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Author's profile photo Richard Howells

How CommScope implemented best in class transportation practices

This afternoon, Kevin Harrison, the VP of global Logistics at CommScope talked about “Achieving transportation excellence”. As he put it, “For CommScope, this was not just a vision or a journey, but a necessary mission”.

I learned that CommScope serves the broadband, enterprise and wireless markets in more than 100 countries, and realizes over $3 Billion annually in revenue. They have more than 20 manufacturing facilities and more than 11,000 employees around the world.

As Kevin stated, “delivering broadband services to residential and commercial customers is a constant race against growing demand. Higher-bandwidth apps can stretch your network to the limit, reducing network quality and reliability –and before long, that costs you customers”. Kevin continued “CommScope are known and trusted as the undisputed choice for top quality, the best warranties and superior service – from design to installation to disaster recovery, and everything in between”.

Business Challenges

CommScopes global footprint demands a global reach. They operate in 20 countries and have more than 35 shipping or receiving nodes. They operate 3 different business units and support a wide variety of products in all shapes and sizes. They have to support both make to stock and make to order processes and deliver the products across a network of warehouses, distributors and job sites.

To support a global network they must support all modes of transport

  •   13% by Air
  •    2% by Train
  •    35% Cargo Ships
  •    45% by Truck (both LTL and TL)
  •    5% by Parcel

This was being supported by a disparate set of systems that lacked a global platform. This made it difficult to scale as the business grew which resulted in frequent firefighting and lack of competitive advantage.

The selection process

CommScope went through a 3 month evaluation process which started with 10 solutions. They finally selected SAP Transportation Management
because it can:

  • Eliminate all the disparate, non-global systems
  • Support all modes of transport
  • Delivers improved reporting and analytics
  • Support the creation of complex routes

Implementation Recommendations

CommScope then embarked on a 9 month implementation project, and Kevin described  that they went through a 6 step approach. He recommended “sticking to as vanilla an implementation as possible, have strong project management and avoid shortcuts”. 

When it came to the actual scope he recommended “focusing on the basics first, engage the business users as key team members and ‘test, test, test’”.

Finally Kevin described some of the initial benefits CommScope are seeing.  He described, for example, the optimized load planning process that took 595 freight units and consolidated to 83 freight orders in 120 seconds. This would have taken several planners 2-3 hours in the previous system.

This was a very informative session on tips and best practices for leveraging a TM solution.

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