Issue: Oct 2003

Management Q&A

Beware of “Vaporware”

by Rob Wilson

In this globalized economy, the right logistics software is an essential tool.

Attempting to apply the lash to global logistics is an increasingly dauting effort. The right software keeps materials and finished good from slipping into a “black” hole. As hurricane Isabel prepared to hammer the U.S. eastern seaboard, logistics managers were cuing up Plan B and Plan C, double and triple checking contingency plans to insure the most seamless operation possible would prevail and that plant disruptions were minimized. But guess what, that’s what logistic managers do every day of the week.

G-Log’s Greg Swanson understands the logistics demands of a globalized supply chain.
The visibility of logistics performance at the macro and micro level is always paramount. Managers say that with the globalization of the supply base, the supply chain is under more pressure than ever. Powerful software systems have evolved to fill the gap and drive the chain effectively. One of them is G-Log’s GC3 Global Command and Control system.

Automotive Industries discussed this logistics package with Greg Slawson, G-Log’s Manager of Automotive Solutions.

Q. Is increasing globalization the main driver behind unified, collaborative systems like GC3 or are there some other important factors?
The Forrester Research group estimates that one successful boarder transaction requires participation by an average of 27 parties. Globalization means more boarder crossings. There’s a “black hole” of information to be dealt with. The more parties involved, the greater the risks. Manufacturers must be able to track shipments across the globe, with any mode of transit, and also for any region or route.

Q. What about model proliferation and shorter model life cycles for automobiles? Do those trends further exacerbate the stress on automotive logistic systems?
A. They surely do just that. More manufacturing locations are building more models on base platforms. All of those trends are clashing with old highly engineered logistic networks that are often obsolete and strewn with high fixed cost, underutilized equipment and personnel. Shippers are looking for a single platform to unify and control all logistics execution.

Q. Could you describe some of the functionality of a unified collaborative logistics system, and why GC3?
We believe our GC3 is unique in its completeness. There’s certainly a lot of “vaporware” out there, but we have a proven track record of performance. To achieve global command and control, you need to be able to act, manage and measure at every point. The system needs automated event management for any milestone. It must anticipate and prevent problems before they impact cost or service. The system must use business logic to repair or replace bad supply chain data. Such a system has to be flexible and scalable to work in any business environment.

Q.  How important is the supply chain monitoring function in such a system?
A. The monitoring function allows you to increase responsiveness and improve predictability and reliability. What you learn enables you to transform future business processes. The system unifies and adapts the logistics network to the business environment. Actual demand is used to optimize the inbound network on a daily or weekly basis. It will support many logistics environments and systems from a single platform. The domain structure allows you to take the European system, the Latin American system and any other systems and roll them into one corporate platform. Those with the most “handoffs” in their chain will see the greatest benefits with GC3 software without question. To achieve true command and control of logistics, one needs to see the entire supply pipeline with extreme clarity and then manage the logistic executions.

Q. It would seem that the G-Log package would suit the logistic needs of many industries. Why do you feel it fits in so well with automotive requirements?
A. GC3 is really tailor made for the vertically integrated nature of the automotive business, the OEM side as well as the aftermarket side. The business is very competitive. The cost of inventory is very expensive. No where is the pressure greater for logistics execution at every step.

Q. What kind of time frame is required to implement GC3 and what kind of payback do you project?
Global enterprise logistics must offer a positive ROI. That is a given for any business. The typical payback period for GC3 is less than 12 months and most startups go live between 12-16 weeks on average.

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