Case Study #4: Decrease Time from Order to Activation

Cable Television and Broadband Operator, rated in the top five nationally, was relying on a small, regional printing company - with little experience in the complex challenges of managing a supply chain - to manage their inventory and get their product into the hands of consumers. The Company’s products are kits that allow end users to connect to their high-speed data (Broadband) network. Each kit contains connection (coaxial) cables, documentation, and software. The inability of the previous solutions’ provider to effectively manage the client’s supply chain introduced many problems such as missed shipments, late shipments, zero real time inventory tools and hardware complications.

In the cable industry, the time from when an order is taken to the point of product activation is crucial. Under the older supplier, lead times for manufacturing, assembly and fulfillment resulted in the Company’s customers constantly facing shortages in product. The true failure point for any Cable Operator is directly related to the end users bad experience. If the experience is a negative one, they risk losing a revenue-generating unit. The Company had no way to effectively estimate demand and respond to that demand in a timely manner. Drifting further back in the supply chain, the Company’s modem manufacturers had no way to gauge the expected demand for their products at any given point in the future. Beyond the delivery issues, costing issues became paramount. The Company’s various Systems’ Operators were forced to deal piecemeal with multiple modem manufacturers rather than implementing volume-purchasing strategies. In short, the various Systems’ Operators needed a way to deal with supply/demand issues as a unified front without sacrificing the autonomy and flexibility that comes with a single supplier “kit” solution.

GlobalWare responded to the Company’s needs with a two-ended solution. On the front end, GlobalWare utilized call center and eCommerce assistance. On the back end, GlobalWare's robust warehouse and distribution capabilities supported the manufacture and fulfillment of products. GWS created three eCommerce websites for the Company: one site was for retail, another was for the 27 markets (the system serves), and a third was for drop shipments to end-users. These sites were linked to GWS’ ERP System (JD Edwards) and provide complete automated access to manufacturing and fulfillment data. By dealing with a single supplier, the Company can maintain its autonomy; yet exercise its options for volume purchasing discounts and a single point of contact. This solution supplements their individual flexibility by allowing the systems to offset their forecasting accuracy in estimating future product needs. By handling production, distribution, inventory management and support services, GlobalWare has effectively provided an economical and efficient solution that aids the end user and the modem manufacturers, the specific Cable Operator and its Systems. On yet another level, all parties’ involved benefited from having a single point of contact to facilitate communication between the parties to better serve the customer and the various providers involved.

GlobalWare also enabled the Cable Operator with a full suite of online web-tools to cover various stages of the supply chain. With InfoTrac to review electronic proofs, DataShare to store files & bill of materials, and RMATrac to electronically approve and monitor reverse logistics, GlobalWare provided an entire suite of connectivity options that would be unfeasible and inefficient for the Cable Operator to implement alone. GlobalWare hopes to add to this established functionality by allowing its systems to share the burdens of inventory management and continue providing the highest level of customer responsiveness available.

Not only did the Cable Operator decrease its overall “time to install”, but also by the end of its first year working with GlobalWare, the Company experienced its greatest jump in new customer acquisitions in the history of the company. This was due in part to GlobalWare’s ability to closely monitor demand, manufacturing, assembly, fulfillment and returns allowing for shorter lead times while increasing fulfillment capacity. Further, GWS is able to closely observe the quality and specifications of the coaxial hardware kits, significantly decreasing the amount of technician calls by end users, thus decreasing the overall program cost for the Company.

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