Case Study by Deepal Manchanayaka, Supply Chain Lead, SouthTrade
SouthTrade is a leading liquor distributor owned by global market leader, Sazerac.
In Australia, the company’s supply chain operation is led by experienced Supply Chain Lead, Deepal Manchanayaka. Since joining the company in 2020, his priorities have been to streamline processes and remove manual tasks wherever possible.
“For SouthTrade, a reliable supply chain is critical to their business viability. We’re measured on the service levels we deliver to our key customers, including Coles, Woolworths, and Dan Murphy’s,” said Deepal. “Mistakes that impact service delivery also impact revenue and cause customer dissatisfaction – no one wants to see empty shelves.”
In 2021, Deepal approached The Missing Link with the goal of streamlining the purchase order process by reducing duplication and increasing accuracy through Robotic Process Automation.
“We’d never undertaken a project on this scale – it had always been considered too difficult or costly – but the time was right,” he said. “I knew that achieving this would be a win-win for both SouthTrade and Sazerac”.
The Selection Process
The Missing Link was one of three Automation providers invited to submit a proposal for the project, and having provided infrastructure services to SouthTrade since 2018, we had proven our capacity for service delivery and had a good understanding of their business.
Our proposed solution redefined their existing data formats to enable orders to be seamlessly and directly transferred from SouthTrade to Sazerac via electronic data interchange (EDI) software and using a secure file transfer protocol.
“We selected The Missing Link based on their proposal and their track record for high levels of service,” Deepal explained. “The team demonstrated a high level of knowledge and expertise. They made themselves available to talk through the proposal with Sazerac and, in doing so, gained their confidence and approval to proceed.”
While we already knew the business, taking time to gain a deep understanding of SouthTrade’s supply chain needs was critical to our successful tender, as was carefully articulating the proposed solution to ensure they were comfortable with what we were recommending and why.
Deepal agreed. “The Missing Link was very approachable and responsive. I’d describe our relationship as open and transparent from the beginning, and the few challenges encountered were quickly overcome.”
Deepal said that Automation has successfully reduced the manual effort required for SouthTrade and Sazerac to submit, follow-up and process orders.
“Instead of making calls to follow-up, we now receive automated emails advising that orders have been successfully processed. That’s very reassuring from a supply chain management perspective.
“In the future, I would like to see the time saved redirected to other more complex tasks, like demand and supply forecasting”.
From a personal perspective, Deepal said it has been rewarding to initiate and complete such a significant project.
“Being able to meet with the Managing Director and tell him that the project I recommended two years ago was successful and is making such a difference to the way our supply chain works, was really rewarding. It’s also opened a lot of possibilities for future integrations,” he concluded.
“Automating our ordering process removes the risk of human error and saves time. We’re redirecting the time saved by the Automation to more complex, value-adding tasks such as demand and supply forecasting. Already, we’re working on a follow-on project, and I have documented a pipeline of others for years to come.”