SELECTING THE RIGHT SOFTWARE ISN’T AS EASY AS IT SOUNDS
The client is a large, growing North American manufacturer of consumer products. It operates 15 plants across the United States and Canada, supplying major retailers in every region. The company has grown by acquisition and pursues a low-cost producer strategy.
As a result of rapid growth in demand for its products, the client experienced some customer service failures in the US. One customer, representing a large proportion of demand, established strict requirements with respect to supply chain management. There were questions regarding the effectiveness of inventory management and the adequacy of manufacturing capacity to meet demand, especially during peak season.
The company needed to ensure that customer service targets would be met consistently. Management recognized that substantial change might be required in a number of areas to accomplish this. One such requirement was to employ advanced planning software to address forecasting, inventory/material management, and capacity planning issues. The company had investigated advanced planning software on several occasions but never approved the expenditure.
The client asked SCS to help identify which advanced planning software packages would best meet its needs, both from functional and ROI perspectives.
SCS began by documenting optimal processes and business requirements (ranked). We created a long list of potential software providers (starting from 54), conducted an initial screening based on pre-determined criteria (conducted without divulging the client’s name), and developed a shorter list of potential software vendors. We then compiled additional details about the potential vendors and their apparent capabilities in similar industries. At that point the client’s name was made public but SCS continued to be the first point of contact with the vendors and to facilitate the testing and final screening processes. We wrote test scripts and invited the potential vendors to conduct simulations based on real historical data, so as to get a real comparison of module capability. The systematic approach allowed the potential software list to get shorter after each stage.
A business case was built to justify the capital expenditure and to help start the negotiation process with the vendors.
The client opted for an integrated solution that could be implemented by module. The client successfully implemented all modules and migrated from its old home-grown planning systems.