The MCL™ Mobility Platform – the basis of mobility management for the supply chain

THE MCL™ MOBILITY PLATFORM - THE BASIS OF MOBILITY MANAGEMENT FOR THE SUPPLY CHAIN

The MCL™ Mobility Platform is a cloud-based Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP), entirely dedicated to supply chain process execution. It offers customers a new way to overcome the increasing complexity associated with managing mobile applications and infrastructure, including development, deployment and maintenance, all time consuming and expensive processes.

Management throughout the mobile infrastructure life cycle

Using the platform, customers can manage their entire mobile infrastructure, from building and/or enhancement, deployment and integration, right through to the management of applications, devices and users. This all-in-one platform future-proofs mobile activities with the following key features:

  • Multiplatform and hardware independent
  • Centralized management
  • Cloud-based, 'pay-as-you-go' solution
  • Full life cycle support

A rapidly evolving logistics chain

The unique structure of Zetes’ offer is truly advantageous to companies because it is the perfect response to the changing realities of the sector.

There are several factors causing the crucial transformations in the supply chain:

  • Omni-channel sales

The rise of the internet and e-commerce have revolutionised product distribution models. As a result, companies that are active in, or entering this sector must reorganise their logistics processes.

  • Globalization

The proliferation of global exchanges worldwide has also introduced many challenges. How do you maintain control over products that are sent thousands of miles away from their place of production? How do you guarantee the quality of components sourced from another country or even another continent? There are many more intermediaries between the company and the final consumer, whilst neither one nor the other has visibility over the movement of the goods. This greatly increases the risk of parallel markets and counterfeit goods springing up.

  • Regulations

Health risks are one of the harmful consequences of globalization and the rise of e-commerce. Some countries have passed laws to protect consumers. The current regulations are particularly aimed at the pharmaceutical, agri-food, and arms sectors. These should allow the origin of a product to be certified and guarantee its delivery to the correct destination.

The logistics chain has thus become vastly more complex over the years, requiring simple, coherent systems for implementation and use to be devised, to provide visibility and simplicity in the midst of all the chaos.

The collaborative supply chain: from individual process optimisation to total visibility, traceability, and execution optimisation

Each solution is a response to a specific supply chain problem, but nevertheless, within a particular sector, the implementation of several collaborative supply chain solutions is what will provide optimum visibility, traceability, and flexibility of execution. Examples from the retail and pharmaceutical sectors provide a good illustration of the close connection between the different processes and, consequently, more than the complementarity, the interdependence between Zetes' different collaborative supply chain solutions.

The retail sector

Over the two last decades, the internet has changed the retail landscape forever. It went from a shop-based model to an e-commerce model and from there to a multichannel model (companies selling both through shops and e-commerce). This last one is currently the most common model in the retail sector. This transition required, and still requires, companies to make many adjustments to their processes for stock management, deliveries, returns, etc. Many brands just barely manage to implement these adaptations before the next development comes along: with smartphones, tablets, and the mobile internet, consumer habits have changed again. It has become very easy for consumers to obtain information about a product at any time and to make their purchases whenever and wherever they like. They are also offered more flexible delivery options: home, store, collection point, click & collect parcel lockers, etc. The same applies to returns, of which there are many in e-commerce. There is a growing need to interact more efficiently with the customer and to be able to refer at any time to all the interactions that have occurred with the customer, whether online or in store, in order to provide a coherent and optimum customer experience from start to finish. In certain cases, this can go as far as the possibility of checking that the product in one's possession is authentic. Because in fact the internet has also enabled the proliferation of counterfeit products. So, here we are in the omni-channel era: a retail environment where flexibility and the ability to create links reign supreme. By putting all the steps in the right order, we can easily see how the Zetes collaborative supply chain can be of great help to companies in the sector:

  • ZetesAtlas is the foundation of track and trace, managing serialisation and authentication.
  • ZetesMedea provides optimum warehouse efficiency, ensuring the agile execution of inbound, order picking and outbound logistics processes.
  • ZetesChronos ensures timely, accurate deliveries
  • ZetesAres maximises field based task efficiency and greater sales.
  • ZetesAthena provides in-store visibility of inventory and tasks relating to omni-channel fulfilment whilst improving customer interaction.
  • ZetesOlympus bridges supply chain data silos and delivers full, real-time end-to-end traceability and visibility.

