One of our first clients in the Automotive Aftermarket was a manufacturer of replacement parts. They had developed their own in-house methodology for generating inventory stocking recommendations for their customers. They didn’t need us to reinvent the wheel. But, they had problems applying their methodology efficiently.
They had built their system in Microsoft Excel and it was a fairly complicated process to generate SKU-level recommendations. It required a lot of copy-paste to get the right data in the right spreadsheet cells. And the manual data input process led to frequent mistakes and frustrations. Because of this, they had 2 full-time analysts who spent almost all their time waist-deep in the spreadsheet trying to keep up with requests for data-driven recommendations.
We suggested that we take their approach and spreadsheet and convert it into a web application. This had several benefits and a rapid ROI:
- Our solution ensured that everyone in the organization had access to the application and to the most up-to-date version of the necessary data.
- Our solution saved tons of time. The process using the spreadsheet required approximately 2 hours to complete a set of recommendations. The new system we developed enabled employees to run the same process in about 2 minutes…with fewer mistakes and frustrations.
- Our solution was a lot more user-friendly. Instead of relying on the 2 well-trained analysts to generate and distribute reports (major bottleneck), our client was able to quickly train a dozen or more employees to use the system themselves. This saved even more time but it also facilitated a more robust and seamless process.
- Our solution was platform independent. The spreadsheet approach required a Windows operating system and Microsoft Excel. Pretty standard but not feasible for users who preferred iPads, which had become popular with the Sales team. Our solution was accessible from any device with a browser, including iPads. As an ancillary benefit it became feasible to run and/or modify demand estimates and stocking recommendations on-site with customers or interactively during a phone call.
- Our solution enabled our client to restrict access to sensitive data. The company utilized 3rd-party sales people for some some, but not all, part categories. Sharing everything that came with the spreadsheet program was not possible because too much proprietary data would be exposed. We were able to set up a user management system making it easy to issue or remove login credentials and to set up restrictions for individual users. So some users could produce inventory recommendations for some part categories but not others.
- Our solution enabled the categorycatagory management team to sidestep the logjam in their IT department. As I recall, their IT group was buried with some sort of SAP or other ERP implementation that was expected to take 8 months and my contacts expected it to take even longer. Sound familiar? We were able to stand up our solution in less than 6 weeks.
The company described here utilized the system extensively for several years until they were acquired by another firm, just recently. And, well, you know how the story goes after the merger.
So, maybe you’re in the same boat? Lots of critical decision processes and associated data “trapped” in a spreadsheet program on an aging desktop or internal network? Would it be nice to give more of your people easy access to data-driven decision technology?
We would be delighted to talk to you about “liberating” your tried and true inventory planning methodologies. We are experts at creating easy-to-use web software, enabling your team to access critical data and functionality without extensive training or computing skills. In addition, we put the power to protect your critical proprietary data in your hands to restrict as you see fit rather than allowing it to float around in an easy to copy xlsx file. Finally, we have extensive experience in the Aftermarket. You won’t have to explain VIO or ACES or replacement rates to us. We get it. And our mission to help you save money on inventory costs. Why not give us a chance to save you millions of $$ while improving supply chain efficiency?
Contact us to learn more!
For a faster response, please contact David Taylor, Director of Sales and Marketing, via email at [email protected] or via phone/text at (719) 924-5245.