UPS on Tuesday released a cloud-based order management platform to boost its global ocean and air freight forwarding product, UPS Supplier Management.
The new product, UPS Order WatchSM, aims at allowing customers to more efficiently collaborate with international suppliers and better manage their inbound supply chains.
The intended enhancements include more accurate and timely overseas vendor bookings, improved processing and management of suppliers, automated exception management, near real-time shipment status and detailed line-level visibility of in-transit inventory, improved internal operational processes, and facilitation of purchase order consolidation and optimized shipping plans.
The enhancements are available right away to current customers and to new customers starting in early 2013.
"Companies are beginning to look to the cloud for opportunities to improve supply chain collaboration and reduce operational inefficiencies," said Tom Boike, vice president of supplier management at UPS. "Through scalable cloud-based supply chain management technologies such as UPS Order Watch, companies are not only able to streamline management of vendors, but also manage all of their inbound shipments via a single platform. This can provide opportunities to consolidate ocean freight shipments and improve container usage to realize cost savings, which is increasingly important as COOs are looking for ways to mitigate ocean transportation costs following the ocean carrier rate increases in 2012."
System-generated exception alerts help ensure vendor adherence to customer requirements and provide an online system for approvals, facilitating purchase order-specific communication between vendor and customer, and reduce email trails and record storage, UPS said.
“Enhanced monitoring of vendor bookings against purchase order details and ship windows can further increase customer control, enabling intervention in early or late shipments or improper order quantities,” UPS said. “Once an order is placed, PO-level shipment planning and execution capabilities enable visibility and control from order creation through shipment delivery, providing customers with a virtual on-hand inventory view of incoming orders and merchandise.” - Eric Johnson