To drive its business growth, CEVA Logistics targeted rock-solid availability for the electronic data interchange (EDI) services that connect its extensive network of clients, suppliers and logistics partners.
CEVA Logistics is migrating its EDI services to IBM® Supply Chain Business Network—enabling elastic scalability and consistently high availability in the cloud.
90% fasterscaling of EDI capacity enables CEVA to meet seasonal peaks in demand
40% fastertime to market for new trading partners targeted by 2016
50% cost avoidanceachieved compared with an in-house solution
Business Challenge Story
For consumers, retail events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are exciting opportunities to pick up a bargain—but for the logistics companies working behind the scenes, these massive spikes in demand can be a tough challenge.
To keep the supply chain moving smoothly, logistics companies rely on electronic data interchange (EDI) messages—containing information on purchase orders, invoices, acknowledgements and more—flowing between hundreds of clients, suppliers and logistics partners. In the run-up to major retail events, the volume of EDI messages sent to logistics companies can skyrocket, and any processing delays increase the risk of lost revenues and damaged reputations. How can logistics businesses gain high-performance, dependable and scalable EDI services without breaking the bank?
CEVA Logistics—one of the world’s leading providers of logistics services—decided to tackle the challenge head on.
Jeff Liddicoat, Information Systems and Services—Integration, Senior Delivery Lead at CEVA Logistics, explains: “To help communicate with a growing network of 1,400 trading partners, we utilize 2,300 EDI maps to process around one million transactions per day.”
He continues: “Currently, almost six gigabytes of EDI data flows through our EDI systems every 24 hours, and we predict that figure will increase to 18 gigabytes as we continue to win new clients over the next five years.
“At key points in the year such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we see an explosion in demand on our EDI systems—especially for our large clients. For example, if Microsoft or Dell launch new products, our transaction volumes can easily double in a matter of days.
“Previously, we were dependent on a number of legacy in-house platforms to support our EDI processes. Scaling out the EDI infrastructure required time-consuming and costly provisioning of new hardware, which made it difficult to react quickly to peaks in demand.
“What’s more, because we were using multiple different systems, providing support was a complex task, increasing the risk of vital systems suffering unplanned downtime at critical moments. To enable the headroom to add new clients to the business while continuing to offer the highest quality experiences to our clients, we looked for a modern, enterprise-class EDI solution.”
Migrating to the cloud
To support contained business expansion without a reduction in service levels for EDI, CEVA Logistics decided to migrate its multiple EDI systems to IBM Supply Chain Business Network—a secure, cloud-based solution.
“Of all the options we considered for the new EDI platform, we felt that IBM Supply Chain Business Network offered the optimal balance of performance, scalability and availability to meet our business requirements,” recalls Jeff Liddicoat.
“We calculated that the managed-services solution from IBM would help us avoid 50 percent in capital costs compared to building a new in-house EDI platform. Better still, the cloud model means that we never have to worry about the underlying infrastructure—eliminating the need for operational spend on software updates or provisioning new hardware.”
Today, CEVA Logistics is working with IBM to document the requirements for its trading partners and interfaces and migrate them to the cloud solution. To date, CEVA Logistics has moved almost half of its total EDI transaction volumes to the new, modernized platform.
“One of the unexpected benefits of documenting our legacy EDI systems is that it enables us to take a fresh look at our approaches and figure out ways to do things better on the new platform,” says Jeff Liddicoat. “Simply by reviewing our processes we have discovered maps, interfaces and reports that have not been active for a number of years—enabling us to go back to the business to check if the components are required on the IBM platform. Through this iterative process alone, we estimate that we have cut down our migration requirements by around 40 percent.
“Another example is advance shipping notices [ASNs] for high-volume shipments. Translating ASNs on our previous system could take up to two hours, and every minute over our 30-minute customer service-level agreement increased the risk of missing key delivery deadlines. Since migrating some of our largest clients to the new platform, IBM helped us to identify and implement performance enhancements that reduce the processing time for ASNs down to minutes.”
With IBM Supply Chain Business Network driving its EDI processes, CEVA Logistics can deliver on time, every time—improving client satisfaction even as its business grows.
“Before, the EDI volumes we experienced on Black Friday were a real strain on our EDI systems and our client relationships,” says Jeff Liddicoat. “Thanks to our modern IBM platform, we can delight our clients with higher EDI service levels than ever. We can add extra EDI capacity to the IBM solution at the touch of the button, and have the system online in days, not weeks—90 percent faster than previously possible. And because IBM Supply Chain Business Network offers truly elastic capacity, we pay only for the compute resources we need.
“We recently switched over one of our largest clients to the platform in time for Black Friday. The IBM solution handled the spike in EDI volumes flawlessly—helping us to meet and surpass an important client’s expectations, and nurture their loyalty. Many of our clients assign quality ratings to their logistics providers. We recently won the prestigious supplier-of-the-year award from one of our largest automotive clients, and we are confident that our B2B integration solution from IBM will make it easier to continue to achieve the high scores and strong reputation that encourage repeat business.”
As CEVA Logistics continues to migrate to the IBM cloud, it is already planning innovative ways to enhance its EDI service offering to the business.
“Logistics is a highly competitive industry, and margins are tight,” explains Jeff Liddicoat. “To make competitive bids and protect our profitability, our business users ask for quotations for new EDI services. Because our previous approach depended on so many different internal resources, it was extremely difficult to estimate the exact amounts of time and resources required.
“The IBM solution enables us to offer the business a fixed-price self-service catalogue, which shows them the exact time and cost of setting up new maps and trading partners—making it easier for the business to create competitive bids to win new clients. The IBM solution even enables us to offer self-service access to information on EDI uptime and message delivery statues in a secure, internal portal called CEVA Matrix Connect.”
Jeff Liddicoat comments: “Once our migration into the IBM cloud is complete, we estimate that we will shrink our time to market for new EDI connections by 40 percent—helping us to bring new clients on board even faster than today. We are even investigating the possibility of creating pre-packaged EDI templates, which would further accelerate onboarding, cut costs and increase our competitiveness.”
He concludes: “IBM Supply Chain Business Network is so flexible and responsive that we see it as an extension of our business. Thanks to our close partnership with IBM, we have gained the EDI performance, scalability and availability we need to realize our growth ambitions.”
Founded in 2007 with the merger of TNT Logistics and EGL Eagle Global Logistics, CEVA Logistics is one of the world’s leading logistics enterprises. The company’s comprehensive offering includes freight forwarding, contract logistics, transportation management and distribution management, it employs 44,000 people and reports annual revenues of approximately USD8.5 billion.
- IBM Sterling Supply Chain Business Network
- Sterling B2B Integration Services Plus
- T&T: IBM Maintenance Optimization (IMO)
Take the Next Step
To learn more about IBM Supply Chain Business Network, contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/us-en/marketplace/partner-collaboration-network