A study in success: Streamlining the hard disk drive (HDD) supply chain
With a product portfolio that includes printing, personal computing, software, IT services and infrastructure, one of the world’s largest technology companies (operating in over 170 countries) utilized a supply chain model that was fragmented, which created inefficiencies at different stages of the process.
Before working with RRD, the customer had multiple hard disk drive (HDD) original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), each providing configuration, testing and distribution services from various locations across the United States, Europe and Asia.
Different providers and touch points were involved in product configuration, leading to inconsistencies during manufacturing and in unit quality. Difficulties responding to market demand were causing high levels of volume fluctuation. The customer chose RRD to create an integrated and flexible supply chain solution that would:
- Increase overall efficiency in the administration functions of the supply chain, i.e., planning, purchasing, and logistics
- Simplify existing data management and reporting processes in order to eliminate delays and errors in reporting
- Consolidate the management of product inventory and distribution
RRD’s team of engineering and supply chain experts designed a new solution, which involved becoming the sole point of contact for OEMs and all suppliers. Utilizing state-of-the-art production facilities across North America, Europe, and Asia, RRD assumed responsibility for all configuration, testing, packaging and inventory activity for the customer’s hard drives and other storage components.
RRD began shipping products to distributors, re-sellers, retailers, corporations and individual end users worldwide on behalf of the customer. Key aspects of the solution included:
- Outsourcing global control and management of the supply chain to a single supply chain
- Establishing standardized kitting, testing, distribution and fulfillment processes
- Incorporating high levels of flexibility into the new model to meet demands
- Providing a fully integrated and automated data transfer system
- Implementing engineering and process improvements to enhance product quality, testing and overall production efficiencies
The client’s previously fragmented supply chain process has been replaced with a comprehensive and integrated global solution. Improved efficiencies have been realized at every stage of the supply chain process. Inventory requirements and costs have been greatly reduced.
In addition to a new, single point of global control and management, other supply chain improvements include:
- Reduction in cycle-time to make new products available
- Improved supply chain visibility, superior levels of consistency and control
- Significant reduction in logistics management and product handling
- Considerable reduction in risk of volume fluctuation
- Late stage configuration and postponement
- Implementation of new global product tracking technology