Less Out of Stock for category A articles
Saved internal emails / month
With 34 shops in Germany and a successful online shop, Sportscheck is the leading sporting goods retailer in Germany. The company has around 400 suppliers for its ~35000 articles from over 500 different brands. The logistics of the 2 million deliveries to end customers per year and the supply of all 34 branches is completely outsourced to the 3PL service provider Fiege .
This triangular relationship presented Sportscheck and Fiege with some operational and strategic challenges. Departments such as purchasing or sales at SportScheck only had access to current inbound transports via an Excel spreadsheet, which was only updated once a day.
This makes accurate planning of the availability of important articles for the omni-channel retailer Sportscheck very complex or even impossible. Strategic key figures such as tracking delivery reliability are of critical importance for SportScheck.
On the other hand, for Fiege this meant that they had no information whatsoever as to when trucks were arriving, no delivery notes were available as this information was only exchanged between SportScheck and their suppliers via the ERP system, but not with the contract logistics provider Fiege.
But there was also great potential hidden in the operative business. Prior to the implementation of TradeLink, SportScheck's suppliers sent their requests directly to Fiege in order to receive a time slotfor their deliveries, mostly by e-mail or telephone. These were then finalised in an "email ping-pong", depending on whether the proposed time slot was feasible for the supplier or not.
Emons, a globally operating company in the transport and logistics sector with over 121 locations and 3700 employees, stands for services in the fields of transport, contract logistics, air and sea freight, customs, rail freight and digital logistics. Represented in 16 countries, Emons serves over 7000 customers and operates a transport network comprising more than 30 partner companies.
In 2022, Emons identified goods-in transparency as one of its top priorities for digitizing contract logistics. After a market screening and trade-offs between internal solution development in its own Emons | DIGITAL incubator and an external service procurement, Emons came across TradeLink. The first talks immediately revealed the same understanding with regard to digitalization in logistics and opened the discussion around joint synergies. In November 2022, both sides decided to launch a collaborative initiative to jointly drive logistics collaboration. After all, this is how both companies complement each other in their business areas and expertise.
This includes, in particular, the exchange of know-how between logistics, forwarding and digitization experts for achieving better efficiency and transparency over the movement of goods at all Emons locations, as well as improving digital collaboration with all customers and stakeholders in the supply chain.
Head Marketing & Digitalization | Emons
"This is a necessary collaboration between traditional and new companies in the logistics industry and beyond. This collaborative approach brings together many benefits and promises data-driven advancement of products and services on both sides."
The first, operational focus was on the introduction of the TradeLink platform at two different locations. The two warehouse locations in Markgröningen and Thurnau were selected. Both sites are typical multi-user warehouses, but with different starting points in terms of processes. Markgröningen already had an existing notification obligation for all suppliers, while Thurnau operated as a new site without a notification process.
The start with these two locations combined different advantages. Each local warehouse logistics has its own processes and peculiarities, so one forced the direct comparability in a more complex initial situation. In addition to the common denominator, the measurement basis for recognizing the added value was created. On the other hand, Emons thus reduced the operational costs for the project management.
Under the leadership of Julian Bausch, Logistics Manager Markgröningen, the platform solution was rolled out at both sites. In the first step, we started by setting up the site and created user accounts. This can be realized within 24 hours and lays the foundation for a successful roll-out.
In the first joint workshop, we started to define a common goal and a success plan. In doing so, we defined the clients' key delivery partners and agreed on a fixed deadline by which they should be live. Operational goals included increasing the number of pre-delivery documents by 40% by June 2023, halving truck wait times by April 2023, and reducing peaks in deliveries.
In the second step, we focused on internal adaptation. In a one-hour training session with all key operational staff, all stakeholders were introduced to the platform and how easy it is to use. This was recorded to be shared later within the organization. The key users also took on the role of trainers to pass on the knowledge internally.
In the third step, we created a communication plan for the joint partner onboarding starting in the second week. One responsible person per site was named for the roll-out and processes and milestones were agreed with TradeLink. The top 20 partners were invited within 2 weeks. Templates for the approach were personalized and sent out, followed by the appropriate invitations. We monitored the success of the invitations in a regular check-in.
With the rapid partner go-live, the platform could already be used operationally without any problems with the most important supply partners from the 4th week. From now on, open topics and observations will be discussed in regular check-ins until we reach the routine phase, in which a comparison with the initial objective follows every 3-6 months and new objectives are defined.
Logistics Manager Markgröningen | Emons
"Thanks to the support of the project participants from Thurnau and Markgröningen, the involved delivery partners as well as the TradeLink team, above all Lucian Berkmüller, we were always one step ahead of the defined success plan. As a result, we were able to implement a delivery reconciliation solution at our Thurnau site for the first time in record time and completely replace the previously used tool with TradeLink at the Markgröningen logistics center at an early stage."
