Landmark Group is using e2open’s cloud-based supply chain technology to digitize manual processes, improve visibility and boost supplier collaboration.
Prakash Rao, group head of supply chain projects at retail and hospitality giant Landmark Group, says his team is using e2open’s collection of cloud-based services to move the company away from a legacy supply chain portal. This bespoke system, which was built internally 10 years ago, was obsolete and the business was unable to add new, data-led functionalities.
Rao says Landmark’s is now using e2open’s Global Trade Management suite rather than relying on its previous “hotch-potch” of legacy systems. The e2open suite includes a supply chain collaboration element that connects Landmark to its suppliers and a transport management system, which helps to manage the entire flow of documentation and payments, with extended functionalities for product quality and sea freight planning optimization. Rao explains:
To cater for inventory management visibility and effective track and trace, we wanted a sound and robust technology, which helps us with collaboration and provides real-time data visibility to our suppliers, and into our extended supply chain network.
Rao says Landmark wanted a tried-and-tested, cloud-based solution. After creating a business case for improving the company’s inventory management systems, his team shortlisted five suppliers. They evaluated these suppliers in terms of their functional qualities, such as collaboration and optimization features, and their technical qualities, including security and architecture. They then picked three suppliers for an in-depth demonstration process. Rao adds:
We ran very detailed workshops with business users. We also used live use cases. We gave the suppliers data for our main use cases, they configured their systems, and demoed it back to us.
This thorough process took six months. Inevitably, Landmark selected e2open as the best fit for its functional, technical and commercial requirements. Rao says:
They offered a comprehensive package, with all these modules that will help us in our journey towards the future.
The implementation of e2open is a two-year project that began in January 2022. Rao and his team have already implemented modules for trade account and transport management, with the company reaping benefits in terms of insight into the supply chain. He says:
Before, we didn't have access to real-time data visibility. So, that's one big change. The trade account is helping us manage all our documents and our expenses. There's one portal, one source of truth. With transport management, all shipments within our distribution centre network are being managed in one system.
Rao’s team is currently trialling the supply chain collaboration element of e2open’s platform. The full functional rollout will take up to 10 months to complete. Landmark has 2,000 suppliers across various regions and each business has to be integrated into e2open’s cloud-based platform. Some early plus points from the trial can be seen. Rao explains:
On collaboration, we’ve done a pilot with three or four businesses so far – I would say 30 to 40 suppliers. The initial feedback is that the data’s visible to the suppliers and all the communication is in the portal. Once we stabilize with our suppliers, we're very confident that we can track our entire supply chain.
After rolling out collaboration features across the business, Rao will look to implement additional quality management and free sea freight optimisation modules by the end of December 2024. These features will provide deeper insight into supply chain processes. He adds:
I'm expecting tremendous benefits. Everybody will be collaborating in one system. We will definitely envisage the bulk of those benefits during the next eight to 16 months, but we are already seeing the green shoots.
Rao says Landmark’s desire to be at the cutting edge of technology adoption has been one of the key success factors for the implementation of the e2open platform. He says the company has highly capable in-house IT, digital and supply chain expertise. The big challenge for internal employees has involved replacing legacy technologies and integrating e2open’s services with Landmark’s other technologies, such as Oracle ERP. So far, however, so good. He says:
We have the team to manage it. They work closely with e2open’s technical team. We have squads who look at different areas of IT. With proper planning, and proper collaboration with e2open, we are managing the integration process.
Rao says it’s also important to consider cultural challenges involved in rolling out a new supply chain system to both internal employees and the firm’s suppliers. Establishing an effective change management team is essential, he says:
We have specific things in place – working with the businesses, working with the suppliers, and working on training. We also have a ramp-up plan and we want to take it step by step. So, I think that's the big transformation. It’s all about getting people adapted to the new system, handholding them and training them, so they're fully committed to the system and then we can start getting the benefits.
As well as improvements to supply chain processes, Rao says Landmark is running innovative technology projects in a range of areas, including using RFID tagging to boost visibility, applying automation to distribution centre processes, and applying digital services to help customers manage orders more effectively. The company is also exploring how it can use technology to boost sustainability, such as in packaging and the fuels it uses for sea freight. He adds:
It’s about considering the whole supply chain landscape and addressing each piece – be it inventory, visibility, efficiency or speed – so that we’re very dynamic in an age of changing channels and changing customer requirements.
When it comes to making the most of e2open’s technology, Rao advises other digital leaders to develop a strong business case. Think about your problem areas, whether it’s visibility, efficiency or accuracy. Focus on your customers and consider how you will use the technology to meet their requirements. With the business case in mind, find a supplier who will help you overcome your challenges in an effective manner. Rao concludes:
It's better to go with as few platforms as possible, otherwise you will get into integration problems and disconnected systems, and you’ll have to bring together multiple systems. Also, look at the future – is the technology forward-looking? Is it flexible, scalable and modular?