IDEA LLC

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The solution was a new company – IDEA (Interconexion; Distribuir y Enviar para las Americas). Tom, and his partner Henry Camp, first presented a solution to the sewing company in 1998. There were three key components of the solution: Aggregation, Visibility and Pull. Instead of holding raw materials at six different knitting mills in the US, and shipping them with fabric to sewing locations, the inventory was moved to centrally located warehouses in 3 countries near the sewing plants. Warehouses were established in Charleston, SC (export cross-dock), San Pedro Sula Honduras, San Salvador El Salvador and Saltillo Mexico. All of the US inventory and dead inventory at the sewing plants was aggregated in these new warehouses. In order to provide purchasing and the sewing plants real time, accurate inventory visibility of 10,000+ sku’s in four different countries, IDEA implemented a customized Warehouse Management System, and built a secure interface with the customer’s Purchasing and Finance systems. For the first time, buyers could evaluate on-hand inventory before ordering more. The change that provided the most benefit was Pull. Before IDEA, raw materials were shipped directly to sewing plants from the US according to forecast. Purchasing was pushing inventory onto the plants without knowing if it was truly needed. Once the Aggregation and Visibility were functioning, sewing plants were given electronic ordering capability. Planners in each plant would place raw material orders today for styles they planned to sew tomorrow. Instead of having inventory pushed on them, plants could Pull what they needed, daily. They could also return any unused inventory at their convenience. Within nine months, the results were astounding: 75% reduction of inventory and shortages had mostly disappeared!

In 2009, IDEA, LLC hired Carlos Castaneda, a former Planning Manager of one of the largest apparel companies in the United States, with the intent of helping to create new services within a short period of time. The transportation division was founded in a relatively short amount of time upon Carlos’ employment, with the division opening in 2010. In 2011, IDEA began the strenuous challenge of becoming certified to handle goods within the chemical industry, receiving approvals from both the Salvadoran and Honduran governments