Hoax: An act intended to deceive or trick.
Integrated Planning: Tight Coupling of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to Supply Chain Planning (SCP).
Was it intentional? Or accidental? We will never know.
However, what is clear from our recent study of 73 manufacturers using supply chain planning is that companies using best-of-breed solutions implement faster, achieve a quicker Return-on-Investment (ROI), and are more satisfied.
When companies tell me that they need to exchange their current Supply Chain Planning (SCP) from a best-of-breed provider to get a leg-up, I ask, “Why?” It makes no sense to me. In this post, I want to make my argument and stir a debate.
Let’s start with a definition. The term integrated planning, as used in this blog, defines the relationship between Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supply Chain Planning (SCP). (It should not be confused with the term Integrated Business Planning (IBP) which is the process and technology integration of business and supply planning in S&OP.) Over the last decade, many supply chain experts advocated that tighter integration of SCP with ERP would deliver higher value.
However, this is not supported by the facts of a recent study. (At Supply Chain Insights, we conduct twenty quantitative studies a year to understand the impact of technology and process decisions on business results. This is one of the studies in this series.)
Background: My Personal Experience
In the period of 1985-2000, the SCP market was defined by a list of best-of-breed vendors that included names like American Software, Chesapeake, Demantra, Fygir, i2 Technologies, Logility, Manugistics, Mercia, Numetrix, Red Pepper…. The list is long, and most are history. Today, in many organizations, these solutions are legacy.
The SCP market has consolidated. These companies were merged into other entities and/or changed their names. JDA acquired Manugistics and i2 Technologies; Fygir and Mercia rolled up into the INFOR platform, and Oracle combined the assets of Demantra, Red Pepper, and Numetrix through their multiple acquisitions. Webplan changed names to Kinaxis. Only Logility and American Software have the same name and business structure. We now have new technology players entering the market like AIMMS, Enterra Solutions, OM Partners, Quintiq, ToolsGroup, and Terra Technology. For many, it is confusing. It keeps old gals like me in business.
The period of 2000-2010 was turbulent for these best-of-breed APS technologies. Their available market contracted. There were several forces:
During this time, I worked for Manugistics. As I watched the hype of “integrated planning” swell, I asked, “Why?” It did not make sense to me. After Manugistics, I worked for two analyst firms; Gartner and AMR Research, and I continued to question if the extended ERP platform that included SCP delivered greater value. I did not see it. The implementations were longer, the purchase costs were higher, and the functionality was less robust and lacking flexibility. Yet, the positive market perception continued. It was largely sustained by consulting partners that made more money on the implementation of larger, and more costly projects of less capable solutions.
During this period of time, I tried to highlight the gap in my writing. However, it is tough for an analyst to take a stand against the larger ERP vendors. The ERP public relations machines are mighty; and they invest heavily in the larger, more established analyst firms. As a result, it is hard to take a tough stand in the more established analyst worlds. Not so today, I am independent. I can voice the truth. I can call a spade a spade. I have raised the ire of both Oracle and SAP multiple times in an effort to help businesses identify the best partner for SCP to propel their supply chains forward.
In early 2014, using the principles of open research, we at Supply Chain Insights hosted a study on Supply Chain Planning. We currently have 73 company respondents, representing 133 planning instances. All of the results are reported in aggregate. Here are some of the results that we have collected so far:
What Should You Do?
This post is part of my series of “Do No Harm” which is a focused series to help line-of-business leaders get their supply chains unstuck. (In prior posts, I have written how nine out of ten supply chains are stuck in their ability to improve operating performance on the Effective Frontier of managing growth, profitability, inventory turns and business complexity.) To move forward, I recommend the following:
Recognize the Facts. Each of the ERP providers is at a very different place.
Don’t Wait. A ROI in less than a year in today’s market is an opportunity. Why wait?
Use Talent from the Technology Provider to Implement. The participants in the study that use consulting talent from the solution providers are more satisfied than those that implement using larger consulting firms. Use the large firms for program management and change management, but let the SCP providers tune and implement the technologies in the SCP market.