by June 3, 2008 0 comments



A logistics automation solution crafted to keep a tab on the movement of
goods at different stages of the logistics chain. The project Transport
Management System delivers special value in overcoming a host of real challenges
faced by the manufacturing industry.

An effective transportation management involves overcoming a multitude of
challenges. Apollo is in the manufacturing of automotive tyres and its
accessories (tubes, flaps) and ships them to more than 150 locations, OEMs on a
hired fleet of trucks. Since these vehicles are not dedicated it was very
important for Apollo to manage, control, and measure the performance of the
transporters across all sectors where the vehicles are plying.

The implemented project, Transport Management System, is a Web-based
application with a controlled set of users having different authorizations. The
automation of its logistics operations through a tighter coupling with the
already-deployed SAP ERP backbone and added facilities such as sending SMSes to
transporters to send trucks, including transporter freight contract management
and road permit management indents, has made the handling of more than 300
trucks a day and controlling of whereabouts a facile task.

The project has been in action for the last three months in plants, and has
been delivering profound results. Total transaction processing time reduced from
30 min to 8 min per truck load, errors related to communication eliminated
because of standardization of processes, order processing related errors
eliminated (from 4 in a week to 0 in a week), truck turn around time (gate in to
gate out) reduced from 12 hr to 7.5 hr.

Over 22 years of experience
in IT with an in-depth knowledge on various business processes and expertise
in automating the business processes to improve the efficiency and
productivity. He has good domain knowledge of all SAP functional modules.

 Jitendra
Mahana,
Divisional Head-IT

Q What were the challenges
and business problems that led to implementing this project?
Apollo has world-renowned ERP to manage the movement of goods, but the
solution could not address to all the logistic needs, as many minute details
of information, for instance the data on the performance reports of
transporters and vehicles, were not captured. The challenge involved was to
develop a software which allows capturing of minute details and interacts
with SAP as per needs and helps to measure performance reports of
transporters and vehicles.

Q What were the key
benefits gained after having deployed this project?

With the project in action in its plants from the last three months we could
make the entire dispatch process-starting from requirement upload to indent
generation to Truck Loading Slips, loading confirmation and truck
exit-automated and running. With it we maintain vehicle history, transporter
details, road permit utilization, tracking and control, ensuring of all
transporter freight contracts. Owing to the standardization of processes,
there is a significant reduction in the total transaction processing time,
truck turnaround time (gate in to gate out), order processing related
errors, and errors related to communication.

The project delivers special value in the management of contracts for
transporters, finished goods, road permits, upload of SKU plan for dispatches
from all the plants through Excel and SAPsystem into the transport Management
System, indenting of trucks based on dispatch plan-indents once generated also
send an SMS to transporter for dispatch of trucks thereby reducing coordination
effort from Apollo’s side-truck reporting and truck entry at plant against the
indent, preparation of Truck Loading Slip and auto creation of sales order/stock
transfer order in SAP, truck breakdown management, key analysis reports, auto
download of road permit consumed and Delivery Challans (DC) Notes from SAP
truck-wise, exit of trucks from plant, and reminder facilities on road permit
usage.

The solution integrates complex packages such as SAP, APO, DOMINO, and SMS
gateways. An important benefit has been the immaculate control over the truck
ordering process and in minimizing the hold time of the vehicle inside the
factory.

In a way the entire dispatch process-starting from requirement upload to
indent generation to Truck Loading Slips, loading confirmation, and truck
exit-was automated and running. With it the vehicle history, transporter
details, road permit utilization, tracking and control, ensuring of all
transporter freight contracts were maintained.

Transport Management System addressed to many minute details of information,
for instance the data on the performance reports of transporters and vehicles,
which were not captured in SAP. This helped produce controlling and management
reports.


Implementation Partner
Dinesh Rampal
GM, Systems LifeCycle

Q What were the challenges faced while
implementing this project?
Successfully integrating the app with SAP and IBM Domino seamlessly was
one challenge. Another set of challenges faced during implementation was to
measure the deviations from the processes since they were studied and do the
changes quickly and implement the same so that the momentum is not lost.

Q Any other solution considered for the
problem?
While discussing solutions, there were two possible options. The most
obvious was SAP but it was not feasible as predicting when SAP changes shall
be done and related cost was not possible. Custom development was the only
choice left as availability of COTS packages meeting these requirements was
also very remote.

Q Resoving the key problems faced by the
end customer.

The initial requirement put forward to us was generating performance reports
for transporters. This is a key requirement since the hired fleet of
transporters is one of the factors for Apollo’s success. Users at Limda
plant were met and interviewed for 3 days. All the findings were documented
and blueprint for the process established.

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