Customer Data Acquisition, Translation, and Verification
Datalliance VMI simplifies and automates the complex task of getting timely, accurate product activity from each customer location. Datalliance automatically acquires product activity reports from each customer every day using the communication method (e.g. Value Added Network, AS2, FTP, etc.) and data formats (EDI, XML, flat files, etc.) they choose.
Datalliance interprets each customer’s information and converts it to a common, supplier-centric view. When customers upgrade business systems, change communication methods or modify data formats, Datalliance assumes complete responsibility for managing those changes and requires no involvement from the supplier's IT department.
Data verification assures the quality of the information received from each customer. Unusual events will inevitably occur when dealing with many customers, locations and items. Datalliance greatly streamlines the VMI process by recognizing and alerting users to such situations.
Replenishment Order Generation
Datalliance VMI accelerates your responsiveness by automatically generating recommended orders for approval or adjustment by the supplier. For approved orders, Datalliance VMI automatically sends a Purchase Order to the supplier and optionally sends a Purchase Order Acknowledgment to the customer.
Datalliance handles products with any combination of order frequency, rate of sale, and price point to ensure you always have the right product, at the right place, at the right time. It enables rapid response to changes in demand and inventories while greatly reducing the system-generated variability some inventory management plans often cause.
Datalliance VMI inventory management logic is state-of-the-art, but it is also transparent, easy to use and efficient. Clear explanations are provided for every item ordered. A complete picture of each item is readily available to both the supplier and customer. This visibility raises confidence and enables clear communication between the VMI planner and customer.
Activity and Analysis Reporting
Datalliance VMI tells you and your customer where you are, where you've been, and how you got there through graphic representations of your inventory information.
Datalliance VMI provides a comprehensive range of reports that display key information such as demand, turns, and out-of-stock conditions. This makes it easy to regularly monitor performance against mutually agreed upon objectives. From these reports, VMI planners can identify trouble areas and drill down to successively lower levels of detail to explain specific situations.
The foundation of Vendor Managed Inventory is trust. The rich library of Datalliance VMI reports provides suppliers and their customers the information they need to stay focused on continuous evaluation of results against objectives.
Using Datalliance, we now have ready access to store level information to make better decisions about order quantities and replenishment orders...This detailed analysis has resulted in significant sales increases for E1 Entertainment and our retailers. Because we have the right product at the right retail location, at the right time, we don't lose sales opportunities
Debby MacFarlane Director of Process Development, E1 Entertainment
We used to spend a lot of time and effort and still struggled with the introduction of new products and the phasing out of obsolete items. With VMI, the product life cycle is automated. We can accurately manage transitions and gain a comprehensive view of the impact across distributor locations. We now spend far less time and get better results.
Celia Dayagi VMI Program Coordinator, Siemens
Datalliance capabilities go well beyond what you would expect in traditional VMI. It provides many advanced features to help trading partners further streamline business processes and improve collaboration. For instance:
Advanced truck building
Sophisticated Datalliance VMI order building capabilities enable suppliers to reduce one of their biggest supply chain costs – transportation costs. It does this by enabling them to maximize vehicle fill rate. And it does this while at the same time supporting a number of different replenishment scenarios, such as:
- Standard distribution center replenishment
- Individual store-level replenishment
- Multi-stop distribution center and/or store replenishment
- Distribution center cross-docking for replenishment of multiple locations (e.g. club stores)
In addition, Datalliance VMI can optionally be integrated with specialized load optimization software such as Ortec Load Building to optimize vehicle fill rates even further.
Product availability checking
Datalliance VMI can further reduce the overall cost of getting product to the customer by integrating with the supplier’s ERP system (e.g. SAP) to perform product availability checking as part of replenishment order planning. If a product is out of stock or in limited supply, it will alert the planner and take appropriate action to make optimal use of available product and avoid last minute shipping problems.
Integration can be done in several ways, including real time integration using Web Services.
