Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Americold gives customers more visibility into supply chain

Steve Rogerson
September 10, 2015
 
Americold has enhanced its supply chain capabilities by giving its customers visibility and access to their orders at every stage of the order lifecycle, from time of customer creation to final delivery. The Atlanta, Georgia-based company has done this using its proprietary i-3PL supply chain control system and Software AG’s WebMethods portfolio.
 
Americold provides temperature-controlled warehousing and supply chain systems to the food industry. WebMethods is being used to capture and integrate data from Americold’s B2B, warehouse, transportation and ERP systems to produce advanced intelligence for its customers.
 
“We want to provide our customers with breakthrough improvements comprising the ability to easily find, review and change active orders, as well as offer them order confirmations and alerts from any stage of the order and delivery process,” said Thomas Musgrave, Americold’s executive vice president. “It is about offering a single portal with full visibility of an order even when that order will have transited through a number of different networks and system architectures, and the multitude of programmed business logic that is required to deploy B2B communications. This is more than simply meeting SLAs and updating the customer on the labour activities of an order. We’ve expanded capabilities to include on-going updates to the customer on the virtual activities of an order too, ultimately exceeding customer expectations and garnering further trust.”
 
With more than 90,000 temperature-controlled truck moves annually, over 175 warehouses and nearly thirty million cubic metres of storage around the world, Americold says it is committed to providing its customers with the most competitive and complete supply chain.
 
“The WebMethods product,” said Musgrave, “integrates information from multiple sources enabling Americold management, partners and customers access to live, accurate data, reports and alerts enabling them to take action, reshape demand and make critical decisions more confidently.”
 
At the core of the digital transformation is the WebMethods integration server, which connects the company’s warehouse management system to its B2B gateway. Software AG’s Optimize provides the monitoring of customer orders and shipment processes to ensure that any issues are noted and appropriate alerts are generated. The German company’s MashZone serves as the user interface from where information is gathered.
 
“Americold has embraced digital-first thinking to create a competitive advantage for the company,” said Kevin Niblock, COO for Software AG in North America. “It is already experiencing positive customer satisfaction from the new systems. Most importantly, Americold expects to continue to uphold its SLA adherence metrics despite increases in complexity as greater visibility into its extensive supply chain will enable it to effect change and ensure smooth operations and on-time deliveries.”
 
Software AG has more than 4400 employees in 70 countries and had revenues of €858m in 2014.