With nearly 2,500 employees operating in more than 50 manufacturing facilities in 17 states and China, a major manufacturing company is approaching 70 years in business. Using JD Edwards across the company, they decided to take advantage of the capabilities of the software to improve the quality of their demand planning. This manufacturer’s demand horizon at the time was built on existing sales orders which made them vulnerable to changes in customer demand since they were primarily a long lead time manufacturer. Customer demand changes could lead to interruptions in manufacturing production, high material stock levels, and the need to expedite orders for additional materials. All of these potential issues had severe potential impact on the company’s operating efficiency and costs as well as their customers’ satisfaction. By implementing the JD Edwards forecasting capability, the organization would more confidently forecast future customer demand and increase the stability of their operation.
This large manufacturer turned to Surety Systems to help initiate their implementation of the JD Edwards forecasting capability across the company. As a result of the company operating in independent business units, and having over thirty JD Edwards’ implementations, they determined a unified company-wide implementation and rollout of JD Edwards forecasting was impractical.
They decided instead to work towards a successful implementation in one manufacturing operation. By narrowing the initial scope of implementation, the company could focus on a solid forecast process that would best predict production needs for their specific manufacturing model. They could then champion the proven model across the rest of the company.
Surety Systems focused on one independent manufacturing plant, selected as the initial pilot facility, by providing a senior JD Edwards consultant with significant experience in manufacturing assessment, planning and forecasting. This seasoned consultant began the engagement with a week-long onsite assessment of the manufacturing operation. Through that assessment the consultant realized the plant could predict with confidence only two weeks into the future, confirming the need to increase their forecasting ability.
JD Edwards forecasting solution comes equipped with twelve different forecasting algorithms, allowing for a customized approach to forecasting based on the specific operation. Surety Systems’ JD Edwards Consultant took his observations from his week-long assessment to the key stakeholders and together determined the 5 algorithms they would employ. The consultant set into place a straightforward process that produced an accurate six-month look at demand and took into consideration seasonality and trends in sales history.
One challenge encountered while trying to accumulate an accurate look at sales and production history was related to part numbers. The company parts numbering process had historically been to change part numbers with any change to the part, which prevented a clear view of similar parts sales history across the organization. To increase the company’s insight into their parts and the corresponding materials ordering needs, the Surety Systems’ consultant worked with the company analysts to develop a parts matching process that would match similar parts history and create a consolidated historical view.
Through the focused effort in a short 3 week engagement, the Surety Systems consultant was able to train the large manufacturing company’s select team, perform set-up, and validate results of the new forecasting model. In addition, the company now had a proven model they could take to the remainder of their facilities with the confidence of proven performance.