Another way Datalliance VMI reduces transportation costs is by giving suppliers the flexibility to select an alternate source of shipment (e.g. producing plant vs. mixing center) for individual products at order review time.
Datalliance VMI helps trading partners maximize the impact of promotions. Promotion orders and forecasts can be received from any source – e.g. the retailer/distributor or the supplier. They can be optimized into standalone orders or easily combined with regular replenishment orders to support promotion execution. Advanced features control how promotions affect normal ordering and how forecasts are managed during promotion demand spikes.
Product life cycle management
Datalliance helps trading partners better manage products throughout their life cycle to increase sales and reduce residual inventory. Tools, alerts and structured assistance help facilitate the smooth introduction of new products, base/bonus products, and replacement products across all of a supplier’s distribution channels.
Site-to-site transfer recommendations enable suppliers to help customers further improve both service levels and turns across multiple locations.
Automated returns processing
Just as it plans replenishment, Datalliance can plan any appropriate returns should the need arise. Excess inventory is identified and returns suggested based on established policies. Transactions are generated for approved returns to automate processing in the supplier’s and customer’s respective business systems to make the process as simple as possible.
Standard and ad-hoc analysis capabilities enable suppliers to identify opportunities for customers to increase market share and generate incremental revenues. For example, Datalliance reports on products that should be stocked based on overall market sales but are not stocked at a particular location.
This is just a sample of the advanced features in Datalliance VMI. Contact us now to talk about your unique needs.
Expert support services
The Datalliance Customer Care Team is made up of experienced professionals with years of Vendor Managed Inventory experience in multiple industries. In addition to thorough knowledge of the VMI process, Datalliance professionals have practical experience helping companies address issues such as: partner selection, strategic objectives and measures, organizational alignment, and results optimization.
The ‘people features’ of Datalliance VMI will help your company avoid pitfalls and ensure the success of your VMI initiative.
Datalliance Customer Care provides expert assistance and well-defined tools designed to get you and your partners up and running far faster and more effectively than other alternatives.
Proven Implementation Process
The Datalliance Implementation Process is a proven, documented methodology that ensures fast, efficient implementation with a minimum load on your resources. Our process speeds the effort while verifying that all steps are well executed before you go live.
The Datalliance team takes responsibility for running the project and does much of the work. For instance, the team handles all initial data loading, and works directly with the customer on data validation. With our experience and automation tools, many tasks are greatly simplified.
Using well-refined project templates and checklists, your Datalliance project manager monitors progress on all tasks and keeps everyone moving forward as a team to keep the project on schedule. Since the program cost is fixed, the project is always within budget.
On-site training is performed with a full-functioning Datalliance VMI system. Before training begins, the Datalliance team ensures customer data is properly loaded, calculations pass validity checks and reporting is functional. Training with 'live data' makes it easier to learn the system and increases user adoption.
The Datalliance Customer Care team does more than help with initial implementation. Datalliance VMI professionals continue to work closely with you to ensure smooth day-to-day operations and continually improve your results. Customer Care is always available to help address questions or resolve problems as quickly as possible.
Customer Care support services are included in the Datalliance VMI fixed fee, so service costs are completely predictable. Examples of on-going support services include:
Data Feed Monitoring
Data Feed Monitoring greatly reduces any potential delay due to data transmission problems by promptly notifying both parties when expected information is not received.
With the number of data feeds involved in Vendor Managed Inventory, it is inevitable that sometimes customer data will not be received as expected. Datalliance monitors data feeds and automatically contacts the customer to correct the situation as quickly as possible.
Advanced Tools Support
Datalliance VMI is designed to make your normal daily operations extremely easy. It includes many advanced tools to handle special or infrequent situations. When special needs arise, the Datalliance Customer Care team is available to help you use those tools to their full advantage.
System Change Support
Datalliance professionals handle any supplier and customer systems environment changes that may occur over time and might otherwise cause disruptions. For instance, changes to business systems, document types, or communication methodologies.