Founded in 1977, AFFLINK was a pioneer in offering eCommerce to the B2B world. When the first eCommerce platform was unveiled in the mid-nineties, customers who had multiple locations across the country could place orders from any branch, with agreed-upon national pricing, and have those items delivered by the local independent distributor in their area. It was truly revolutionary at that time. Today, the innovation continues "We’re not just focused on the products to perform a task, but look beyond to identify savings in procurement, ordering, inventory, and labor usage," says Riffer. AFFLINK streamlines procurement practices by consolidating vendors, rationalizing stock keeping units (SKUs), and centralizing procurement to drive down the total cost of operations. For over more than three decades, AFFLINK has been a dedicated procurement partner to its customers by positively impacting their company image, operations, and their bottom-line. Over the years, AFFLINK has connected more than 300 distributor members and 250 preferred suppliers of packaging, foodservice, healthcare, safety, industrial and office products to a myriad of customers, worldwide.
Supply Chain Optimized
“We have amassed volumes of information from our manufacturing customers across various market channels to create an online consulting tool called ELEVATE,” says Riffer.
We live our mission of being on the cutting edge of ‘what’s next’ in our industry by innovating technologies that drive efficiencies in, and costs out, of our clients’ systems
The firm also takes a unique supply chain optimization methodology that includes proper consultation and a series of standards to follow. To help organizations resolve these intricacies, AFFLINK delivers a no-risk, no-cost online consultation. It is a proprietary five-step strategic approach that helps clients uncover new opportunities that drive inefficiencies and costs out of their system.
An initial engagement starts with the client discovery. The firm leverages the Elevate solution to identify and verify the client’s unique business priorities. A dedicated group of consultants is employed to directly pose a series of questions to uncover the client’s needs and then rank them in order of importance. In the explore phase, clients are able to then peel back the roof and perform a “virtual audit” of their entire facility. A guided, room-by-room tour allows users to view recommended solutions that align with their priorities outlined in the previous section. “This second step is a true knowledge portal, where visitors can gain insights on thousands of products that have been selected based on their specific needs.” The third phase, deep analysis of the customer’s supply chain process.
Once the supply chain analysis is performed, the fourth phase of workload analysis begins. Using the customer’s sensitive data, the proprietary algorithms within ELEVATE highlight potential cost savings in ordering, invoicing, warehousing, and even labor usage to ensure that they are making decisions that take into account the entire spectrum of the supply chain. In the final phase, clients can view a recap of the recommendations made, and then either request an on-site consultation with one of AFFLINK’s experts who will advise them on how to implement the ELEVATE solutions, and recommend a set of solutions based on their basic requisites, along with the detailed description of the quantitative impact it has on their business.
"Our goal with ELEVATE is simple: to provide free advice to clients looking to maximize their indirect supply chain"
The Visibility Driver
“Our research shows that while all businesses may share similar needs, their order of importance will vary from industry to industry or even company to company,” adds Riffer. In a manufacturing plant, productivity may be of utmost importance, while in a healthcare facility, the focus may be on hygiene and safety. “Regardless of the industry segment, we’re able to customize supply chain solutions based on specific business needs. We do not provide a one-size-fits-all solution,” he adds.
ELEVATE has helped many of its clients drive out costs and increase efficiency. One of AFFLINK’s clients, Zodiac Aerospace, saved more than $650,000 across five manufacturing facilities last year. AFFLINK has also helped Adventist Health System save 20 percent in indirect supply costs through vendor and product consolidations. And by spotting ineffective processes across 32 of Sun Country Airlines’ locations, AFFLINK also identified a nationwide plan to increase supply chain efficiency for the regional jetliner.
AFFLINK prides on its unique capability of acting as a critical link offering clients innovative products, market expertise, and improved profitability, all of which is fueled by the firm’s leading-edge information technology. Forging ahead, the firm plans to take its rich legacy forward for optimizing client’s supply chain processes, simultaneously making better inventory decisions and promoting overall cost savings. AFFLINK will also stay true to its philosophy of truly understanding the customers’ business and also ensure that its global network of distributors is able to reduce acquisition and possession costs, by providing continuous improvement practices, and achieving synergies and economies of scale– with quantitative results.