DHL Retail overhauls transport management

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DHL has improved deliveries within its retail supply chain after implementing Imtech ICT Logistics Software’s LBASE transport management system.

DHL Retail Central Europe offers tailor-made logistics operations for fashion retailers including consulting, planning, supplier management, procurement, storage, as well as order picking and distribution.

The network includes road and rail transport both in Germany and further afield.

However, in order to operate efficiently the company needed to invest in new software.

“We needed a system, which covers our customers’ wide ranging requirements, which is customisable and easy to use,” says Cornelius A Blanke, IT project manager at DHL in charge of implementation.

The need to evaluate its transport management software was highlighted by DHL Solutions Fashion, which operates specifically in the fashion sector.

Previously, the retail departments had been working with two different systems and it was decided that a uniform platform was needed to provide the business with optimum support.

A number of other DHL companies were already using the LBASE system so the group was familiar with the software.

Joint feasibility studies were carried out nonetheless which ensured coverage of all requirements.

The system is designed to manage key workflows, from order entry and transport planning to automated billing. Plus, interfaces enable financial accounting and data warehouse management systems to be implemented and connected.

“To switch over quickly and minimise the risks, we divided the scope into releases,” says Christian Mayer, head of professional services at Imtech. “Each release went through all the project phases, from logging the requirements through to the go-live.”

The first stage, sea freight cargo tracking, was implemented in April 2009, while the last release, which included mixed consignments, part and full loads as well as local and international transport came out in October 2010.

In each case, functional, interface and integration tests were carried out, as well as training and parallel operation prior to the go-live.

The project involved mapping the fashion industry’s particular requirements in the system, such as flat and hanging garments, as well as multi-stage materials planning.

The project teams were put together on a phase and task-specific basis. Each team included representatives from IT and the DHL specialist departments, as well as from Imtech. The project aimed to deliver uniform and functional integrated system migration across all the departments.

The LBASE system is now used by more than 120 employees in the retail department.

DHL is moving onto the next stage, which started in early 2011, with the LBASE Scan Depot product. This product is being used to implement end-to-end goods-in/goods-out scanning for a major textile customer.

A host of other projects are also still in the pipeline. Consultants from Imtech have teamed up with DHL to analyse these projects, which will then be put together as prototypes.

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