Freightliner LLC will deploy a new supply-chain management tool to help dealers provide greater parts availability for its customers. The Managed Dealer Inventory (MDI) system will be introduced to Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner Custom Chassis and American LaFrance dealers across North America by January.
Chris Patterson, senior vp, service and parts, said MDI uses service parts and demand planning modules developed by Dallas-based i2 Technologies Inc. The components are configured to meet the unique demands of Freightliner LLC's parts business, and are designed to gauge dealer parts requirements and automatically replenish parts stocks.
Patterson said the system works by using advanced forecasting techniques to predict customer demand and track dealer inventory levels of each part. When supply of a specific part reaches a level where new stock is needed, the system issues replenishment orders to purchase parts.
Once dealer management approves the purchase order, Freightliner's parts distribution centers ship the components to dealers.
Patterson said MDI also directly benefits dealers by ensuring that they have the right number of parts on hand for every model without having capital tied up in excess inventory.