Skip to main content
Get in touch
Case study

Digitally transforming The Works’ international supply chain

Watch the case study

Before partnering with Ligentia, The Works struggled with visibility and control over their supply chain. Today, they benefit from full transparency and seamless collaboration with their vendors.

The Works is the UK’s leading family-friendly retailer of value gifts, arts, crafts, toys, books and stationery. With 530 stores nationwide and a strong multi-channel proposition, its purpose is to inspire reading, learning, creativity and play – making lives more fulfilled. As well as physical stores, The Works has a full-featured online store that allows customers to shop how they want, when they want, seven days a week.

Having supported the business with its UK-bound shipments from China, India and Taiwan, the Ligentia team was asked to help with the digital transformation of The Works’ supply chain.

The Works

“Adding significant value in all areas of our business””

The Ligentia team has helped us to transform our international supply chain through supplier collaboration and world-class PO visibility, which was even more crucial in the uncertain times of Covid. The Works are always looking at ways to continue offering our customers the best possible experience in our 530 stores and on our ecommerce platform. Ligentia, through their technology and operation, are adding significant value in all areas of our business.

  • Supply Chain Director
  • The Works

Challenge: Manual processes no longer fit-for-purpose

In the midst of a heavily disrupted shipping market, The Works was facing a number of challenges while preparing to ship high volumes of stock into the UK in advance of the Christmas period. It needed a technology-driven solution that could replace existing manual processes and drive better ways of working.

Specific challenges included:

  • Manual processes: With no supply chain management platform in place, much of the work that The Works was doing involved manual, labour-intensive processes that relied heavily on multiple Excel spreadsheets. This was time-consuming, resource-heavy and left too much room for human error and inaccuracies.
  • Visibility: Lack of visibility and control was another issue, with PO tracking being particularly challenging. The Works would know the PO numbers that were being shipped but would not know what was included within that PO.
  • Supplier management: Supplier management and performance was another area that needed to be addressed. While some suppliers seemed to be under-performing, The Works had no easy-access data that could demonstrate where performance could be improved. What’s more, lack of supplier accountability once bookings had been placed was adding additional difficulties and frustrations to the process.
  • Collaboration and performance: As information was held in spreadsheets rather than one central location, collaboration with supply chain stakeholders was difficult. The Works did not have the tools required to easily analyse their data, make better decisions and improve end-to-end supply chain performance.

Solution: Digital transformation combined with deep service expertise

After a two-month implementation period, Ligentia supported The Works in launching the Ligentix supply chain management platform.

For The Works, the platform delivers:

  • PO visibility: Full visibility of POs and the PO journey, with The Works able to see details of individual items and quantities, when POs are expected to depart and if there are any delays. Users can carry out instant searches for any item, order, container number or shipment information, and are even able to drill down to a specific SKU / item.
  • Real-time information: Access to real-time information from across the end-to-end supply chain with direct links to ERP software and supplemented with feeds from shipping lines and hauliers. A visual control tower gives clear visibility of orders at various stages of the supply chain, and warehouse and shipping calendars make it easy to see what’s coming in and when.
  • Centralised hub: One central hub that can be accessed by all supply chain stakeholders, with access dependent on specific user needs. Each user only sees the information and features applicable to their role, and everyone has access to the details they need to do their job.
  • Exception management: Through exception reporting, The Works’ supply chain team is able to focus on any orders that fall out of agreed tolerance levels. This provides a clear focus on exception management, which is available in a single place rather than email-based systems where alerts are at risk of being lost.
  • Supplier management: Supplier management is controlled through Ligentix, which means orders can be tracked to ensure suppliers are performing on time and meeting milestones on the critical path. By taking data from POs and providing details such as on-time-in-full (OTIF) percentages for each supplier, Ligentix provides detailed measurement of supplier performance, allowing The Works to measure, manage and optimise supplier relationships.

Impact: End-to-end supply chain visibility and improved decision-making

This digital solution has delivered benefits such as:

  • Improved booking timeliness: Following ‘go live’, continuous improvement in booking timeliness was made throughout the subsequent four months and has remained consistent since then.
  • Improved supplier management: With suppliers using a single interface to enter bookings, and the ability to select PO and item data from dropdown menus, errors have been reduced and data quality has improved. The Ligentia team was crucial in ensuring the right data fields were extracted from The Works’ ERP to facilitate vendor bookings and detailed downstream visibility, as well as providing mentoring on the best way to communicate amendments and cancellations to POs.
  • Improved decision-making: Rich data is now gathered across the end-to-end supply chain, enabling the team to report in detail on what should have happened, what did happen and at what time. All data stored in Ligentix is available for analytics reporting at any time and can be analysed alongside aggregated and 3rd party data sources to create a full picture for The Works to act on.
  • Earlier visibility of data: Data is now available much more quickly. Visibility of bookings – including exceptions – is available two weeks earlier than previously, while confirmation of goods shipped is visible one week earlier. What’s more, 10 critical path milestones allow swift checks and exception management at critical stages.
  • Improved productivity: The use of technology has reduced time spent on manual processes, allowing stakeholders on both sides to improve productivity. Examples include KPIs, instantly viewable on Ligentix and customised to The Works’ financial calendar, including landed cost calculations and demurrage tracking. This allows The Works to plan ahead and reduce spend.
  • Strategic collaboration: The information and data contained within Ligentix provide a foundation for Ligentia and The Works to have strategic, open conversations about how to deliver long-term efficiency and optimisation of the end-to-end supply chain.

Are you ready to go beyond with your supply chain?

Book a call today with one of our supply chain experts to learn more about how we can help.

Get in touch