Suzuki GB engages Sovereign for its logistics management solution

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24th April 2017

Suzuki GB announces a five year partnership to improve customer satisfaction and drive efficiencies in its new vehicle logistics

Sovereign is the chosen partner to support Suzuki GB’s core objectives for its finished vehicle logistics to provide real time ETA information to its dealerships, reduce lead time for sold orders and increasing sales volume whilst reducing unsold inventory.

Dale Wyatt, Director of Automobile for Suzuki GB explains, ‘At Suzuki, we very much recognise that customers want a personalised sales experience and have their expectations managed well and ultimately, met. Having spent so much on a new car, why shouldn’t they be kept up-to-date with the delivery of their new pride and joy and have it delivered on time? Through the implementation of Sovereign’s EML solution, our dealers will have the transparency and accuracy of information to better manage stock, delivery dates and customer expectations. We know that this will provide us with a key competitive advantage, support our brand values and build our customer relationships.’

The OEMs existing processes reflect typical industry practice. For example, any ETA information that is available is an estimate and is not updated whilst it is moving through its supply chain. According to Wyatt, ‘Making change to current supply chain management processes is a big challenge for the industry. However, if we cannot provide timely accurate information, we cannot best manage our stock, optimise delivery and manage the customer experience. Customers are demanding change from this market, and at Suzuki we have listened and taking action. Automotive manufacturing has seen rapid evolution over the last 8 years. The finished vehicle logistics (FVL) market needs to make a step change in the way these vehicles are delivered and we have started that process.‘

Instrumental in the decision and involved from the outset, Suzuki’s Logistics Manager for Automobile, Paresh Tailor explains, ‘This is not a standard software deal. We haven’t bought a system to then manage solely in-house. We wanted a solution that would grow with us and best manage change both internally and with our suppliers. Sovereign is working with us to help us revise our logistics management, provide training to ensure we are getting full functionality from our investment as well as help us manage it 24/7 from both a technical and logistics perspective.’

The partnership includes a commitment to continuous improvement by both parties so the system will constantly be refined and Suzuki will be able to improve its practices based on the data that is recorded through the system.

Suzuki has a very clear vision of the changes it wants to make and knew when going out to market that this was not a small decision. Time was spent on assessing the IT market to find a solution that is innovative and provides a fresh way of thinking.

EML will facilitate several innovations not possible with the current systems:

  • Dynamically update the estimated time of arrival for all vehicles in the logistics chain. This is updated in real time for dealers.
  • Improve co-operation by giving all the third party logistician (3PL) better information more quickly to allow them to plan better and reduce delays
  • Promote sold and priority orders so that they are processed through the chain quicker; we aim to roughly halve the lead time for sold orders from factory to customer
  • provide Suzuki with real time feedback from every 3PL on the location and status of all of their vehicles
  • Allow for growth in Suzuki’s sales volumes without increasing our facilities 
  • Reduce inventory

Phase 2 of Suzuki’s EML development is to model the vehicle model mix that should be ordered from the factory so that Suzuki’s logistics systems are set to transform into a vehicle for sales support.

John Miller-Wilson, Director of Supply Chain & Logistics at Sovereign comments, ‘Software on its own cannot magically change company processes. It’s about taking time from the start to understand the current and future business requirements, the way the software is deployed and managed long-term. The finished vehicle logistics processes have evolved to suit the 3PL’s; the customer insight has been lacking. Suzuki are reorganising their chain around that customer insight

We see this deal as a five year commitment to support Suzuki and its vision. The Amazon effect has demonstrated that it’s possible to track and gain efficiencies in parcel delivery so why not the same with cars?’

With volumes expect to see significant growth next year, this was a perfect time to invest in a system that can deliver what is needed now as well as support future plans.