A leading global manufacturer of systems and components for moving water and fuel had recently migrated from JD Edwards World A9.2 to JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1. Their legacy installation of World was heavily customized, so when moving to EnterpriseOne they planned to standardize as much of that functionality as possible using code and functionality available out-of-the-box. One of the functions in their legacy World system that had been customized was their forecasting process. They had broken it into two pieces: sales forecasting, where they were creating a financial forecast; and material forecasting, where they were creating a production plan.
However, the two systems didn’t communicate — they were completely separate processes — and company decision makers wanted to ensure both systems could successfully become one system within EnterpriseOne. Surety provided them with an unbiased JD Edwards Manufacturing consultant who would be able to accurately assess both processes and the capabilities of the new system, to advise them on the best path forward.
“Over-produce, and you’re stuck with product you can’t sell. Oversell, and you’re left unable to deliver.
In the world of manufacturing it’s important that your sales forecast and your production forecast aligns so that you produce and sell the correct amount of product. Over-produce, and you’re stuck with product you can’t sell. Oversell, and you’re left unable to deliver. Finding a way to align sales and production forecasting would help prevent both problems at our manufacturing client’s company. However, there were two proposals put forth to achieve this. The business team wanted to purchase a new, third-party add-on, called Demantra. The IT team wanted to avoid additional add-ons and instead utilize standard internal JD Edwards forecasting abilities.
The IT team favored the second solution, since it would mean less upkeep and complexity on their part — but wanted to help both sides reach a mutual agreement. In an effort to address concerns of those who were resistant to relying solely on JD Edwards, they brought in Surety System to provide an unbiased evaluation of their current system and their needs, then compare that to the capabilities available out-of-the-box with EnterpriseOne.
Surety Systems provided the company with a senior level JD Edwards manufacturing functional consultant. He began by interviewing a number of stakeholders on each side of the issue. Those interviewed included members of the IT team, the sales team, the marketing team, and the business team. Based on those interviews, he created a list of requirements for the new system — both based on the current process and on their current wish list — then he compared those functions to the capabilities of EnterpriseOne.
He compiled all of this information — notes from the interviews, information on their current process, lists of additional desired functionality — into a consulting report. Using that information he constructed a straw man business process that demonstrated standard EnterpriseOne functionality. Our consultant’s solution would not only work using EnterpriseOne standard functionality, it would also improve the efficiency of their current process, and grant them some of the functionality they didn’t have. The biggest difference between utilizing standard JDE Forecasting functionality versus Demantra would be the robust visual reporting interface offered by Demantra. After working alongside the customer’s development team, it was determined that they could achieve a more graphically rich front-end presentation by coupling in BI Publisher functionality.
Our consultant presented his findings first to the IT team, then, upon request, to the Executive management team. Throughout the 2 hour presentation with company Executives, our consultant helped address questions, comments, and took part in the discussion process. At the end of that meeting, the company decided to move ahead with testing for the framework our consultant had proposed. The manufacturer had already been transitioning divisions of their business from the old JD Edwards World software to the new EnterpriseOne platform, so a limited amount of data had been added to the new system. Using that data, our consultant worked with their in-house IT team to create sales forecasts — conducting a test, using their actual data.
This framework allowed them to compile both a detail-level forecast and a high-level, “summary” forecast. The detail-level forecast looked at past history, and determined on a product level what items needed to be manufactured; the summary forecast combined all those details into a meaningful hierarchy that showed total sales and marketing dollars based on the forecast, providing the bigger picture. This process validated the framework our consultant had proposed; it proved that they had access to that data, created forecasting that was consistent for both sales and production, and showed them what that would look like in practice.
Over 5 weeks, Surety Systems’ JD Edwards Manufacturing Consultant was able to provide an unbiased evaluation of a homegrown, custom-build process for forecasting and determine that the process could be moved into JD Edwards EnterpriseOne.
Surety’s consultant helped create a possible framework for how the process would work within EnterpriseOne, get stakeholder alignment, and validate that the framework could be implemented successfully, before passing the project off to the inhouse team for implementation.