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Striving for Perfection: Nulogy Delivers Perfect Order Solutions to Kellogg Co.
The Kellogg Co. is focused on protecting brand quality from production to retail. Nulogy, a Kellogg Co. supplier, has been instrumental in helping the global giant meet its goal by providing technology-based solutions that offer data-driven visibility into the supply chain. -By Robin Byrd
Once an employee of the Kellogg Co., Jason Tham is the co-founder and CEO of the Nulogy Corp., now a supplier for the global brand where he once worked. Started in a family room 10 years ago, the Canadian technology company is a pioneer in contract packaging software that utilizes cloud technology. What makes the products so remarkable is that the software solves the problem of accessing consistent and reliable information across a global network of suppliers to reduce costs, increase quality, and guarantee outcomes in processes. The unique PackManager platform, run in the cloud, connects a brand's suppliers, delivers data for better decision-making, enhances brand compliance with government regulations, and builds a collaborative supply chain.
This is a story of a customer-supplier relationship that improves competitiveness and sustainability for both the brand and the supplier.
Striving for Perfect Order
For greater understanding, many brands, like the Kellogg Co., utilize co-packers and co-manufacturers for efficiency reasons and cost savings. The brand does not necessarily have a "bricks and mortar" process in place for every product it brings to market. When customers want something new, the company wants to be able to respond with agility. Sometimes the fastest way to respond is to partner with another supplier who already has expertise in that area and the infrastructure in place. In Kellogg Co.'s case, the co-manufacturers utilize Kellogg Co.'s branded recipes to quickly get the products to market, while co-packagers package products under Kellogg Co.'s brand. By using Nulogy's software products PackManager and QCloud, Kellogg Co. gets a high level of visibility into its orders being processed around the world. PackManager runs in the cloud and is an innovative product that creates a "perfect order network" of a brand's co-packers and co-manufacturers. As Tham explains, "A perfect order network gives brands and suppliers the ability to collaborate on a global basis to provide a high assurance of quality with speed to market." Kellogg Co. was one of the first brands to recognize that Nulogy's products could give the company data-based visibility into the planning, scheduling and inventory control needed to ensure it was meeting quality standards. Kellogg Co. is able to track inventory and cost savings efficiency through the packaging and manufacturing processes to entry into the retail supply chain. "PackManager allows Kellogg Co. to deliver more customized products to consumer supply chains because it connects suppliers and gives them real-time information. One of the many advantages of our software is that it gives the brand the ability to verify process standardization during the product's life cycle," says Tham. Tracking and tracing inventory through the third party (retailer) helps Kellogg Co. ensure it is optimizing its supply chain while also meeting FDA requirements. Kellogg wants a perfect order in its regional networks which is the right quality, cost, location, time and inventory level.
Building EFFECTIVE Supply Chain Relationships
Debra Quade, supplier diversity manager for Kellogg Co., believes building a quality relationship with key suppliers like Nulogy is important to the brand's long-term success. "We are obviously a food company and not an IT company," she says. "So when we look at a problem, we understand the challenges we face. We rely on Nulogy to send in a team and provide us with proposed solutions, often with additional insights. These kinds of suppliers are helping us build a bridge to the future, continually innovate, and go to market better and faster." Effective supply chain relationships are built on a shared vision, trust and ongoing dialogue, which makes strategic planning much easier. The packaging industry has experienced three key trends. One trend is the customization of products. "Customization by region drives the need for Nulogy's products to deliver product customization through a standard, easy-to-use solution. When there is a standard process, there is a reduction of risks, reduction of costs, and reduction of variability," Tham explains. There is variability of products but assurance of process standardization. The second trend is automation, which promotes or improves efficiently moving products through the supply chain while collecting information to measure perfect order attainment. The third key trend is using Big Data to get better results. Building and maintaining a complex global supply chain comes with risks, which is one reason Kellogg Co. has high requirements for data. The company wants to ensure their suppliers are modernized and making best use of technology to provide them the right information and right processes. Nulogy helps reduce supplier risk by equipping Kellogg's strategic suppliers with the right tools to enable processes that guarantee outcomes, enabling productivity, assuredness of process quality, and supplier connectivity to the brand for standardization. Since Kellogg Co. sells food products, quality standards include having an efficient recall process to meet government requirements. "Standardizing the recall process has enabled Nulogy to reduce a four- to five-hour process to under a minute," says Tham.
Looking to an Innovative Future
Nulogy is always working to give customers additional functionality to help them achieve the perfect order through the Nulogy perfect order network. One is the recoup process, which is the ability to track and trace products in the third-party supply chain in a way that permits the brand to identify whether products are up to standard to go through the standard consumer retail chain, enabling Kellogg to identify damaged products and recoup undamaged products for sale. Waste reduction is critical to sustainability. "Kellogg Co. has seen significant improvements in waste reduction by increasing the agility of co-packers to meet changes in demand and ensuring they have the right product at the right time,” Tham says. According to Eric Blanchard, distribution services manager for Kellogg Company Canada, the company is currently averaging between 50 percent to 60 percent salvage of damaged products since inception of its project with Nulogy. Prior to using Nulogy's products, the figure was around 5 percent to 10 percent. As an innovator, Nulogy is always working on new solutions. The company recently launched Nulogy GO, which is a unified platform providing even greater supply chain visibility by connecting with enterprise resource planning (ERP), warehouse management systems (WMS), and supplier systems to provide visibility into real-time capacity, order tracking, and performance tracking. Goals for an innovative future include moving towards Artificial Intelligence and expanding the compliance function in response to significant increases in requirements placed on brands by governing bodies. Nulogy has experienced remarkable success, and Tham attributes it to talented and passionate staff, and to its relationships with customers. The company is service oriented and works closely with its customers to provide them the solutions required for success. Solutions are offered on five continents and in six languages with business being 60 percent in food and beverage; 30 percent personal care, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals; and 10 percent high tech, and electronics. The company has an eye on the future, always striving to develop innovative technology products that support the supply chains of global brands. "Kellogg Co. has been great in promoting us. We started with one key supplier, connected that supplier to other strategic suppliers, and then to Kellogg Co. Since then, the company has allowed us to work with other processes, giving us the ability to ensure supplier processes are standardized," Tham said. Whatever the future holds for the packaging industry, Nulogy is sure to be a leader in innovation.
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