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Isuzu General Motors, the market leader in the light/heavy truck segment in Australia, has pioneered a complete outsourcing solution for spare parts warehousing and distribution. A first for the truck industry in Australia and built from scratch in just three months, the new system replaces a shared services model that Isuzu previously operated with sister company General Motors Holden.

The Isuzu solution has been delivered jointly by Australian software company IDS Enterprise Systems and logistics specialist TNT Logistics.

Under the outsourcing arrangement, TNT Logistics provides the physical warehousing, materials handling facilities and the transportation links to the Isuzu dealer network. Located adjacent to Melbourne's Western Ring Road, the new facility provides unparalleled access to national and international road, rail, air and sea transport infrastructure. It comprises around 5,000 square metres of storage floor space and has the flexibility to expand or reconfigure to accommodate new parts handling techniques.

The software brains behind the Isuzu/TNT facility is IDSe42, a complete Enterprise Commerce Management (ECM) system. In fact, establishing a new IT system and bringing it online in a very compressed timeframe was quickly identified as the mission critical issue in this implementation.

Originally designed for automotive distribution businesses, IDSe42 has a 20-year history of development and evolution and is used by many leading durable goods companies in Australia, plus a growing number of clients in Asia, Europe and New Zealand.

Reflecting on a hectic few months, Peter Rutkis, Isuzu-GM's National Spare Parts Manager said in many respects it was a make or break implementation for the company.

"Isuzu has got to be where it is in the market by having a great product coupled with industry leading after sales service and support," he said.

"Spare parts and related service support is strategically important to our business but the irony is we were totally reliant on Holden, in terms of both the physical facility and the supporting IT infrastructure."

A key feature of the Isuzu solution is the dealer interface incorporating the latest online, real time ordering capabilities across a low cost Internet connection. For example, as soon as an Isuzu dealer submits an online order, it is printed in the warehouse and an order acknowledgement is automatically transmitted back to the dealer on a secure website. Back at the warehouse, the order is then picked using handheld Radio Frequency guns, shipped, closed and readied for dispatch. An invoice is automatically produced on the secure dealer website with all case picking data.

The system boasts a host of other 'smart' features. For example, in the event that a credit note needs to be raised for a parts return, the credit generated is automatically linked to the original invoice which means duplication of credits is impossible.

The complete ordering and shipment process is essentially paperless, reducing the scope for error and eliminating further direct costs such as mailing or faxing invoices.

The system also controls the in-bound supply line from Isuzu Japan. For example: 
it includes built in forecasting to generate stock top up replenishment, with all orders transmitted via EDI to Japan.
once Isuzu Japan produces the shipping invoice, it appears in the system by EDI eliminating the need to key in any in-bound shipping data. The shipment is costed and dissected ready for receipting, again saving time and removing any scope for error. The in-bound process even checks local supplier price lists to highlight any price changes or discrepancies if the shipment identifies a new part number, the system automatically creates the new item master, supersession chains are automatically updated and on order balance adjusted accordingly, thereby eliminating manual data maintenance at item level. 

Importantly, the system has been designed so that information is entered once only, and at source. Data changes appear instantly in every relevant area of the business - stock, inventory, financials, etc. - so there is no uploading of data or re-keying of information.

Mr Rutkis said the implementation involved a complete break with the past, which brought with it potential risks to the business. "We couldn't afford any hiccups with the implementation, and with limited internal experience to draw from, we had to place complete faith in IDS and TNT to get it right first time. And they did."

With the critical parts of the implementation now bedded down, Isuzu is looking to extend the capabilities of IDSe42 deeper into the business.

"By necessity we chose to implement certain key modules of IDSe42 first - the spare parts and warehousing management modules - but this new system is an investment in doing a range of things differently and we are now turning our attention toward some exciting new ECM initiatives," Mr Rutkis concluded.

TNT Logistics and IDS Enterprise Systems see the Isuzu implementation as the forerunner to other joint projects. 

We had not worked directly with IDS on implementation before, but I must say the whole experience has been extremely positive," said Chris Demetriou, General Manager, Business Development, TNT Logistics. "TNT Logistics and IDS also service a common client base and we hope to extend our developing partnership more formally in the near future."

Gordon Towell, CEO, IDS Enterprise Systems, said the Isuzu contract was important for his company because it was pitted against some of the largest international ECM software companies in the world - and came up trumps. "But I should add that we've been quietly doing this for some time," he said

About Isuzu General Motors. Isuzu General Motors (IGM) has been the number one selling marque in the Australian light/heavy truck market for the past 13 years. With around 30 per cent of the market, Isuzu currently sells around 5,000 trucks each year across a 50 strong dealer network. For further information, 

About IDS Enterprise Systems. IDS Enterprise Systems is an Australian owned and operated software company providing enterprise systems to businesses in Australia and globally. With 20 years experience to draw upon, IDS implements complete business solutions ranging from Internet-based business-to-business applications through to supply chain management and ERP systems. IDS clients include some of the largest names in the global durable goods industries including Jaguar, Daimler/Chrysler, General Motors Holden, Yamaha, Panasonic, United International Pictures, Readers Digest and more. For further information,

About TNT Logistics TNT Logistics occupies a leading position in the Australian market by offering complete warehouse and supply chain management solutions to a selection of industries such as automotive, telecommunications, print and fast moving consumer goods and electronics. Globally TNT is the world's second largest logistics provider with operations in 26 countries. For further information,

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