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Our Customers: What Kind of a Company Uses MACROLYNK?

The MACROLYNK network and the apps that it supports are being used all around the world by companies in all types of markets: From heavy manufacturing to consumer electronics to retail marketing. Any company that seeks to improve the level of cooperation and collaboration between itself and its suppliers and customers will want to look at MACROLYNK.

So what separates those companies that just look from those that actually start their own network? We feel that our customers fall into three categories: The “Early Adaptor”, the “Quick Study”, and the “Truly Desperate”.

The Early Adaptor: Some people have made it a practice to at least try out new technology as soon as it becomes stable and commercially available. They feel that this policy will provide them with an edge over their competition. MACROLYNK is the only product on the market today that combines the proven value of modern supply chain management tools with the incredible communication capabilities of social networking.

The Quick Study: Some of MACROLYNK’s largest customer’s fall into this category. Individual executives that have a keen ability to see the advantages of such a business-related social network and the authority to make it happen are often what move the company forward.

The Truly Desperate: Sometimes companies come to MACROLYNK because they are facing a crisis that cannot be resolved in any other way. Often, this may involve some form of a government audit or the assignment of past-due tax liabilities. The forensic audit capabilities found in MACROLYKK apps that saved our customers literally hundreds of millions of dollars.

Both individuals and companies start My MACROLYNK networks. Some of the reasons that we hear are:

For Companies
  • Small start-ups that want to maximize exposure as quickly as possible.
  • Companies that do not have the time/expertise to create their own website
  • Small companies that want to minimize their “back office” clerical load.
For Individuals
  • Buyers, planners, and others dealing with multiple suppliers.
  • Department heads that want to streamline operations within their group.
  • Individual service providers that want to gain wider exposure.
MACROLYNK D networks are usually started by companies with long and complex supply chains that have:
  • Critical production schedules with high penalty costs for downtime.
  • Complex products with a large number of suppliers.
  • Suppliers, customers, and distribution networks that cross international borders.

logo-GE.pngGeneral Electric

The Customer

General Electric is a 195 billion dollar global company, with 13 Business Units that operate 256 plants in 26 different countries around the world. They have been working in Mexico for over a hundred years, where they currently have 30,000 employees. One of their operations in Mexico is the 4.5 billion dollar Transportation Division, which has sites in Apodaca, Saltillo, Guadalajara, Torreon, and San Luis Potosi. These facilities focus on the repair and modernization of GE’s diesel-electric railroad locomotives. Once refurbished, the locomotives are put back into service all across Canada and the Americas.

The Challenge

Growing demand across the Americans for more rail transportation put a strain on the repair and maintenance facilities in Mexico. They had to increase their output, but at the same time hold down costs, particularly their inventory levels. The Division’s control group opened up an RFP for a system that would provide a single platform that could be used across the procurement, manufacturing, and repair processes, and would satisfy their need for improved import/export controls and reporting. The RFP included the functional requirements, the documents and reports needed, the business process customization requirements, and an outline of their preferred technology. One of their absolute requirements was a bi-directional interface with their Oracle ERP system.

The Result

The first step was to look at the way parts and components were being purchased and stored and to make sure that the company was following best practice. Once the process was approved, the appropriate adjustments were made to the MACROLYNK Inventory Fulfillment App so the new system would support the way GE wanted to run their operations. After go-live, it quickly became apparent that the increased visibility provided by MACROLYNK was allowing GE planners and buyers to work much more closely with their vendors. This reduced the need for large amounts of safety stock and eliminated the emergency “scrambles” normally associated with running out of key parts. And, the use of the Import/Export App provided an automatic pre-event audit of all international transactions, alerting the appropriate manager when there was an error. This means that all of the documentation required for international transportation was being prepared correctly, saving money in the form of fines and penalties avoided, and time by preventing delays at customs.

The importance of this last point was made clear by a government audit that happened to be conducted at the same time of the first implementation. The LCI team, working with staff from GE, was able to show that controls were now in place to comply with all requirements, including the proper handling and return of inventories defined as “temporary”. The post-audit results from this first project were then included in subsequent system rollouts across GE’s Mexican operations, providing a good example of the depth of expertise in trade compliance requirements that LCI brings to the table.

Highlights of the project include:
  • Reduction of clerical effort required for import/export processing by thirty percent, saving GE $150,000 per year.
  • Reduction of fines and penalties by $2,000,000 in the first year at the first two sites installed.
  • Creation of a fully auditable compliance process including an audit trail to review each import/export event, reducing the risk of future fines and penalties. It also greatly diminishes the disruptions caused by normal government audits for Maquiladora and IMMEX Program trade compliance.
  • Implementation of a reporting system that provides operational visibility to management in Erie, Pennsylvania.


The Customer

Mahle is one of the leaders in supplying the automotive industry with component parts. Today, every other automobile engine produced by any company in the world contains at least some MAHLE parts. Last year, MAHLE sales were seven billion dollars, and they employed over 49,000 people. Along with the automotive products, they also make engines for hand-held power equipment, motorcycles, and recreation vehicles. Their filtration products have moved outside the automotive market and are used for the treatment of service, waste, and cooling water by industries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia/Pacific.

The Challenge

The six MAHLE plants in Mexico were all experiencing difficulties in managing their supply chains. Raw materials and components were being imported from all over the world and the finished goods were being manufactured for both domestic use and for export. They needed an automated system that would provide faster access to information from suppliers, carriers, freight forwarders, and customs brokers, and allow them to make better decisions as to order quantities and delivery schedules. To do this, the new system would have to be able to access data in the MAHLE SAP system, present the information to the user, then update SAP with the results.
They were also incurring high clerical costs in order to prepare the information required to participate in the Mexican inventory duty deferral and reduction programs (IMMEX). They needed to eliminate the manual data entry and rework to correct errors.

The Result

MAHLE selected MACROLYNK and made their first implementation at the Romos facility. In six months, they had 200 of their supply chain partners on the network and quickly saw some dramatic results.

Supplier/Customer Collaboration: Real time visibility into the MAHLE purchase order and inventory systems means that suppliers can ship on time and in the quantities needed.

E-Payables: Suppliers, warehouses, customs brokers, and carriers can submit invoices online where they can be automatically audited and processed.

Transportation: Carriers, suppliers, and 3PL’s can access and amend transportation documents. The system records all changes and tracks arrival times (estimated and actual), demand by lane/carrier, and pricing trends.

Import/Export: Part level pre-classification of HS codes, online document filing with both the Mexican and US governments, and automated tracking of part and HS code level inventory balances as required for IMMEX and Maquiladora programs. Based on the success they had at Romos, they made the decision to roll the system out to the other five locations in Mexico over the next 24 months. With the system now fully implemented, they have been able to achieve:

  • An 80% reduction in invoice receipt processing time which they feel saves them in inventory costs.
  • A 95% improvement of visibility of goods in transit, which has created a four million dollar a year savings in transportation, costs.
  • A 99% reduction in the manual data entry.
  • A fully automated compliance process, which includes access to an audit trail for each import and export transaction.