Supply Chain Director at Technetix
Martin is responsible for purchasing, logistics and forecast planning.
Driven by the increasing demand for rich media and next-generation services the broadband cable market is expanding at an exponential rate. Technetix provides complete solutions for major broadband cable companies worldwide through its design, manufacture and delivery of critical broadband technology. Technetix designs its products to relate to the broadband network as a whole so customers can increase their network capacity, operational efficiency and reduce costs at the same time.
Martin outlines the old work process: “We used to have monthly consultations with all our regional sales directors. The workload was then uploaded into our replenishment system called Slimstock. We processed our purchase orders and purchase authorization through another system called Exact Synergy. About 70% of our supply purchases are from factories in Asia and we would then send our purchase orders through to them as PDFs. These Asian suppliers would then create these orders within their systems and confirm them back to us via e-mail. We would then have to add these e-mail confirmations one by one back into Exact Synergy and for each order we would have to manually calculate the date of arrival (either by air freight or courier) using the Ex Works delivery date. The old processes were very time-consuming and required a lot of accuracy from our staff; they needed to keep track of everything and ensure no relevant e-mails were lost.”
“By implementing Tradecloud we have managed to remove a lot of manual handling from our processes. Instead of handling the purchase orders line-by-line, we now only manage the exceptions. Now, we only need to scrutinize those orders where the shipping date differs from the one we requested, the rest go through automatically. If we confirm the order, it is then automatically uploaded into the Exact Globe ERP system, which is a big win for us.”
Now Technetix is using the Order Management and Shipping modules. They plan to start using the Invoicing module soon. “Once this happens, the entire purchase-to-pay process will be set up through Tradecloud and we will also link this into our other software. As a result, both our Operations and Finance departments will eliminate a lot of data management.”
“We found Tradecloud on the Internet and were delighted that the product runs as SaaS cloud software. As a result, we have not looked for an alternative e-procurement solution because Tradecloud fits our requirements precisely. Our IT Director was also involved in this project and during the implementation, both our IT staff and those of Tradecloud have worked closely together to get their software to fit with our ERP system and with our work processes.”
Martin also trials Tradecloud with suppliers over an evaluated period. Through the Tradecloud platform, suppliers get access to their pending orders and can confirm them by quantity, date and price. “For all concerned, Tradecloud has been an easy implementation and it is both easy to use and intuitive. The introduction of Tradecloud ran especially smoothly with our Asian suppliers. At present, 78% of our suppliers are using Tradecloud and our policy is to make it mandatory for all our suppliers use this system in the future. As we are a fast-growing organisation and our profit-margins are constantly under pressure. An e-procurement portal has helped us to work a lot faster and more efficiently; we are very keen to keep operational costs low. With smart software like Tradecloud and Slimstock, we can automate a lot of our work.”
What are the benefits of the deployment of Tradecloud, according to Martin?
“Let me start with efficiency. We now spend 15% less time completing the same tasks as before within our Purchasing department because we use Tradecloud. We used to spend a significant number of hours keeping data up-to-date and now we don’t have to do this anymore. Our plan is to also use the Proposal and the Forecast modules, so we can use Tradecloud when we create our supplier forecasts. Our Procurement department is separate from our Purchasing department and they are keen to take advantage of the Proposal module’s functionality. Lastly, we should mention the Catalogue module. We want our suppliers to keep the catalogue up-to-date in the portal. From this module, they can keep track of important data such as order size and any packing information.”
“Another great thing about Tradecloud is you can create reports from the data as well. Once we have begun using the Order module, we will then consider what data and reports we can extract from it. We already use Qlikview as a reporting tool which provides us with a lot of information, we will look into using Tradecloud’s reporting tool in future. We have Qlikview set up for forecast and stock control and we’ve made all kinds of things visible and measurable. If Tradecloud can give us insight into KPIs then we will certainly make use of this functionality. We can already gauge delivery reliability expressed in time and quantities in Qlikview, but the closer we get to the source of the data the better it is.”
“We link supplier reliability (i.e. delivery in accordance with the confirmed date) to KPIs. Our aim is to get this to 85% delivery reliability this year and increase this to 95% next year. Our key suppliers receive a monthly report and each quarter we review these reports with them and discuss what actions we can take to improve the delivery reliability. Tradecloud is a great tool for this, because it provides all the data we need when liaising with the suppliers making our meetings much more productive.”