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Kawasaki Boosts Supply Chain

U.S. distribution arm of motorcycle maker adds data-analysis functions to its data marts to improve visibility of parts distribution.
Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA is looking to improve business processes by using IBM's DB2 Information Integrator Classic to build reporting and analysis features into its data marts. The supply-chain overhaul at the U.S. distribution arm of vehicle-maker Kawasaki Heavy Industries is meant to increase visibility of parts and products from manufacturing to distribution to dealerships.

Tying together information and using custom tools to analyze data to make production decisions is a cheaper, faster, and more-efficient alternative than housing large static amounts of data in a single database, says Victor Martinez, IS manager at Kawasaki Motors. "This gives us the visibility to see how fast or slow products move through the pipeline and out to the dealerships," Martinez says. "We can deliver information securely through the Internet, and that gives us the flexibility to do what-if scenarios to make better decisions."

Reporting capabilities in the data mart provide details on sales per region for a specific month and let Kawasaki Motors compare the findings with year-on-year statistics for each color, make, and model of vehicle. Those types of ad hoc queries and reports are invaluable for field sales, marketing, and operations, which rely on the data to determine market-share transactions per dealer. Marketing will have the option to identify trends and determine cross-product-selling opportunities for customers, while operations can forecast inventory, track product movement, and schedule more timely deliveries.

This latest initiative is part of a broader effort by Kawasaki Motors to adopt new methods to grow its business focused on motorcycles and all-terrain, watercraft, and utility vehicles. In addition to combining marketing with sales and reducing the number of operating divisions from 12 to seven, the strategy centers on integrating functions that previously operated independently by strengthening and shortening the lines of communication between manufacturing and distribution.