Today’s supply chains are facing massively increased levels of complexity due to advances in digital technologies, short product life cycles and trends towards global outsourcing.

Reducing levels of uncertainty in supply and demand, conflicting objectives, and vague information has been widely recognised as fundamental to improving supply chain resilience, cost reduction and ultimately, increasing customer service.

To benefit its customers – many of whom operate in global markets — Unipart has developed Dragonfly, a set of products that bring together forecasting, simulation and optimisation in a prescriptive toolset.

Unipart Dragonfly is a set of three web applications that automate and streamline the process and helps increase the efficiency of supply chain operations. It has three key modules that interact seamlessly with each other. These are: warehouse optimisation via inbound and outbound volume forecasting, simulation of different scenarios so that you’re prepared for nearly every eventuality, and optimisation of product location, range, inventory and resources, so that you have a deep view into your operations

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pressure on supply chains and nowhere was that more evident than in the delivery of health services. For one of its largest customers, NHS Supply Chain, Unipart’s comprehensive approach to predictive analytics has identified benefits of over £250,00 through improving Range Management across its extensive network.

Unipart is responsible for inventory, warehousing, transport and customer service on behalf of NHS Supply Chain. No single warehouse in the network can stock the 12,000 products that various NHS providers need at any given time, so stock often has to be transferred between warehouses to meet local demand.

This can lengthen lead times for customers and add unnecessary complexity to managing product ranges.

By customising Dragonfly’s forecasting, optimisation and simulation functions, Unipart is automating parts of the range management process to save significant time and increase efficiency. Using this data, the existing warehouse transfer process can be fully optimised to deliver improved services to the NHS front line.

Mathematical modelling has enabled the allocation of products to different warehouses to be optimised. This is directly reducing the number of stock transfers required. Data is being modelled for future variations to enable fast response to likely future demand, which will reduce costs.

Using Dragonfly, Unipart has created a new range management system that now takes minutes to calculate the same output that previously took days. This means order fulfilment can be carried out ‘little and often’ instead of requiring large numbers of movements that take hours.