Japan’s NTN Streamlines Operations Across All 52 Warehouses & Plants with Infor

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Infor Japan K.K., the Japanese subsidiary of Infor®, the industry cloud company, today announced that NTN Corp., a manufacturer and seller of bearings, driveshafts and precision equipment, has rolled out its Infor WMS warehouse management system.

NTN will use Infor WMS as its supply chain execution solution to combine warehouse management, labor management, transportation management and third-party logistics (3PL) billing management into a single integrated and rational business process for the entire supply chain. In addition to helping achieve on-time shipping and delivery to customers, Infor WMS is also enabling NTN to streamline operations through standardization and visualization of finished product shipping processes at all of its warehouses and plants across Japan.

Background

Since it was founded, the NTN Group has embraced its “Founders’ Spirit” (comprising a “Frontier Spirit,” which encourages it to keep challenging, and a “Coexistence and Co-prosperity Spirit,” which encourages it to develop together with society). With this in mind, it has expanded globally in line with its corporate philosophy of “We shall contribute to international society through creating new technologies and developing new products.” NTN is working to enhance the business foundations that underpin its operations so that it can continue delivering sustainable growth. It will do this by not only enhancing its fundamental technologies and core products, while expanding into new fields that take advantage of the core technologies it has developed over the years, but by also driving digital transformation (DX) to achieve more sophisticated business management and create new business models.

NTN adopted its previous core business system in the 1980s, but the system had aged to a point where operation and maintenance had reached their limits. In addition, the system was seriously impacting business continuity due to a shortage of engineers, software updates not being implemented and security risks. NTN also had to address limited traceability of business transactions (including product movement records), inefficient inbound/outbound operations at its domestic warehouses, and enhance the standardization of finished product logistics management. On top of that, it needed to develop a system platform for its DX initiatives.

NTN therefore launched a project to rebuild its core business system. This entailed adopting Infor WMS for a range of systems, including inbound and outbound operations at its warehouses and production history management at its plants. NTN chose Infor WMS for a number of reasons, including its extensive functionality; it enables efficient implementation of business reforms with the purpose-built package; it has been adopted widely in Japan and overseas with extensive integration with ERP; and it enables the creation of a new, innovative logistics platform with future potential. The strong support provided by Infor was yet another reason for NTN’s adoption of Infor WMS.

Results

NTN  adopted three Infor WMS modules for inbound, outbound, and logistics cost management at 52 sites across Japan including 17 regular warehouses, 3 automated warehouses and 32 plant shipping facilities. Simultaneous operation of all 52 sites was a prerequisite for the project because a range of departments would need to access all warehouses at the same time. Using iPads to efficiently conduct remote training and proficiency testing, the company succeeded in aligning operations at all sites.

The planned rollout was able to avoid initial concerns that adopting the new system would cause confusion in the workplace, leading to delays in receiving and shipping at the warehouses and issues with inventory accuracy. Anticipated results were achieved, including the standardization of warehouse operations and finished product shipping processes, management of logistics costs, and connection between logistics costs and receiving/shipping transactions.

Receipt and shipping operations were streamlined as well because the new system enabled cross-docking, with products shipped immediately after receipt. This enabled same-day processing for work that previously took two or three days to complete. The benefits of an integrated ERP included being able to maintain safe inventories for each warehouse and each item registered in the ERP and, through integration with transportation lanes registered in the ERP, it also enabled the streamlining of finished product logistics by automating tasks that were previously done manually. Standardization of outer labels and use of QR codes also enabled finished product traceability.

Comment from Koji Takahashi, NTN executive officer and IT manager:

“The adoption of Infor WMS has enabled us to instantly identify business-related issues, and then improve and enhance the efficiency of those processes, through the standardization and visualization of finished product shipping processes at all of our warehouses and plants across Japan. With improved connectivity with other systems, and other benefits it offers, we have no doubt that we made the right decision in adopting Infor WMS. We plan to add additional warehouses and plant shipping facilities in the future as we expand our businesses and distribution warehouses, so we look forward to taking advantage of Infor’s project management capabilities and global support systems.”

Learn more about Infor WMS.