TVS Supply Chain Solutions North America Focuses on WMS Integration to Achieve Better and Faster Customer Service
TVS Supply Chain Solutions North America (TVS), a third-party logistics company, is focused on delivering innovative and optimized solutions to its customers. TVS is committed to providing solutions that optimize their customers’ business performance and build long-term relationships. Their operations cover almost two million sq. ft. of warehouse space across six states and in Mexico.
While reviewing the long-term performance and sustainability of their current platform, as well as considering the needs of current and prospective clients, the TVS team concluded that their current, older WMS had no future roadmap that could keep up with where they wanted to take their business. TVS needed a system that would meet future needs, as well as support the business in becoming more agile, and provide even stronger security and improved integration capabilities to its customers.
TVS began their search for a new system by first looking internally, canvassing other divisions to understand what software was being used and how that was working for those regions. Concurrently, TVS was analyzing their existing system and working with operations to define and prioritize features. They worked with business development to understand what prospective clients were looking for and matched that up to future needs. Mobility, security and flexibility were high on the list. The most critical consideration for this new system was integration, both to their clients’ systems and any internal TVS system, such as finance or transportation.
Users: 200 active users
Square Feet: ~2 Million
Blue Yonder WMS & WLM Version: 2018.1.2.3
Timeframe: Six months for first two sites
Integration to: Microsoft Dynamics, customer systems
What does TVS say about integration?
Insight from the interview with Dan White, Director of IT and Darren Baker, Systems Integration Engineer for TVS:
“Integration is the one thing we talk about more than anything else in our department. One aspect of the Blue Yonder systems that we really liked, and that Open Sky Group was able to demonstrate through the proof of concept (POC), was the configurability. With Open Sky Group’s approach, everything sits outside of compiled code, allowing for specific integrations without having to go back to the vendor for a modification. Because if you do that, then all of a sudden, you’ve got a custom product that impedes upgrade because you’ve got some special modification. We don’t want to be in that situation.
You’ve got to get the right information in and pass the right information back out to keep customers happy. More and more requests from customers are coming for greater visibility throughout the process, a desire for more updates, similar to what is seen in retail. Customers want to know:
- ‘Has my truck arrived?’
- ‘Has my truck been unloaded?’
- ‘How long has this product sat in the warehouse?’, etc.
And they want to know in real-time, not after the fact. Each customer has their own system with specific requirements for those systems.
For us, the integration piece of things just keeps building and building and we wanted to be sure that we had a platform that could handle it well. And it was key that we find a partner who could help us build it in such a way that we weren’t boxed in because of it.”
The TVS team researched Tier 1 software extensively using various tools. They found that score carding was key to narrowing down the options. When the choice was down to two vendors, TVS asked for a proof of concept (POC) to verify that the software and the implementation partner were capable of meeting the requirements. For the POC, TVS selected one of their most difficult processes which contained a complex integration. Open Sky Group looked at the current state of operations, developed a solution in the Blue Yonder WMS and then delivered the solution in both the TVS POC and a customer’s test system.
The main driver for the final selection was finding an agile, knowledgeable partner who had deep experience with Blue Yonder WMS integration and implementation. TVS chose Open Sky Group to implement and integrate Blue Yonder warehouse management and labor management.
Integration, one of the top priorities in TVS site implementations, has driven the project timeline. This is still on target, even though the date was picked the year prior. The project initially covers three sites. The first site integration is focused on Microsoft Dynamics only and the second and third site implementations have direct integration to both Microsoft Dynamics and customer systems.
The Bump in the Road
Initially, the integration challenge for TVS was to figure out where to draw the line internally, i.e., was something going to be handled in the WMS or in the finance system. Along with a white board session and discussions, TVS established three key factors that helped them arrive at their decision:
- Keeping the WMS as close to standard as possible to lower risk and smooth the upgrade path – Open Sky Group and TVS are strong supporters of not modifying the WMS
- Using stock integration channels available as part of Open Sky Group’s Warehouse in a Week (WIAW), templated approach to software implementation
- Analyzing their timeline, internal resources and budget
In the end they made needed changes on the ERP/Finance side and reworked that system to match the stock WIAW integration channels that already existed.
“Everything looks great in PowerPoint but at the end of the day, the POC proved that Open Sky Group can really deliver with Blue Yonder WMS integration. They understand the software and have the integration and implementation expertise we were looking for to get a system that works for us, instead of making us work for our system.”
—Director of IT, TVS
TVS is currently on their second site implementation and integration. It’s still too early to have detailed results. This case study will be updated over time to include more specific information on results.
Download the whole case study here.