Which companies does the VCL platform provide the greatest benefit?
The VCL platform provides the greatest benefit to companies that have outgrown the data and information management capabilities of their current systems and heavily rely on manual/Excel based input in the supply chain management and decision making processes. More specifically, our platform is most applicable to the following three categories of clients:
- Consumer Goods and Industrial Companies: both medium and large multinational manufacturers that operate complex cross-regional logistics networks, which are supported by in-house operations and a number of external logistics service providers (with often incoherent contractual arrangements);
- Retail Networks: retail networks that operate a large and potentially a pan-regional footprint, which is reliant on an extensive logistics infrastructure and is partially or in-full operated by internal logistics operations;
- Logistics Service Providers: 3PLs and 4PLs that support a growing number of clients with pan-regional transportation requirements and are also relying on sub-contractors to augment their own capabilities and capacities.
How does this fit with our current IT architecture?
The platform is a cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) type solution that sits outside of existing IT architecture, but collects, cleanses and interrogates the data coming directly from ERP, WMS, TMS and other systems. The platform manages interfaces and consolidates data from not only with your internal data sources, but also from your 3rd party suppliers for enhanced data visibility.
What is unique about VCL platform?
VCL has a unique combination of capabilities and service offerings compared with the more traditional BI and data visualisation platforms and tools. Our platform's differentiated capabilities include:
- automatic collection and cleansing of the data that comes directly from your ERP, TMS and other systems as well as 3rd parties, which also helps addressing data validity debates;
- the platform builds consistent historical and forward looking views through consolidation and alignment of the past transaction data, inbound orders and forecasts;
- analytical engines and intuitive user interface are specific to Supply Chain environments and delivers visualisation functionality and insights straight out of the box;
- the platform's predictive analytical functionality will proactively identify improvement opportunities, generates alerts and help in maximising savings potentials and improve delivery of Customer Service;
- our SaaS business and commercial model does not depend on the number of users on the platform which facilitates cross-functional access to a coherent set of data and actionable insights.
How much work do I need to do to extract the data and upload into the VCL platform?
It is not a significant effort to extract the starting data set that we would then load into the platform. The extraction is typically done by analysts/data management members of your team running a standardised ERP/systems queries (and typically without involvement of your IT team). And then we do most of the work, only asking for your occasional input with reconciliations and validations.
As a reference, this is a similar data extraction effort to what your team does every time when starting new tenders or analytical exercises, BUT without the need for a highly laborious effort of data reconciliation and cleansing.
How much work do I need to do to establish a direct link (EDI) to our ERP and TMS systems?
This is a straightforward process which is enabled by the built-in functionality of your ERP, TMS and other systems that uses templated queries and sends the data to a dedicated and secure VCL server for processing by the platform. An actual choice of a specific protocol and the method will depend in the approach to minimise efforts of your IT team and the approaches may vary from relatively sophisticated to simple flat files uploaded onto a dedicated FTP drive.
How long will it take to see initial results?
Once the required dataset is collected, which might take a few weeks, loading of the initial dataset and initial cleansing will take a number of weeks depending on the scope and complexity of underlying data. This process will yield a static operational profile of your supply chain network, which could be then accessed and reviewed by you online.
When a dynamic interface is enabled, which may take a few more weeks (depending on complexity and allocation of resources within your team) the static profile will be enhanced with up-to-date information, updated daily.
How secure is your data?
Your data will be stored and processed in "dedicated data shards" hosted on our servers, will never be mixed with anybody else's data and would be accessed only by your authorised colleagues and restricted members of VCL Customer Services team. Also technically this means that:
- your data will be held on a dedicated set of hard drives/servers;
- the is no direct access to the underlying database, transaction and commercial data by anyone, except by VCL through a secure admin channel;
- at any given point you only see through a browser specific sets of reports and charts, with the background data that could be downloaded into excel ;
- the browser connection is established with a 256-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption
Do we have to change the structure of our data before connecting to VCL?
No, you don't need to change the structure of your data, its composition and contents. We take your data "as is" and adapt our heuristic converters to recognise the specifics of your data setup and operate with its content and quality.
What if I do not have the required level of detail on my systems?
In this case, the data that resides in your ERP, TMS and other in-house systems will be enhanced through additional detailed data inputs from your 3rd party service providers, i.e. from their TMS, ERP and other systems.
How real time is the data?
Once automated interfaces are built and the incoming heuristic data cleansing and converter engine is tailored, a daily data update process will commence, generating daily alerts, giving historical and forward looking visibility of the operations, KPIs/metrics and analysis. More frequent data updates are also possible, but will depend on your systems set up and cut-off points.
Who has implemented this solution and what were the benefits?
We have a number of client implementation success stories. The benefit drivers used and results achieved include:
- Reduction of overall transportation costs by 3%
- Reduction of express delivery costs by 12.5%
- Reduction of customer returns to under 3% of total deliveries
- Reduction of stock variance by over 20%
- Freed up time for effective management and decision making by reducing the workload on reports and KPIs analysis and preparations
What is Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is a service that allows users to access and use software over the web. As a result, there is no capital expenditure involved because no software needs to be installed within the in-house IT infrastructure. Payment is made on an annual licence fee basis which doesn't depend on the number of users, but rather on the scale and complexity of the underlying business and operational network.