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CASE FILES: Treading Where They Track

F.Y. Teng | Feb. 23, 2012
One of the world’s largest producers of tyres powers up its demand planning with high business intelligence.

With a project running from February 2008 through February 2011, Goodyear Singapore Tyres–in tandem with other divisions of Goodyear Orient Company (Private) Limited–installed a comprehensive and high-yield Advance Planning Optimisation-Demand Planning system with sophisticated business intelligence capabilities.

When it was completed, it was both necessary and timely. In truth, by late 2007, it was becoming unavoidable. With 10 manufacturing locations spread across the Asia Pacific region, business and production executives at Goodyear–‘internal’ customers of Yeo Teck Guan, IT Director, and his team at the company–had found it difficult to accurately manage production output, inventory and delivery to customers.

Although production lines on each site were running at full capacity, production line schedules did not match demands for specific models. This uncoordinated process often resulted in a production plant increasing output for a specific product that they had run out of without realising that the other plants were overstocked with the same model.

Another problem Yeo and his counterparts in business across the region saw was the overmanufacturing of slow moving products that eventually took months to consume while real customer demands for certain ranges were not being met. Due to the lack of visibility, regional supply chain teams were unable to rationalise inventory across their plants.

The delivery process of finished goods was also in disarray. And this caused issues like inventory levels being too high in the manufacturing locations but were depleted in warehouses near customers.

Without an automated and consolidated view of the entire supply chain system, the regional team had to manually retrieve data before compiling them in Microsoft Excel worksheets. This process was extremely tedious and time consuming. Due to the time required to do everything manually, decisions could not be made quick enough for the fast changing landscape.

So the decision to go with SAP Advance Planning Optimisation-Demand Planning module in 2008 was made for the regional Supply Chain team to have a business enablement tool that enabled them to make the right decisions at the right time. The technologies and expertise of Abeam, EMC and IBM were also called upon to make the system even more feature-rich and useful for business users. The end result was a coordinated production schedule for all plants, low inventory levels, and timely delivery of finished goods to warehouse locations in most countries in Asia Pacific, and an organisation that’s ever ready to satisfy customer requirements at short notice.

From the Top. And Bottom.
Right from the start, Yeo worked very closely with his colleagues and counterparts on the business side at Goodyear, including: Jean-Luc Laboucheix, Supply Chain Director-Asia (the business sponsor of the project); Yang Li, Supply Chain Manager; Nida Dizon, IT Manager, PMO; and, Tee Lian, Customer Relationship Manager, IT-Supply Chain. The first thing they did was canvass executives across the organisation, and identified the key problems their initiative and its resulting system had to solve.

Among them: the overproduction of certain models; the insufficient production of certain models; excess stock in manufacturing locations; excess stock of certain models in warehouse locations; depleted stocks of certain models in warehouse locations; the inability to deliver goods to customers on time; the inability to deliver the required quantities to customers; supply chain teams being too busy gathering information instead of performing analysis; much workflow and computation being done manually in Microsoft Excel, which consumed many manhours; and, the regional supply chain team having no overview of the entire flow, which made planning extremely difficult.

Members of the project management team were well aware of these problems, and set about starting and running the implementation and deployment of the system through completion with a comprehensive approach of tackling all issues from the “top down” and “bottom up.”

What this really meant was selling the project to the organisation from senior managers on down the organisation chart, and to internal customers from the rank and file on up. Their activities under “top down” included the initial briefing of business leaders on the features and benefits of using technology, stressing the kinds of enhancements on the supply chain process due to the new system. This quickly secured buy in from senior management and the heads of business, which in great part drove the project eventually. And support from internal users was gained by getting them actively engaged in the project from day one, thus leading them to see for themselves the value of the new system. Business users were appointed to work on a full time basis on the project during its entire duration. Instead of having IT guess what business requirements were, the business was involved in driving the project.

Training was conducted internally for all potential users of the tool at each location. Power users in the business were appointed to provide first level support while regional IT served as an escalation path.

 

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