The logistics processes related to the consortium include order brokering, which sits atop the order management process to insure proper execution, appointment scheduling, capacity management and load tracking. There are three categories: demand, supply and capacity.
“Most companies manage their transportation by installing software in their organizations that their carriers, CPGs and various suppliers sign on and use to schedule deliveries to the DC,” says Keenan. “We don’t supply that software. We supply the network services. What we provide is a robust application for transportation management that we deliver as a network service with all suppliers and carriers already on the system. And so when we talk about the ‘network effect,’ we are talking about the rapid adoption that accelerates the online appointment scheduling.
“We provide a network service environment,” he adds. “The users on all three fronts—the retailer, carrier and CPG—are all coming into onenetwork.com to schedule appointments at DCs. Typically after six months, we get up to 50 percent online appointment compliance. But Food Lion recently went live. In the first week, Food Lion hit 36 percent. In the first month, they hit 71 percent. They hit that for two reasons: Food Lion did a great job managing the project and all of their carriers and suppliers were on the network.”
The company doesn’t provide a warehouse management system (WMS). It interfaces to warehouse systems on the back end from many suppliers. On the front end, the firm also interfaces to many demand and order management systems.
Keenan is pleased with his track record. The company has nearly 1,000 customers that move about $8 billion worth of goods per month through its network to retail customers. He is even more optimistic about the future because of acceptance of the new technology.
“The adoption rate of the next generation architecture is accelerating,” he says. “Companies are breaking their silo mentality of the past with legacy architecture and looking to get to the next level. You cannot achieve the business process gains that companies want with yesterday’s technology. Our technology is robust and it’s proven. Our network ability to manage millions of transactions per month is proven.
Hebert of Accenture acknowledges that the network has a good number of clients, but she wonders about the amount of work each client does through the network.
“I’m always a little skeptical,” she says, “so the question is, ‘What are they using them for?’ Are most of those clients using only one part of the solution? If you look at the whole network information solutions that they have, there are multiple parts to it. So they can always say they have a thousand companies, but if they’re only putting 10 percent of the demand through, it starts to dilute that message a little bit. I always try to peel back to really see who’s doing what. How many companies use the solution in its entirety?”