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Nov 17, 2006

Business solutions for logistics providers

© Reuse this Business solutions service provider Pebbletree Consulting provides supply-chain solutions, not only to traditional businesses, but also to logistics service providers.

Pebbletree’s solutions are based on SAP’s mySAP Business Suite technology and, together with the new SAP All-in-One business solutions, have evolved into low-cost preconfigured solutions that are user-friendly, accessible and rich in functionality.

The solutions offered by Pebbletree support the full logistics technology requirements of an enterprise, says the company.

Supply chain MD Henry Varges reports that the solutions, which are based on best business practice templates, meet the growing demand for visibility, alerts and event-tracking information.

They embrace all the business requirements of the primary and secondary value chains, including financial management and planning, assets and fleet management and human-resource management. In addition, the solutions integrate operational systems, such as warehouse management, transport and freight management.  The company also offers a business-operating platform, using SAP’s Netweaver technology, which provides for third-party applications in the logistics solutions landscape, including integration into freight-forwarding and clearing services.

The solutions offered provide a template for the business-operating platform and templates for each business process that are then used to compose and customise solutions for each customer.

Varges adds that the technology solutions focus on advanced areas of optimisation, catering for every detail of the supply chain and logistics process.

This includes everything from the specific allocation and use of resources in a supply chain to the quickest route taken by the forklift through the warehouse.

Varges describes the solutions as “a full supply-chain cockpit”, providing a view of all the strategic, tactical and operational measures across the supply chain in real time.

This ‘full visibility’ is becoming a standard requirement from clients, with tracking and tracing becoming integrated into the process by use of the appropriate technology.  In an environment that is dynamic, and with ever-increasing demands from customers, the need for real-time information is stronger than before as it allows for planning in advance, effective manage- ment of finances and efficient and timeous execution, Varges avers.  This enables immediate decision-making and the conversion of large amounts of data, from booking to delivery, to all the events within the supply process.  “These events are managed and converted into useful information that can be used to improve the level of business intelligence,” explains Varges.  He adds that solutions facilitate the ongoing shift from operational to strategic decision-making, “using the information that is available to you to do business smarter”. The planning phase of the supply chain lies at the core of the solutions. “This allows for the consolidation of requirements for multiple principals and the optimisation and execution of these consolidated requirements,” adds Varges.

Delays are also minimised as all the variables are taken into account in support of the planning process, which is carried through to management and monitoring.

A noteworthy function of the technology package is the real-time event management monitoring, which provides proactive, predictive alerting on events. Problems can be dealt with proactively and measures can be put in place to prevent service failure.  The solutions offer a system of alerts that are time-, quality- and activity-based, alerting managers in instances of breach.

Previous perceptions were that these SAP solutions were expensive and accessible only to large manu-facturing businesses, but now midtier businesses (under R3-billion turnover annually) are eligible.

A midtier business would have to spend between R1,2-million and R2,5-million for a package – dependent on the number of users – which would include the business-operating platform delivered in a fixed time, at cost and for scope. In addition to the implementation, Pebbletree performs the commission- ing, operation, support and ongoing improvement of the solutions.

Pebbletree is the African distri-butor of the Sky Technologies VTI mobile framework product.  “This enables mobile users to access and update information relating to any SAP logistics process from a laptop, cellular phone, PDA or Blackberry device, providing a full mobile infrastructure solution,” Varges enthuses.  He acknowledges that connect-ivity is problematic in Africa and Pebbletree has tried to counter this by creating solutions that provide total business continuity.  Using Sky Technologies allows these operational devices to function in an off-line environment and connect to the SAP system on a ‘when available’ basis.

The appropriate hardware partnered with the SAP software and supply-chain solutions from Pebbletree offer seamless integration into the logistics business process and provide total supply- chain solutions in an African environment.
Edited by: Olivia Soraya Spadavecchia
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