Supply Chain Automation at Imperial Research Proposal

  • Length: 9 pages
  • Subject: Business - Management
  • Type: Research Proposal
  • Paper: #2888562

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

This issue of resistance to change is a critical one that will require significant effort to overcome. As a first step, the development of needs analysis is critical for understanding how the systems can be designed to be of more value to those using them. This is essential to increase the likelihood of acceptance of the supply chain system, both within Imperial Tobacco Canada and with its suppliers. The second major issue is the development of a platform that can be quickly deployed. The use of a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) for better unifying of the distributed order management systems is also critical for the long-term. This is a major issue for Imperial Tobacco Canada to address today as they integrate the disparate and for the most part disconnected order management systems in their company today. The concept of the SOA is one where all systems are synchronized with one another to the process level to allow for all of them to be focused on a strategic objective vs. numerous smaller and often tactical ones.


To measure the effects of supply chain distributed order management expansion within Imperial Tobacco Canada and its correlation to increased accuracy and velocity rates globally.

To gain insights into how distributed order management systems within tobacco industry supply chains increase overall transaction accuracy and velocity.

To understand how the global adoption of distributed order management systems is influencing the competitive dynamics of the tobacco industry.

To ascertain how distributed order management systems will most likely change as Service oriented Architectures (SOA) become more commonplace and with it, the change in Web Services.


In completing this analysis, it became apparent of how intertwined distributed order management and the broader aspects of time-based supply chain management have become. Inherent in this analysis is the role of processes oriented towards ensuring high levels of accuracy and velocity in supply chain performance, in turn influencing the synchronization of orders throughout multiple Imperial Tobacco Canada distribution centers, fulfillment locations, warehouses, and secondary channel partners and third-party logistics providers. Imperial Tobacco Canada and their third party logistics partners as a result have increasingly relied on information and communications technologies to provide for greater process agility and the ability to stay demand-driven over dominated by internal constraints. The creation, continual improvement and optimization of the Distributed Order Management (DOM) model is the catalyst of Imperial Tobacco Canada's competitive advantage is apparent in how tightly integrated the elements of this model are and how order accuracy and velocity are the key performance indicators as measured in this model. Figure 2: Distributed Order Management (DOM) Hierarchical Model illustrates conceptually how the model is constructed including its integration points (Johnson, 2003,

Figure 2: Distributed Order Management (DOM)

Hierarchical Model

Source: (Johnson, 2003,

The Data Services of Imperial Tobacco Canada, as defined by its customer- and shipment history databases, anchor the model, followed by Application Services, Presentation Services, and a separate Presentation Services specifically for Internal and External Constituents of the logistics provider. Each of the components of the Distributed Order Management (DOM) Hierarchical Model are briefly discussed here in the context of the findings of the study pertaining specifically to Imperial Tobacco Canada's global operations.

The Master Data Services component is where Imperial Tobacco Canada normalizes and synchronizes data on customers, products, accounts, and suppliers is the primary building block. There are several techniques Imperial Tobacco Canada relies on building a system of record from database consolidation to the development of virtual objects that are a composite of various systems. Regardless of the overall data management strategy, the DOM architecture within Imperial Tobacco Canada message centric and have a metadata-driven data model. These capabilities allow the Imperial Tobacco Canada DOM system to understand where key data resides, how to get it, and how to transform or normalize the data to ensure that there is a high level of order accuracy and sufficient velocity of transactions to ensure profitability is maintained. In addition to transaction or operational data, Imperial Tobacco Canada uses information system-based strategies and investments to support the creation of its own series logical analytical data models which feed customer-specific data to a centralized warehouse in order to measure and manage the performance of the entire logistics process and create analytical reporting for all internal teams relying on this data.

In addition to the DOM architecture defined above, Imperial Tobacco Canada also has defined three critical application services that are critical for the systems' future growth. The adoption of an SOA platform is critical for these components to become available. These components include event and state logistics management, order brokering and integration framework and Business Process Management (BPM) support. The first of these three, the event and state logistics management, actually is a Web Service that that would monitor the state of any Imperial Tobacco Canada order throughout its lifecycle as it travels between disparate systems, both internal and external. Coupled with the state management engine is event management, which would monitor the Imperial Tobacco Canada transport request or order cycle to identify issues related to time and quantity in order to identify and manage exceptions proactively. The order broker or integration framework is designed by Imperial Tobacco Canada to capitalize on technological advancements in messaging found in leading Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) systems (Johnson, 2003, Imperial Tobacco Canada would use these systems for breaking down all orders into smaller processes that ensure each shipment is managed as optimally as possible. The use of constraint-based technology is pervasive needs to become pervasive in this area of the Imperial Tobacco Canada Distributed Order Management platform. The order definition is then connected to the Imperial Tobacco Canada order broker with can also be its 3rd party logistics business, which can be based on a standard EAI system or Imperial Tobacco Canada's own messaging layer that prepares the instructions for the various parties and defines the format of the business documents and communication methods. Finally the BPM component would be used by internal Imperial Tobacco Canada business and system analysts to graphically design and depict processes and workflows inside many of the Imperial Tobacco Canada applications and across multiple applications to enable and manage an end-to-end process.

Imperial Tobacco Canada would also need to define a series of twelve different key modules that align with the Distributed Order Management (DOM) Hierarchical Model as suggested by Johnson (2003, Included in these would be support for business logic to assemble and configure customized process workflows for any existing or new Imperial Tobacco Canada subsidiary or business offering. The launch of Imperial Tobacco Canada as part of the broader British American Tobacco conglomerate for example was partially completed using the components in this area of existing Distributed Order Management processes and workflows.

Recommendations and Plan of Action

The following are the three key recommendations that Imperial Tobacco Canada needs to aggressively pursue in order to turn their existing supply chain operations and the existing state of their order management systems into a competitive advantage.

The first recommendation is to get a strategy together to address the issue of how to gain the support of those most impacted by the change. Dealing with how to make the process changes permanent is critical. Developing this change is essential for all other recommendation to be effective. The existing processes that rely on distributed order management systems needs to be evaluated to see how they can be made more efficient in Imperial Tobacco Canada. Once these process areas that require the greatest improvement are evaluated, the modifications to the existing workflows in the present distributed order management systems need to be augmented, redesigned to be more responsive. Only after this specific step is taken can the next phase be successful.

Second, the lack of order state engine support in the existing distributed order management integration strategy is going to cause significant disruption to the supply chain for British American Tobacco if not dealt with in the next 18 months. As industry consolidation continues to create fewer yet better capitalized competitors globally Imperial Tobacco Canada will need to have enhanced intelligence as to the status of each of their orders from suppliers. This is just a first step however of this second recommendation; there also needs to be visibility throughout the entire supply chain so that demand in the form of orders both from its own production centers but also from partners who purchase its tobacco can be more accurately filled. In conjunction with this second recommendation is the need for integrating more enhanced analytics including those shown in Table 1 of the Appendix to give the company better control over its supply chain processes.

The third recommendation is to thoroughly plan to create a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) specifically for integrating the…

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