Asian Sources and ACS Logistics have developed ScanFact, a product that combines supply-chain management software and specialized logistics services to track purchase orders from the factory production floor to product delivery to retail outlets.
Many manufacturers are cutting out warehouses such as those maintained by ACS, preferring instead to ship directly to retail merchants, said Peter Weis, vice president of information services at Oakland, Calif.-based ACS Logistics, which handles international freight consolidation and distribution. The company provides information and documentation services to about 40% of its customers that ship direct, he said.
Because products are shipped directly, ACS had to find a way to ensure that the correct cartons were shipped, and that they arrived on time, according to Weis. ScanFact, developed in a partnership with Hong Kong-based Asian Sources' eTrade division, will now make that possible, he added.
After the factory scans the goods' universal product codes, reconciles packed goods against purchase orders, and generates carton labels, an Advance Ship Notice (ASN) is created by ScanFact. The ASN is then integrated into ACS' worldwide logistics database, where customers can view it through EDI links.
ASN information is then sent to ACS and electronically bundled with other logistics information. It is forwarded to the customer as early as 30 minutes after a carton is packed, instead of three to five days after the vessel sails, according to ACS. This process will typically allow users to receive complete shipment information three to 10 days earlier than is possible today, the company said.
Detailed information on carton contents can currently be delivered to customers through EDI or, starting early next year, through the World Wide Web via NetTrac, the company said. Using NetTrac, customers not fully EDI-enabled can view their data virtually in real time through any PC with Internet access, according to ACS.