Multisite fulfillment processes move to forefront of the demand-driven model

Best known as a supplier of EDI infrastructure, Sterling Commerce has in the last several years assembled a portfolio of supply chain applications for multichannel supply chain execution and fulfillment, and is on the verge of making what it terms “major announcements” in this area over the course of this summer.


Best known as a supplier of EDI infrastructure, Sterling Commerce has in the last several years assembled a portfolio of supply chain applications for multichannel supply chain execution and fulfillment, and is on the verge of making what it terms “major announcements” in this area over the course of this summer.

“Fulfillment is a major challenge for many of our customers,” says Joel Reed, global marketing VP. “The number of products and channels has grown exponentially as users are dealing with multiple sites and numerous warehouse and distribution networks. Users need solutions to orchestrate the entire process.”

This emphasis on fulfillment has led manufacturers to change their emphasis from supply chain planning to execution, says Reed. “Supply chain execution is much more involved than merely completing orders, as companies must consider profitable growth across multiple channels. Supply chains also must be more nimble as customers want to penetrate new markets and order products in a variety of ways. All this must be done with efficiency and accuracy.”

Sterling Commerce employs 2,500, with concentration on high-tech, capital goods, and retail markets. “We typically do not deal with companies with only one plant or one distribution center,” says Reed. “Our systems are geared toward those with complex supply chains and multiple sites.”

With expertise in integration, Sterling is confident in its ability to manage trading partner communities and networks that use numerous technologies and applications. “You must look at the group as a whole, as well as individuals,” says Reed. “You should consider how to reach all members—whether with portals or workbenches, for example—to manage communities. There are service-level agreements and supplier expectations.”

Helping manufacturers gain supply chain visibility was one good reason for Sterling's acquisition of Comergent, which offers a platform that strengthens Sterling's sell-side capabilities with multichannel order visibility—from order capture through fulfillment. Sterling will integrate Comergent's systems on a single platform, but Comergent also will be available as a best-of-breed module.

Sterling also has an eye on Lean order fulfillment. “The most important point is the order itself, which is the trigger for all events in a demand-driven supply chain,” says Reed. “Most manufacturers have looked at lean and Six Sigma from the shop floor, but it is much more complex when applied to the supply chain.”

Users have the option of deploying Sterling's applications in the traditional mode, or via a hosting option using a subscription “pay-as-you-go” approach. Or customers may prefer a totally outsourced solution, allowing Sterling Commerce to manage the entire supply chain process. Most customers use the managed service approach, claims Reed. “Many companies do not want to build and manage the infrastructure themselves.”

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.