Thought Leadership Article

CHEP ‘Blue Motion’: gaining instant control of the SC

CHEP South Africa’s newly launched ‘Blue Motion’ mobile application will allow wholesalers and retailers greater control over their supply chains. Named for the company’s distinctive blue pallet range, the application provides its customers with a mobile asset management system utilising real-time data, which can be formatted to suit customers’ specific needs.

According to Victor Leftwick, business solutions and innovations director at CHEP, the company provides pallet, container and crate pooling services for many of the world’s largest supply chains, in South Africa and around the world. As such, CHEP is committed to helping its customers build better supply chains,” says Leftwick. “We are constantly working with customers to see how we can enhance their processes and allow them greater control of their supply chain – we believe Blue Motion does just that.”

Leftwick explains that most retailers and wholesalers use some form of paper-based system to track the movement of their CHEP equipment. Such a system is however very susceptible to human error. In most cases, a driver will manually record what equipment has been delivered or exchanged at each point along his route. He will then supply this information to a data capturer on his return to the depot. However, if either the driver or data capturer captures the information incorrectly, loses the information or simply forgets to upload it, effective asset management becomes impossible. Retailers and wholesalers using a loosely supervised paper-based system could be haemorrhaging assets without even being aware of it.

“The reality is that retailers and wholesalers are supplying CHEP equipment to multiple stores that do not have CHEP accounts, meaning these stores could abuse the equipment or simply allow it to stockpile in their yards, while the wholesalers and retailers remain liable for the equipment,” elaborates Leftwick. “Often real equipment losses would only come to light when a physical store audit is conducted, which might only happen once a year.”

Blue Motion circumvents all these challenges by providing an easy-to-use asset management system with real-time information. The software is loaded onto a smart phone and provides a simple and user-friendly customer interface. At each location the driver is able to select from pre-populated data sets what equipment was delivered and/or exchanged. The products are not only identified by their codes, but a picture of each product (which can be enlarged upon selection) appears next to the product code for easy identification.

When a transaction takes place on Blue Motion, both the issuing and receiving customers are sent an e-mail with all the details of the transaction. It is an electronic and immediate proof of delivery, allowing users to run balances, do stock counts and so effectively reduce daily hire charges by more efficiently managing their stock. But as Leftwick points out, no two customers are the same and CHEP is able to customise the application to serve the unique needs of each company. “Because the system runs entirely independent from SAP, it can be set to automatically share information with SAP in order to sync customers’ systems, but it does not have to. A customer can use it for their CHEP issues as well as additional, non-CHEP products, which can be added to the application for monitoring.”

Due to Blue Motion’s built-in GPS tracking capability it records where the phone is located every 10 minutes, registering this data on CHEP’s dedicated website (www. chepmap.com). It also uploads the GPS location and time to the website whenever a transaction is submitted. Knowing where the driver was when he logged the transaction is useful for customers as it confirms that they were actually at the store on that date. Customers are able to log into www.chepmap.com and gain access to various reports. “A wide array of reports can be run depending on the customer’s requirements,” adds Leftwick.

Farmers and those without regular 3G or wi-fi connections can utilise Blue Motion’s SMS option. The interface works exactly the same but the information is SMSed back to the customer’s or CHEP’s data capturer to capture on SAP. “The Blue Motion app will greatly enhance our customers’ asset management capability, enabling them to save both time and money. But it also demonstrates CHEP’s dedication to addressing supply chain issues in partnership with our customers, enabling them to build stronger businesses,” concludes Leftwick. •

Date: 25 May 2015
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