No project too complex
Supply Supply chain management (SCM) covers a wide range – from small to large projects. But what happens when the project becomes really complex? In our example case, our Solution Lead for SCM and higher-level processes, Philipp Kaufmann, shows how he keeps track of a multinational project with numerous companies involved – and the supply chains running. Suitable software and strategic conception go hand in hand.
The project Philipp Kaufmann is managing for AlfaPeople has ambitious goals: The client’s disruptive business model wants to turn an entire industry upside down. A robust enterprise resource planning system (ERP) is to form the basis for digitizing all processes completely. The product that forms the basis has an immense vertical range of manufacture; it is produced highly automatically from thousands of individual parts. In addition, these come from different factories, each with its own processes. Because the customer wants to always retain control over the entire process, he has taken over the corresponding companies – but now naturally wants uniform or at least complementary processes.
This is where Kaufmann comes in – developing solutions for complex and demanding processes is the consultant’s core business. He also points out a special feature that makes the assignment a bit more exciting: “Our client is not only disruptive, but also a start-up – but one with more than 1.500 employees at six sites: we have a lot of momentum and high expectations for a big output and a quick ‘go live’. We had to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance for five clients including a consolidation structure within four months.”
Processes and their implementation need to be re-adapted for each individual company. In doing so, the existing structures must be evaluated, and the corporate culture must be considered: “For us, it was clear that for a greenfield approach we would not rely on the classic waterfall method, but act in an agile manner,” Kaufmann reports. Different packages of innovations are implemented at the same time. This always happens in the same order: After a new process has been defined, it is introduced and adapted during ongoing operations. “This speeds up a complex project like the client’s and enables it to act more quickly,” says Kaufmann. Due to the numerous sprints and changing scopes, the agile method is effective for such a complex project, but it is also very intense. To mitigate this effect, constant support is an important part of the service provided by AlfaPeople. Likewise, the entire project planning (resource planning on the part of the customer and on the part of AlfaPeople, sprint planning, task control, documentation, release processes) is carried out completely via the DevOps fully integrated in Microsoft D365 – so both have full transparency about the project status.
As Solution Lead, Kaufmann is responsible for supply chain management and higher-level processes. When determining the requirements, designing the solution and the subsequent implementation, he relies on the client’s input – and a suitably assembled team of six consultants. The customer’s specialists involved from the different areas of the value chain were then first brought together in a workshop: “We improved the internal dynamics, combined knowledge areas and brought ourselves to the same level – this makes coordination in the further process much easier,” says Kaufmann.
Complex processes, especially when they are disruptive, make for an increased need for clarification – here it pays to be able to fall back on an experienced team of consultants, Kaufmann knows: “There are always old procedures, critical ideas and existing structures.” He and his team first collect everything and evaluate it in terms of the overall process: “Our goal is always to bring system and processes together in the best possible way for the customer!”
Solution Lead SCM
Solution Lead SCM
Our goal is always to bring system and processes together in the best possible way for the customer!
The right software
AlfaPeople’s system support for the project is Microsoft Dynamics 365: “Among other things, we rely on the Warehouse Management module and the possibilities that the Power Platform offers us with Power Automate and the Power Apps,” Kaufmann reports. Accounting via the finance module, integrated communication via teams, the supply chain module: An extremely large number of processes can already be mapped in Microsoft Dynamics 365 – and often in a self-explanatory and user-friendly way.
For solutions that have no equivalent in Microsoft Dynamics 365, there are suitable connectors. For example, the complex product offered by the client has been given a digital twin in a programme: The twin represents all components true to the original. The programme that provides this representation is not a Microsoft product – but it works seamlessly with Dynamics 365: Kaufmann and his team have identified and implemented the corresponding connectors that connect the Digital Twin directly with the order books and the supply chain; from the factory to the warehouse to the customer. “In concrete terms, this means that when an order comes in, the required components can be sent directly and automatically on the right path,” reports the Solution Lead.
The processes supported by Kaufmann have not yet been completed, but they have already unfolded broadly: “We have successfully implemented our value creation process at several of the companies involved,” says the consultant: “To a large extent, the processes are also already automated.” Assembly and production could already go live that way – after just over half a year of project phase. Everything should be up and running by 2024. Despite the constantly changing demands on the system and processes, Kaufmann remains optimistic: “So far, our method has proven to be very robust and fast – we’re staying on track!”
Do you want to implement a complex project with the right software? Contact us – our experienced consultants have a solution for even the most demanding processes!