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Faced with the challenge of sharing real-time forecast and consumption rate data information with suppliers, Stryker Instruments suffered inflated inventory levels, stock-outs and a variety of time-consuming supply chain administrative issues and costs. Stryker needed to give its U.S. and overseas suppliers a window into the division's data without administering a costly electronic data interchange solution.
The Portage, Mich.-based medical equipment company found the solution needed to meet these business demands in the global vendor managed inventory application called i-Supply, which is part of TradeBeam's on-demand global trade management suite. TradeBeam's i-Supply is a tool that provides suppliers with real-time inventory consumption, forecast and shipping information.
"TradeBeam's application enables Stryker to see the supply chain process from end to end, while allowing use of a Web browser to provide advanced shipping notice and promise-to-ship information," says Stryker's director of manufacturing, Mark Lincoln. "The tool also uses active alerting technology to allow proactive event-based management of the direct material supply chain."
Using TradeBeam's i-Supply, Stryker Instruments has revamped its inventory management process from inbound components, through assembly operations, and out to finished goods. Key benefits achieved through this partnership include:
• 30-percent reduction in direct material inventory for Kalamazoo and Ireland facilities
• 30- to 40-percent reduction in finished goods inventory sent to Stryker distribution centers in the U.K. and Japan
• Better control over the assembly process, including reduced excess and obsolete inventory
• Reduced expedited freight and stock-outs of direct materials, and
• Reduced supply chain headcount needed, while direct material purchases rose 20 percent.
Based on success with suppliers, Stryker has expanded the use of i-Supply, including using it to schedule the production process at its Kalamazoo, Mich., plant. The plant is also using the VMI application to replenish outbound finished goods inventory in Stryker's U.K. and Japanese distribution centers, resulting in 30 to 40 percent less inventory for those products. Puerto Rico, Germany and Switzerland facilities also are using or deploying i-Supply.
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