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“Hot Parts” Solution Creates Sense of Refief for Trinity

About Trinity  

Trinity specializes in the supply of standard and customer-specific components through catalog distribution, customized inventory management programs and product delivery services. These services result in an improvement in the flow of products, services, and information across the supply chain, improving the bottom line of the companies. Trinity covers all the US with 9 different distribution centers providing the highest level of service with real, measurable, repeatable positive results. 

Modernizing the Supply Chain 

According to Russ Miller, the managing partner of StrataFlows, “over sixty percent of the prospects we encounter are still using an ad hoc approach to deal with their supply chain disruptions. That is, they are using phone calls, whiteboards, excel, and emails. Often, they have not considered the advantages of using a purpose-built tool to automate hot parts, supplier expedites, or root cause analysis. This is because most lack specific technology to help advance their initiatives.”  

As most of the world embraces technology, the supply-chain industry should be no exception. However, with ad hoc systems for tracking Hot Parts and materials such as email, spreadsheets, and phone calls, and limited other options, the supply chain industry continues to fall behind. Trinity knew there was a better way to control and manage their Hot Parts. After a deep dive for a solution, Trinity found StrataFlows within the John Deere plant. Taking their requests from 150-200 part requests a day to around 10-15, StrataFlows was the answer Trinity needed.  

The Challenge  

As a 3PL, Trinity provides VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory) directly to the assembly lines for select John Deere plants. Prior to implementing StrataFlows, one of the significant issues they faced was obtaining data from Hot Part requests and being able to track the location and availability of parts inventory in real-time. These requests were sent out in the form of emails and calls with the attached spreadsheets at a rate of about 150-200 a day. With all the phone calls and emails, it was nearly impossible to stay up-to-date and follow up on the newest developments for each Hot Part request and little chance of doing root cause analysis without a tracking system. This lack of a system for tracking Hot Parts proved difficult for Trinity, leading to line shutdowns and unnecessary downtime, which is costly. With no updated way to track each issue that arose, incident management also became a concern, and multiple requests for the same reason added more chaos to the mix.

Implementing a Solution  

Concerned with John Deere’s production efficiency, and their own credibility, Trinity implemented their first StrataFlows module designed to deal with Hot Part requests. A critical benefit of the Hot Part module gives Material Coordinators in the Deere plant an effortless way to submit Hot Part requests and communicate them with Trinity, the 3PL provider in the nearby warehouse. From those requests, team members can either quickly pull the item from an inbound shipment before receipt or pick it from inventory to get it to the plant before it causes assembly line impact. According to Jay Rudisill, Trinity’s Warehouse Manager, “before using the Hot Part module, we found we would report an issue, only to find out we had some sitting on our dock – now we know if it is on a shipment and when it arrived.” Having this new visibility in their supply chain helps Trinity run more efficiently.  

Implementing new software and a way of operating can be tricky sometimes. However, Jay noted that this module was exactly the opposite, stating that “the Strataflows module was incredibly easy to implement with the team. It took maybe an hour or so before our team was up and running with it.” This quick turnaround time is a key feature of the Strataflows platform. It can integrate with the systems manufacturers are already using, which makes it extremely easy for team members to pick up on. Jay also notes, “the ability to access from a cell phone or any device, allows me to continue to follow and track requests from anywhere in the plant, making it easy to stay up to date with any developments.”  StrataFlows modules are also easily customizable for each company. For Trinity, the flexibility of the platform helped them tailor the Hot Part request module to meet their exact business needs.

Jay was impressed at how immediate the results were, “From almost the first day of Stratawise, it allowed my team to take a step back to see where we are with certain requests. The requests were easier to manage because we could see the stage they were at – submitted, acknowledged, picked, delivered.” Trinity now has an easier way to follow up, track, and manage all Hot Part requests that come in from the production line. Not only are team members able to view real-time data, requests, and issues on the interactive dashboard but they also could export all data to an Excel file for further analysis. This feature of StrataFlows helps Trinity not only follow up on requests faster but allows for incident management and tracking. By tracking issues, Trinity is able to single out reoccurring issues and communicate to correct the problem for the future. 

Succeeding with StrataFlows 

With the ease of implementation and the success the Hot Part request module was providing, Trinity did an internal audit of their workflows to assess if StrataFlows could help improve other aspects of their supply chain. The second module implemented was for their ACD process. This module was tailored for Trinity to add, change, or remove parts needed on the line. With the help of StrataFlows, team members could quickly look up a needed part and see if there was another area of the plant it was located in or if there was an adequate substitute they could use instead. Prior to StrataFlows, this searching for parts resulted in many phone and email requests and, ultimately, led to costly production downtime. Now though, with the module in place, requests and downtimes have significantly been reduced.  

In addition to the Hot Parts module, Trinity has now developed modules of their own on the Stratawise platform that they use internally and with other customers, such as CNH Industrial, through their “myparts” 3PL and VMI services, these modules include: 

1) ACD – add/change/delete for tracking the placement of parts they manage within work centers on the plant floor. 

2) Inbound Expedite – used to request parts anticipated to be short coming in from an Agrisolutions hub or external supplier. It provides visibility into which supplier the part is being sourced from, quantity, the ETA, tracking details and general status. 

3) Cycle Count – used to do systematic inventory checks back into the warehouse or a department on the plant floor as part of an inventory management system. 

Before Trinity found StrataFlows, team members were fielding phone calls and emails for 150-200 part requests a day, causing stress, and issues when requests slipped through the cracks. That number has been cut down to about 10-15 requests a day, or a 92.5% decrease since StrataFlows helped modernize their workflow. Along with the decrease in daily requests, reoccurring incidents are down thanks to the data reporting provided by StrataFlows which allows for root cause analysis. Happily working with the two modules now, Trinity is already looking to StrataFlows to help streamline their other workflows.