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HJ Heinz Implements Sterling Commerce Solutions for 'Game Changing' Logistics Operations

Published 29 May 2009 | By Sterling Commerce

At its customer conference, Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) company, today announced that HJ Heinz Company (Heinz) has transformed its logistics operations with Sterling Commerce business integration and supply chain execution applications.

Heinz now manages its complex logistics network of more than 1,200 unique suppliers, shipping to more than 20 US plant locations and then on to hundreds of customers from end to end. With this transformation, Heinz now utilises its carriers more efficiently, gets full real-time visibility into associated costs and physical movements, improves service to its plants and serves as a better supply chain partner to suppliers and customers.

Heinz, one of the world's leading marketers and producers of healthy, convenient and affordable foods, which specialises in ketchup, sauces, meals, soups, snacks and infant nutrition, has implemented components of Sterling Business Integration Suite and Sterling Transportation Management System (TMS) from Sterling Selling and Fulfilment Suite as the foundation for its world-class logistics operations implementation.

In 2006 its inbound logistics operations were managed by Heinz's suppliers and carriers. However, Heinz had a vision that by taking control of those operations, the company could gain synergies between its raw goods and finished goods sides of the business. The company recently implemented the freight payment module of Sterling TMS, a final step that completes the end-to-end process by automating the freight invoicing and payment processes with its carriers.

David White, manager of dry warehousing for Heinz, said: Gaining control over our inbound logistics has been 'game changing' for Heinz. Connectivity was key. We started to gain a clearer view into the way our network works and saw the easiest and greatest opportunities for making the network more efficient with minimal service interruption.

From there, Sterling TMS provided us with complete control over our inbound freight, enabling us to take advantage of cost-savings opportunities more efficiently.

It was Heinz's vision to have a single system manage all the company's logistics operations – from order to fulfilment – involving more than 1,200 unique suppliers shipping to more than 20 US plant locations and then on to hundreds of customers.

The company started with two components of Sterling Business Integration Suite – Sterling Integrator (formerly Gentran Integration Suite), a flexible integration solution, and Sterling Collaboration Network, the company's hosted service that provides secure connectivity and collaboration between businesses – to gain connectivity between Heinz and its business partners.

The company then implemented Sterling TMS, the world's largest on-demand transportation management solution, for its freight payment, auditing and claims management functions provided in a manage-by-exception environment.

We needed to manage our transportation operations by exception. A network the size of Heinz is almost impossible to manage any other way, said Mr White. With the new systems, Heinz has been able to decrease planned downtime by more than 80% and increase efficiency gains for on-boarding trading partners and administering the system by more than 30%.

Richard Douglass, global manufacturing industry executive of Sterling Commerce, said: Heinz demonstrates the value manufacturers can achieve by optimising their business collaboration network. By streamlining their inbound logistics process with Sterling Commerce integration solutions and applications, Heinz is better prepared to minimise costs, inventory and achieve perfect orders.