Forecasting a More Efficient Future
A leading global manufacturer of systems and components for water and fuel transport 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. Surety provided them with an unbiased JDE EnterpriseOne Forecasting consultant who would be able to accurately assess both processes and the capabilities of the new system, as well as advise them on the best path forward.
A manufacturing company’s business team wanted to purchase a new third-party add-on called Demantra. The IT team wanted to avoid additional add-ons and utilize standard internal EnterpriseOne forecasting abilities.
Surety Systems provided an unbiased evaluation of the current system and their needs and compared that to the out-of-the-box capabilities of the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Forecasting module.
Once determining the company’s goals could be achieved through standard EnterpriseOne forecasting functionality, the consultant created and validated a process framework, aligned stakeholders, and passed the project to the in-house team for implementation.
“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 and production forecasts align so 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, while the IT team wanted to avoid additional add-ons and utilize standard internal EnterpriseOne forecasting abilities. Although IT favored the second solution (as it would mean less upkeep and complexity on their part), they also wanted to come to a mutual agreement with the business team.
In an effort to address concerns of those who were resistant to relying solely on JD Edwards, the company 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, who began by interviewing a number of stakeholders on each side of the issue. Those interviewed included members of the IT, sales, marketing, and business teams. Based on those interviews, he created a list of requirements for the new system—based on the current process and wish list—then 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 an example 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 the company’s current process and provide some functionality they didn’t have. The biggest difference between utilizing standard JDE Forecasting 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.
Our consultant presented his findings first to the IT team, then, upon request, to Executive Management. 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 then 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 the course of five weeks, Surety Systems’ JD Edwards consultant provided an unbiased evaluation of a homegrown, custom-built process for forecasting and determined it could be moved into JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. The consultant helped create a framework for how the process would work within EnterpriseOne, received stakeholder alignment, and validated the framework could be implemented successfully before passing the project off to the in-house team for implementation.
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