"When goods are returned, they can lose 5 to 10% of their value," (IMRG Clear Returns Quarterly Fashion Returns Review Introductory Fashion Retail Returns Report February 2014)

The pharmaceutical sector

For the last few years, the global pharmaceutical sector has been subject to traceability and authentication requirements. The aim is to combat counterfeiting and remove the associated health dangers. Item unit traceability via serialisation will soon be mandatory in Europe. A serialised product however is not fully traceable unless all the processes and data capture technologies in the logistics chain are equipped to be ‘serial aware’. This is where Zetes is uniquely positioned. ZetesAtlas manages serialisation and data aggregation, to identify which box of a product is in which crate, which crate is on which pallet. ZetesMedea and ZetesChronos enable efficient logistics management so that items can be tracked from warehouse to delivery. ZetesOlympus lets you track each event relating to the product in a centralised data repository, allowing the various participants in the supply chain to obtain access according to their role. Complete traceability, from production to the consumer, can therefore only be obtained through serialisation if every step of the chain is equipped with a solution for data to be read and efficiently stored.

The collaborative supply chain stands the test for the traceability of explosives

The EPC Group specialises in the manufacture, storage, distribution, and implementation of explosives for civil applications. Since 2015, it has to comply with new European regulations imposing  complete unit-level traceability of items across the whole logistics chain.

Until then, the group had provided traceability of its products on its seven production sites and its 53 European depots through batch number management. To provide unit and global traceability on all logistics processes, the EPC Group had to reorganise all of its operations. The present case study is a perfect illustration of how the complete set of Zetes’ collaborative supply chain solutions, implemented at different stages of the supply chain, allow, at the end of the day, to have a complete and optimal traceability of all goods in an individual way.

Six production lines were equipped with the ZetesAtlas Packaging Execution solution. The solution manages marking and serialisation at each packaging level: item, box, pallet. ZetesAtlas also handles the aggregation and control of data in real time.

Once the items have been produced, marked, identified, and aggregated, they are routed to the 53 logistics warehouses of the EPC Group, where the ZetesMedea logistics solution ensures the continuity of product traceability. Initially, the solution manages the reception of goods and their placement in their storage locations. It then takes care of inventory management, order preparation and shipping. ZetesChronos ensures traceability of the loading of products into lorries, until delivery to the end customer. The information chain is not broken at any time.

Finally, to be able to respond quickly and easily to any requests for information by the public authorities, the EPC Group chose ZetesOlympus Track & Trace.

For the deployment of the global solution, the EPC Group opted for the MCL™ Mobility Platform. This allowed the fast deployment of 350 mobile terminals and their applications at the 53 warehouses. 

In addition to complete traceability, the Zetes solution has allowed the group not only to respond to European regulations but also to harmonise all of its logistics processes in all the European countries where it operates, resulting in improved service to the end customer.

A solid partner

Companies are seeking partners with the technical and human resources to support them in projects that are of crucial importance for their organizations. In a market that remains highly fragmented, Zetes provides:

  • The critical size required for the deployment of large-scale projects;
  • A solid financial foundation enabling it to make significant investments, particularly in infrastructure;
  • A network of subsidiaries across EMEA able to accompany international projects for customers requiring homogeneity of IT solutions and equipment fleets. Zetes' presence in both Europe and Africa is a major advantage for companies that operate in both of those continents. The Group is able to offer them the same level of service everywhere.

Prospects

In spite of recent developments, we observe that the supply chain has continued to change quickly. The adoption of new technologies leads companies to continually reposition themselves to satisfy the needs and demands of ever-more exacting consumers. Zetes continues to observe the market and upgrade its solutions, adding new functionality and discovering new fields of application for the existing features. The strategy adopted since 2012 has proven its relevance, and the company will continue to base its developments on this strategy in the future. In the past, any improvement in the Division's results depended mainly on external growth, but today, the Division manages to achieve growth organically whilst continuing to increase its margin. This makes the Group confident that it can continue along these lines.