Thanks to the successful and efficient project management, all relevant delivery partners in Markgröningen were connected to the TradeLink platform in less than 8 weeks. This quickly led to the desired reduction in internal inquiries about delivery information and the processing time for each incoming and outgoing goods.
In Thurnau, all relevant supply partners were also connected in the same time despite the lack of notification processes. In addition, a successful notification system for supply partners was introduced for the first time, which improved capacity utilization and smoothed out delivery peaks.
Logistics Manager Thurnau | Emons
"Even in the first workshop, you could sense that everyone involved wanted to go in the same direction. TradeLink and Emons benefited from each other's know-how and practical relevance. In the end, this was also the basis for the rapid implementation.
Despite increasing order volumes at the site, waiting times per ramp contact were significantly minimized and processes streamlined. The tool's ease of use across virtually the entire transport chain met with a very high level of acceptance among suppliers, freight carriers and our customers."
The implementation of the TradeLink platform also provided real-time visibility into the current delivery, yard, and ramp situation, as well as increased availability of digital delivery documents prior to delivery.
Tracking and reporting of delivery quality has been improved and the processing time in inbound and outbound has been reduced by 30 minutes per day per site. In addition to the operational improvement, more than 10 potentials for improving coordination in the logistics centers were identified, one of which has already been implemented on the TradeLink platform.
At the Thurnau site, the partner roll-out for Emons customers in Hall B will now follow. An important step here is the introduction of a mandatory document upload for all partners before the actual announcement. This will make it possible to holistically increase transparency in advance and achieve valuable time savings in work preparation. In addition, one will now be able to measure and compare important key figures such as the measurement and optimization of the processing time in inbound for each delivery.
At the Markgröningen site, the focus is on the onboarding of clients. They are given their own view for transparency on incoming and outgoing goods at the outsourced logistics location. From now on, important key figures such as the aforementioned processing time will also be measured and optimized here for the first time at inbound .
As soon as empties management is available on the TradeLink platform, we plan to digitally simplify and automate this process as well.
The successful roll-out at the first two sites can be chalked up as a successful first step towards a uniform toolbox and the path to structured logistics data around delivery movements at Emons. In addition to the optimization and coverage of further use cases at both pilot sites, a rapid roll-out at the other Emons sites is planned.
The fact that cooperation does not have to end at Sites was shown, among other things, by the extensive double interview with DVZ in April 2023, which addressed how logistics companies and startups can work together without threatening each other at the same time. We were much more pleased about the joint panel appearance at the Emons Demo Days in Cologne in the same month.
The initiative continues to thrive on regular exchanges and workshops between the two sides in order to build on what has already been achieved and identify and promote further mutual potential. We support each other not only in finding ideas, but also in implementing them through the targeted exchange of information.
Sportscheck and TradeLink have been working together successfully since March 2021. Within the first 3 months, the 20 largest customers were connected to the platform . After that, SportScheck implemented TradeLink with approx. 200 suppliers.
Of course, it would be too time-consuming to call all suppliers and explain the platform over the phone. It was therefore decided to create an onboarding email together with the dedicated TradeLink customer manager Anne Listemann. In this email, critical questions like "How do I get an invitation link?" were explained with short videos.
Thanks to the onboarding email and the intuitive use of the tool, Sportscheck had already successfully connected 200 suppliers to the platform by mid-September, over 90% of them without even making a single phone call.
Through the successful implementation of the TradeLink software, SportScheck and Fiege were already able to realise measurable successes within a few weeks .
For example, the out-of-stock rate for category A items has been noticeably reduced. This is primarily due to the significantly improved communication with the purchasing department, which can now check for itself in TradeLink at any time via view-only accounts whether a critical delivery has already arrived. Previously, this was only possible upon manual request to Fiege.
Furthermore, the evaluation of delivery reliability and quality becomes reliably measurable, as data points that are recorded on delivery at the ramp (punctuality, completeness & quality) are now linked to the order data in purchasing.
Furthermore, the independent booking of time slots by suppliers saves operational logistics at Fiege around 15 hours of a full-time position each week, which allows these employees to work strategically instead of dealing with endless email loops.
All in all, the saved emails for delivery coordination amount to more than 100 per month, which noticeably relieves the operational logistics at Fiege and SportScheck in particular, but also at the suppliers themselves.
Sportscheck is clearly on a growth course and wants to master the resulting challenges in its logistics together with TradeLink. As an essential growth driver, the assortment is also to be expanded, which entails an increase in the number of suppliers. SportScheck and TradeLink will work on a solution to automatically connect these new suppliers to the platform.
Another goal to gain efficiencies is the better connection of internal partners. This includes, above all, the connections to the internal ERP and WMS systems in order to exchange data with TradeLink even more easily. Furthermore, SportScheck wants to include instructions for packaging and shipping in the warehouse requirements.
Due to the setup with a 3PL, Sportscheck as an omni-channel retailer does not have the necessary information about upcoming inbound transports in every department at all times.
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