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ESAB improves delivery management efficiency with Centiro

ESAB improves delivery management

ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, a Colfax Corporation company, (part of Colfax group) is an international manufacturer of welding and cutting equipment and has been operating for 110 years. ESAB’s customers work in a broad range of industries, including transport, construction, automobile and shipping; the company’s products are used by many organisations, from Volvo for making automobiles, to Boeing for building fuel tanks for spacecraft.

Obstacles blocking the path

ESAB stocks a complete inventory of components for its products at each of its warehouse locations and assembles bespoke, fully configured equipment within 48 hours which it then distributes via its network of carriers. With each shipment, ESAB is required to print a label with third-party carrier dispatch information as well as safety certificates, manuals and any other relevant information to go to the customer. In order to comply with EEC safety standards as well as voluntary ISO standards, each certificate needs to contain detailed information about every item of equipment the company ships out. ESAB was looking to expand its business by taking on new carriers to deliver products to new sites in different regions. In order to do this quickly and effectively, the company sought to upgrade its existing delivery management capabilities.

Richard Humphries, Global EDI Manager at ESAB said, “As a global business, we regularly need to update information on new carriers, new locations and languages, and incorporate any legislative changes to documents. We couldn’t do this as quickly as we liked with our on premise delivery management solution, as information was kept in siloes at each manufacturing site. Since different sites were running different versions of the software, on-boarding new carriers could take a long time and we were not taking on new projects as quickly as we wanted to, limiting our ability to expand our business.

Putting the parts together

The aim was to create a centralised system for ESAB’s delivery management using Centiro’s cloud platform. Centiro started discussions with ESAB in late February 2013 and began moving systems over to its SaaS solution in March 2013. Starting with the firm’s Opole plant in Poland, Centiro began moving all XML documents, such as despatch notes, carrier labels and certificates, over to the cloud. The system was set up so that each time an order is placed, ESAB’s PLM system communicates with Centiro’s cloud server to request the relevant XML documents for each shipment. These files are sent to the ‘Centiro connector’, a piece of Centiro software installed on an ESAB server, that communicates with local printers at each warehouse to print labels and documents that are sent with the shipment.

Once Centiro’s solution had been shown to work effectively, it was rolled out to ESAB’s other 11 locations throughout Europe, with one site going live per month over the course of a year. The process of adding ESAB’s carriers to the new system gradually took less time as the project progressed; with ESAB’s 11th site taking only one day to move all carriers over. Throughout this process, ESAB was able to run its existing IT alongside the new solution, in order to minimise disruption. Centiro and ESAB completed the project in March 2014, when the final site was migrated to the cloud platform.

Forging a partnership

Doing away with multiple instances at different locations has meant that ESAB now has a single overview of its customer interactions and can see where new efficiencies can be created. This also allows ESAB to simplify its IT and concentrate on other areas of the business. Having a cloud-based solution has also allowed ESAB to overcome the technology constraints which prevented them from quickly integrating new carriers and locations in the past. Now, ESAB has greater control over the performance of its business and is able to more flexibly manage its carriers across all of its locations throughout Europe.

Humphries concluded, “Since using Centiro, we have been able to make our delivery management operate much more efficient. Furthermore, as the software is regularly updated every three weeks, we have peace of mind we are always running the latest version. Overall, by moving our delivery management software to the cloud, we have been able to reduce costs, save time and make our IT work more effectively for the business.