A study in success: End-to-end supply chain transformation
RRD's client, a major player in the highly competitive and fast-paced mobile device accessory market, needed a supply chain solution that could enable aggressive growth and seamless operations across the globe
The customer's meteoric rise and aggressive growth strategy brought them unforeseen supply chain pressures and challenges. With an increase of stock keeping units (SKUs), shortening product life cycles, rising logistics and product manufacturing costs, the company’s supply chain infrastructure struggled to keep pace with its development.
Tight margins and rapid turnaround times, inherent to the mobile accessories market, exacerbated these challenges. They recognized the need to build a best-in-class supply chain to facilitate its goal of double digit growth year over year.
To maintain its leading position in the mobile accessories market and to facilitate its growth, the customer identified nine key focus areas needing improvement:
- Faster time-to-market for New Product Introduction (NPI)
- Global packaging design and materials production, supporting aggressive cost objectives
- Scalable model to support organic growth as well as peak season demands
- Total supply chain cost reduction
- Consolidation of multiple warehouse locations and suppliers
- Comprehensive global logistics solution
- End-to-end supply chain visibility (sub-supply China to their end customer)
- Improved flexibility in responding to retail and distribution channel demand
- B2C fulfillment capabilities supporting same-day fulfillment.
RRD’s analysis exposed the need for seamless coordination of every element across a complex supply chain that included global suppliers and retail channels. The solution included establishing regionally centralized hubs, streamlining manufacturing and materials management, consolidating factory to distribution center (DC) logistics, product kitting and high volume B2B and B2C order fulfillment to support the diverse needs of retailers, distributors and thousands of end users daily.
Original design manufacturer (ODM) management
With local resources in China, RRD leveraged local positioning to manage the customer's Asian ODM supply base. Processes were streamlined by:
- Coordinating manufacturing schedules, materials supply and logistics within Asia
- Establishing sourcing and supply management in the Futian Free Trade Zone (FTZ)
- Consolidating, sorting and preparing shipments for sea and air
- Providing export, customs documentation and clearance services
- Full visibility of the Asian-based ODM operations through RRD’s online portal.
RRD also addressed significant security challenges through serialized secure labels that were printed and distributed to the ODMs for application to the products during the manufacturing process. Movement throughout the supply chain was then captured allowing for instant tracking, tracing and reporting of all products.
RRD’s multiple carrier networks for ocean and air, with full carrier integration, provided the necessary flexibility and responsiveness. The developed solution serviced a broad North American retail and distributor network, dotcom customers, direct-to-store shipments during new product launches, wireless carriers, international distribution partners, franchisees and a high volume of direct-to-consumer orders. RRD supports these requirements through:
- Multi-mode inbound logistics management from Asia to North America
- Cross-docking of product in Los Angeles for rapid direct-insert delivery to key West Coast retailer DC's
- Advanced network of Full Truck Load (FTL) and Less than Truck Load (LTL) carrier partners
- Management of collect and prepaid shipments with retailer routing guide compliance
- Electronic documents and transport records with tracking visibility on all orders
- Reverse logistics program for pristine and non-pristine products.
Enabling international growth with global supply chain solutions
The complex and rapidly evolving requirements of manufacturing, shortening product lifecycles and the need to shorten turnaround times demand innovative and efficient solutions.
RRD's supply chain analysis uncovered a need for a centralized location for North American kitting and fulfillment. This enabled the customer to consolidate disparate operations in multiple locations to a single RRD hub.
A comprehensive sourcing, procurement and materials management process was implemented. This included pre-media connectivity and integration, which is critical for NPI. Dynamic demand planning tools were utilized for forecast planning. From individual screen protectors to point-of-purchase displays, all packaging and kitting requirements are now managed centrally. The DC location is in close proximity to an RRD print and packaging facility, which allowed for the support of rapid turnaround times.
RRD collaborated with the customer to create an assortment of packaging requirements suited to the various product categories. Rapid packaging design, prototyping and costing were accomplished by working in unison with the customer’s marketing division. The compelling packaging design dually protects the product throughout its lifecycle while enhancing the customer’s powerful brand. Point-of-purchase displays were also manufactured by RRD, assembled to order, populated with completed product and then shipped to the appropriate retail outlets.
Order management and fulfillment
A multichannel, high-volume B2C fulfillment solution supports the customer's successful e-commerce B2C business. In addition to supporting upwards of 10,000 orders per day the dynamic pick-and-pack system also supported the management of direct-to-store and franchise shipments, as well as parcel deliveries direct to small retailers and dotcom customers. In order to optimize high-volume order picking across a large number of SKUs a pick-to-screen technology was put in place.
Utilizing RRD logistics services for LTL shipping, retail deliveries and B2C mailings was an integral part of the solution.
RRD implemented an integrated solution that provides their customer with demand-driven production and distribution that helps to create a unique competitive advantage. RRD’s core competencies, strategic direction and vertically integrated services provided a platform for growth by being more adaptable and flexible to this dynamic and fast-paced mobile accessories market.
- Faster speed-to-market
- Flexibility to manage changes in product demand
- Enhanced quality, service and brand consistency
- Increased responsiveness and improved delivery performance
- Improved continuity of supply and significantly reduced inventory levels
- Simplified supply chain with fewer touchpoints and systemization/ transparency with a single point of accountability
- Reduced total supply chain cost, from design through final delivery
- Leveraged procurement
- Low cost direct-purchase and inventory ownership solutions
- Improved sustainability via packaging redesign and air-freight reduction
Better growth positioning
It’s a true end-to-end solution connecting design, sub-supply, manufacturing, materials, assembly, logistics, and fulfillment. RRD’s broad, cost-competitive platform supports multi-tiered supply chain solutions that can be tailored to suit specific product and market demands.
This approach offered an unparalleled solution that drove substantial service improvements and cost savings. With RRD’s help, the customer has positioned itself to meet the challenges of a competitive mobile accessories market, fulfill its rapid growth objectives and remain at the forefront of its industry.