DHL helps get the latest fashion in stores with the perfect retail supply chain. And Imtech ICT Logistics software's LBASE transport management system ensures that everything runs smoothly.
DHL Retail Central Europe offers tailor-made logistics solutions along the entire supply chain: from consulting and planning through to supplier management, procurement, storage, as well as order picking and distribution. The network includes road and rail transport both within Germany and further afield.
Demands placed on the software were accordingly high. "We needed a system, which covers our customers' wide ranging requirements, which is customisable and easy to use," explains Cornelius A. Blanke, the IT Project Manager at DHL in charge of implementation.
Today more than 120 employees in the retail department work with LBASE. They use it to manage all the key workflows from order entry, transport planning to automated billing. Interfaces have enabled financial-accounting and data-warehouse management systems to be implemented and connected.
The impetus to evaluate new transport management software came from DHL Solutions Fashion Gmbh, which implements logistics solutions for the fashion industry. Previously, the retail departments had been working with two different systems. "The aim was to create a uniform, state-of-the-art system platform to provide the business with optimum support. As several DHL companies were already using LBASE, know-how already existed within the Group," says Blanke. Joint feasibility studies ensured extensive coverage of all requirements. An added bonus was provided by the competence of Imtech ICT Logistics Software staff when it came to project development, enabling the project to get underway in 2009.
"To switch over quickly and minimise the risks, we divided the scope into releases. Each release went through all the project phases, from logging the requirements through to the go-live," explains Christian Mayer, head of professional Services at Imtech ICT Logistics Software. In the first stage, sea-freight cargo tracking was implemented by April 2009; the last release, which includes mixed consignments, part and full loads as well as local and international transport came out in October 2010. In each case, extensive functional, interface and integration tests as well as training and parallel operation were carried out prior to the go-live.
Shared success and next steps.
The project posed particular challenges for the developers: on the one hand, it involved mapping the fashion industry's particular requirements such as flat and hanging garments in the system. On the other hand, multi-stage materials planning was required. "Our success stems from the structured project management and dedicated employees on both sides," explains Blanke.
"Employees also cooperated on a multi-disciplinary basis in a matrix organisation." The project teams were put together on a phase and task-specific basis: each team included representatives from IT and the DHL specialist departments, as well as from Imtech ICT Logistics Software. The project aimed to deliver uniform and functional integrated system migration across all the departments.
DHL is moving onto the next stage, which started in early 2011, with the LBASE Scan Depot product. This product is being used to implement end-to-end goods-in/goods-out scanning for a major textile customer.
A host of other projects are also still in the pipeline; consultants from Imtech ICT Logistics Software have teamed up with DHL to analyse these projects, which will then be put together as prototypes.
Cornelius A. Blanke, IT Project Manager at DHL Retail Central Europe concluded: "Our employees have now grouped all the functions together in a state-of-the-art system platform. They now receive precisely the information that they need, helping them process consignments quickly."