B2B Connex PO Automation at CF Industries
CF Industries Inc. is one of North America’s largest manufacturers and distributors of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer products. Its Donaldsonville, LA Nitrogen Complex is North America’s largest operation. The complex produces anhydrous ammonia, granular urea, and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) solution. Its Central Florida Phosphate Operations include a rock mine and beneficiation plant in Hardee County, an integrated fertilizer complex in Plant City, and terminal and warehousing facilities at the Port of Tampa. Its Medicine Hat, Alberta Nitrogen Complex is Canada’s largest, producing anhydrous ammonia and granular urea.
CF industries have embraced the concepts of “Lean Manufacturing”, a philosophy which has led to a commitment to finding and eliminating inefficiencies in their organization. One area of improvement identified was in their purchasing departments. They found that too many processes included manual tasks which were time consuming and which allowed inaccuracies to be introduced through miscommunication and manual error. They needed to find a way to automate these processes to improve productivity.
The B2B Connex Supply Chain Collaboration portal was chosen to meet this business need. Connecting to their Avantis™ purchasing module, this portal automates the communication of Purchase Orders and Requests for Quotation with their suppliers and provides the ability for suppliers to enter RFQ Bid and PO change request data online. It has been implemented as a single portal at their head office and combines purchasing documents from each of seven sites.
In their Donaldsonville plant, which was the first to implement B2B Connex, CF Industries has experienced a measured reduction in workload of 2.5 to 3 hours per day for each of the 4 members of their purchasing department.
There are several efficiencies that have accumulated to give CF Industries this workload reduction. Some of these efficiencies were introduced by having suppliers enter RFQ Bid data online and having this data uploaded into Avantis electronically. The time spent re-entering bid data has been eliminated along with the possibility of re-keying errors-suppliers are responsible for ensuring that their pricing and other data is correct. PO change requests are also entered online and are only uploaded to Avantis after approval by purchasing staff. Suppliers keep CF Industries updated with any changes to delivery dates and can also negotiate price changes prior to PO acceptance. By ensuring pricing agreement on every PO regardless of price fluctuations throughout the year, CF Industries has been able to move to Evaluated Receipt Settlement – another time and cost saving strategy.