“We go into companies and examine their supply chain from the point of view of every department – from purchasing and production to sales and accounts. Our recommendations often involve radical changes and many businesses find that intimidating at first glance.
“In our experience, companies based in the US seem most receptive to taking the risk of making the change to remain competitive. Or maybe they just are quicker to realize that not making changes will be more of a risk to the long-term health of the company,” he explains.
Virtualized Logistics, the consultancy arm of UK-based logistics specialist SBS Worldwide, has established its headquarters in New Jersey to ensure it can work closely with potential customers.
One of its clients, book publisher Wolters Kluwer Health based in Philadelphia, has saved $400,000 a year by revolutionizing its international supply chain after working in close partnership with Virtualized Logistics.
The key was establishing visibility to the level of the book industry’s standard code (ISBN), which Virtualized Logistics was able to do by tailoring its enterprise supply chain software system, eDC to the publishing industry. This gave the publisher the confidence to bypass its US warehouse and ship the books directly to customers worldwide from the printer in China.
Maureen Connors, Vice President of Customer Service Operations for Wolters Kluwer Health, says: “eDC offered the total visibility down to the ISBN level that we needed to achieve the savings we hoped for. The traffic lights on eDC’s dashboards are driven by our own KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). We could set the deadlines and the tolerance range so that the visual display fits the way we work.”
Virtualized Logistics specializes in challenging companies to make sure all their departments work together to achieve the best end result. Mr Leach says: “Too many businesses operate a silo mentality, with no one considering the overall impact that result from a single decision about sourcing, packaging or selecting a new transport carrier, for example.”
He admits that it is good to see more companies recognising the value that they can get out of their supply chain by giving the supply chain director a place on the board, but argues that many companies do not really understand how you can remodel the supply chain to gain efficiencies across the entire business. By truly analysing the supply chain from production to the consumers hands enable us to make the changes that improves business performance while reduces cost.
“The supply chain should not be considered as a cost but as a competitive edge. Cutting both costs and time to market while improving customer service and management control through facts and efficient supply chains can only be a good thing!”