a comprehensive and automated shipment planning and execution system, eliminating the need for manual interventions and improving the overall efficiency of the process. The solution leveraged integrations with warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS), order management systems (OMS), and real-time data feeds to optimize trans-continental shipping routes and minimize transportation costs.
2. Risk mitigation with cloud-based disaster recovery
By implementing a cloud-based Disaster Recovery (DR) solution leveraging Amazon S3 (object storage) and Python scripting, Birlasoft automated the end-to-end DR workflow, ensuring seamless and efficient recovery during a disruption. By migrating to the cloud, the client eliminated the need for expensive in-house IT infrastructure, resulting in significant cost savings. The solution provided scalability and reliability, allowing the client to adapt and expand their DR capabilities as needed without compromising performance or data security.
3. Oracle Transport Management cloud migration
The client's Transportation Management System (TMS) migration to Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) Cloud was a strategic move. It enabled seamless access to the TMS, regardless of employees' location or device, which enhanced stakeholder collaboration due to better flexibility and convenience.
The cloud-based TMS also improved system performance and optimized resource utilization. Moreover, the migration to OTM Cloud-enabled real-time information sharing, streamlined communication, and synchronized decision-making across the supply chain. This shift empowered the client to achieve greater efficiency, cost savings, and improved customer satisfaction.
4. Bringing it together with integrations to key systems
A comprehensive implementation of multiple SAP modules and customizations, including ERP, APO, CRM, BW, ABAP, HANA, and PLM, enabled Birlasoft to reinvent the client's supply chain processes. SAP ERP facilitated streamlined processes across the supply chain, whereas SAP APO (Advanced Planning and Optimization) enabled accurate demand forecasting, inventory optimization, and efficient supply chain planning. Moreover, ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) and PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) customizations enabled us to tailor the SAP ecosystem to meet the client's specific requirements, ensuring maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
This SAP implementation enabled end-to-end supply chain optimization and facilitated improved decision-making atop a scalable and cost-effective foundation.
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The Impact
When carried out by an experienced technology partner, supply chain digitization can unleash significant performance gains. Enhanced supply chain operations, backed by modern software suites like OTM cloud and SAP, led to a marked increase in customer and employee satisfaction and a significant impact on the bottom line. Here are some of the benefits that resulted from this supply chain transformation initiative:
  • Substantial improvement in on-time delivery by carriers, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Effective monitoring and automated systems enabled higher carrier compliance with contracts, which ensured adherence to agreed-upon terms and conditions.
  • Route optimization and load fill improvement significantly increased the average utilization of equipment, thereby reducing costs and enhancing operational efficiency.
  • The overall implementation brought 8% annual cost savings for the client, primarily through reduced IT infrastructure expenses and improved resource utilization.
  • Load fill improvement of 9% led to maximum utilization of available space and reduced wastage in transit
  • Route planning optimization algorithms and transportation management systems reduced travel time, fuel costs, and carbon footprint.
  • 37% improvement in efficiency metric for test cases, shortened test cycles, and improved quality of production software logic.
The supply chain transformation initiative, undertaken in partnership with Birlasoft, has enabled the client to weed out supply chain inefficiencies and build more resilient upstream and downstream processes. It is an apt example of the potential of supply chain digitization for asset-intensive businesses operating at a global level.
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