When Perkins set out to establish its new regional logistics centre (RLC) in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, it used a data driven approach to create a new business model.
The goal was to develop a system that caters to a world conditioned to expect instant response, and seamless support with a few clicks on a website.
Traditional parts warehousing and distribution channels simply aren’t responsive enough to meet many of the demands of today’s customers.
“The experience our customers expect online today is very different,” said Nick Morgan, supply chain and operations manager for Perkins. “They’re used to ordering from places like Amazon and want everything tomorrow, or maybe even later today.”
To remain competitive, the company needed to establish e-commerce channels, online buying and its network of distributors and dealers.
“To accomplish that in North America we determined that the best strategy was to place a quick-response logistics operation for Perkins genuine parts in a central U.S. location,” Morgan said. “That was the genesis for Perkins’s new regional logistics center (RLC) in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.”
The RLC is located in 3,500 square metres of dedicated floor space in the 37,200 square metre UPS-SCS multi-client Kentucky Distribution Center in Elizabethtown.
The Elizabethtown location was chosen both for its proximity to the UPS Worldport facility, which is less than 80 km away from the Louisville International Airport, and its access to the American interstate highway system to facilitate ground shipments across the United States and Canada.
The proximity of the Perkins RLC to the UPS Worldport means customers in the eastern United States are able to place orders for next day delivery until 8 pm and west coast customers can order until the end of their business day also for next day delivery.
The RLC stocks more than 7,000 spare parts, each of which has been ordered at least three times in the last three years. Less frequently ordered parts will be shipped directly from the Perkins distribution centre in the United Kingdom.
The RLC also is an integral part of Perkins on-line parts ordering system accessed via perkins.com/shop. Targeted at end-users of Perkins powered equipment, rental businesses, repair and engineering shops plus mobile service and repair engineers, perkins.com/shop allows customers to purchase genuine Perkins parts over the Internet. Most of those parts will be shipped from the RLC to expedite delivery to the customer.
“The RLC is just the first step in implementing a new business model for our global aftermarket business,” Morgan added. “The future will be driven increasingly by data generated by engine telematics like our Perkins SmartCap and the Perkins My Engine App.”
That data will allow the manufacturer to better forecast which parts will be needed and when and where to support stocking decisions for facilities like the RLC.
“A big advantage of the data driven approach is that it brings us a lot closer to our end-customers so we can get feedback directly and use it to improve our service,” Nick said. “Customer service engineers can live chat with customers in real-time. The future of parts and service is proactive and that’s where we’re going.”