DuPont & Co. is the third-largest exporter in the United States. The Wilmington, Del.-based company shipped the equivalent of 80,000 20-foot ocean containers in 2001. Annual logistics spending totals about $1.5 billion. Through an Internet-based system dubbed TransOval, DuPont is creating a one-stop source for all of its transportation information. When the project is complete at the end of this year, the system will give DuPont real-time shipment status across all of its 70-some business units around the world. "What TransOval allows us to do that we can't do today is use the vast amount of inventory that we have on the ocean at any given point in time," says Steve Cohen, CIO, DuPont Global Sourcing and Logistics. For a critical shipment from the U.S., arriving by ship in Antwerp for example, this will allow "a customer service rep in Europe to identify that container, make sure it gets offloaded early and sent as a full container load to a given customer." Eventually, because of this enhanced visibility and reduced need for safety stocks, Cohen anticipates a 5% annual reduction in inventory carrying costs. Powered by software from G-Log (Shelton, Conn.), the system will handle all truck, rail, port and ocean transactions, in multiple currencies, languages, units of measurement and geographic demarcations. TransOval replaces a number of legacy, mainframe-based systems -- which were becoming increasingly expensive to maintain -- and logistics data warehouses for different geographic areas -- which sometimes caused problems when shipments moved from one region to another.

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