Supply Chain Logistics for a Global Agriculture Equipment Manufacturer
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Supply Chain Logistics for a Global Agriculture Equipment Manufacturer

​Customer: Kubota Manufacturing
Industry: Manufacturing

Challenges:

  • Link Kubota’s material requirements more tightly with its suppliers’ production planning systems.

Keys to Success:

  • Reduce lead times

  • Eliminate production line shutdowns due to parts shortage

  • Reduce inventory

Description:


One of the most difficult issues any company has, particularly a manufacturer, is ensuring its supply of parts and services remains a continuous stream to it plants. Otherwise, production lines may have to be shut down, not only costing the company in idle resources, but often jeopardizes its relationship with customers. SupplierLink2, a custom business-to-business application developed by B2B Technologies helps eliminate that likelihood.

This secure, web-based supplier extranet takes the schedules produced by the internal ERP system and makes them visible, real time, to Kubota's suppliers. It alerts them to changes in the schedule and allows them to respond online to these change requests. The application also handles a number of routine, but important, tasks that further guarantee timely delivery and availability of parts or services to Kubota. As just one example, the SupplierLink2 system prints bar-coded packing lists at the suppliers’ site that accompany the shipment. Incoming deliveries can be scanned at Kubota's dock, eliminating manual entry along with human error, and speed the movement of the supply to the appropriate area in the facility.

Other functions include vendor rating scorecards, information to help in vendor sourcing, and real time alerts and messaging. The core of this application is available as a pre-packaged application licensed by B2B Technologies.

B2B Technologies worked with Kubota to design and build a secure supplier extranet called Kubota SupplierLink2. SupplierLink takes the schedules produced by the ERP system and makes them visible, real time, to Kubota’s suppliers. SupplierLink alerts suppliers to changes in the schedule and allows them to respond online to these change requests. They system requires relatively little manual intervention, but to ensure nothing is ever overlooked, it features workflow architecture. This means that any open action items are kept in a queue in the computer, awaiting a response from the responsible supplier or purchasing agent. To help improve Kubota’s efficiency and accuracy in receiving, SupplierLink prints bar-coded packing lists at the supplier’s site. These accompany the shipment so that Kubota can scan the document at the dock, eliminating manual keying of receipt documents.

Since the results of the receiving process are visible in SupplierLink, suppliers have an immediate view of any discrepancies. This lets them see what they’re going to get paid via Kubota’s paperless AutoPay system and allows them to perform accounts receivable reconciliations on line.

To ensure that the system continues to meet its design goals, B2B designed a “supplier scorecard” system to track the performance of each supplier and confirm that they are meeting Kubota’s expectations for delivery performance.

Benefits:

  • 99% reduction in overdue orders due to better visibility of the schedules and changes.

  • 25% reduction in lead time due to more stable schedules, resulting in more efficient production at the suppliers.

  • 20% reduction in purchasing staff time due to more streamlined, paperless operations.

  • No dropped balls: SupplierLink’s workflow architecture keeps all open tasks in action queues for the assigned personnel in Kubota purchasing and at the supplier.

  • Speed: Kubota purchasing agents can enter an emergency order online, making it available immediately on the supplier’s SupplierLink schedule page. The supplier can generate a bar-coded packing list and ship the part immediately. The whole process takes two minutes

“You guys did a fantastic job! B2B was focused on providing results and kept this focus throughout the project. Thanks for working on the project.”

-Bob Dicks, IT Manager