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Analysis

Software Solutions Support Supply Chain Management

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 12:30

Technology and logistics are never distant from one another, and logistics and technology consulting provider Tsol aims to bring them closer yet with a range of solutions to make supply chain management flow more smoothly. The company’s tools include a warehouse management system (WMS), transportation management system (TMS), fleet management system (FMS), and supply chain design software (SLD).

One of its early successes, when it was known as CP Consulting, was to offer a system that integrated the railway transportation and trucking services of Grupo TMM, one of Mexico’s logistical leaders. TMM’s desire was to match the amount of finished vehicles to be transported with the optimal number of train, cars, and trucks. Erik Markeset, Tsol’s CEO, says that the system he implemented accounts for all the variables and calculates the lowest cost for TMM’s system requirements. After this, the system’s execution mechanism directly messages the right rail or trucking company, informing it of the order to move vehicles. It then tracks the order, delivering updates to the customer so the process can later be scrutinized and further optimized. Finally, Tsol can handle the settlement process when the carrier sends the invoice. In the US, an electronic EDI 210 invoice is sent, which enters the system for validation when the payment is authorized. Tsol is currently working on an Oracle TMS for Mexico, looking into how the mandatory Mexican electronic invoices could be received by that system and processed for the benefit of automotive companies.

Markeset’s professional background in the US has helped Tsol adopt a business model where it seeks international solutions that could help the Mexican market. For example, the company has automotive clients in the US, although not yet in Mexico. It has been working to install its TMS for Toyota, collaborating with Oracle to implement this software for finished vehicles. The software is used to track vehicles imported from Japan and will relay messages indicating the number of vehicles sent on certain ships to American ports. Toyota can thereby track the types and quantities of vehicles that are coming in and plan accordingly. Trucks will pick up the vehicles at the ports and transport them to a railhead from where they will be distributed to Mexico, Canada, and the US. Mexico forms part of this picture as Toyota produces trucks just south of the border. Most of its trucks are outbound to the US but the system loses those that stay in Mexico once they are picked up by the Mexican trucking company. “This is a good example of how an OEM uses a specific product called Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) for finished vehicles. Other automotive companies like Subaru and Volvo use it worldwide,” explains Markeset.

Tsol is now looking to make inroads into the Mexican automotive sector, currently seeking clients it believes it could assist on a number of fronts. “We can support clients by identifying what technology they might need on the logistics side and provide this to them. We are also strong on network design, which helps to define where to locate plants and distribution centers, considering the sources of inbound material, destination of products, service levels, and needed inventories,” states Markeset. High Jump Software, which Tsol sells and operates, is already used by Toyota for an auto parts warehouse in the Czech Republic and by Mitsubishi for a manufacturing plant in Brazil. The software helps automotive companies to manage inbound and outbound transportation, as well as warehouse operations, such as receiving, storing, packing, and shipping material.