Enterprise Forecasting – Software Replacement

By | 2016/04/12

Update

This is a follow-up to share some GOOD news…
We finalized our K3S implementation last week and it went beautifully! I can positively recommend K3S.com as an excellent solution. In addition to the software itself, the K3S team made the implementation process easy — even our users enjoyed the conversion (which is REALLY saying something!). I highly recommend K3S for demand forecasting.

Original Post

As I write this, we’re approaching the home stretch of a legacy system replacement for our enterprise forecasting software, E3.

Initially, I thought I could replace E3 with a simpler/smaller solution like ForecastPro. However, our forecasting needs are fairly heavy and ForecastPro fell a bit short. Our business is high-volume – we carry 8,000 different products, ship over 100,000 units per day across hundreds of vendors. And we need daily sales, inventory, vendor, and purchase order data to auto-flow between the forecasting system and our Enterprise Resource Planning system.

So, we started the search for a replacement, using the time-honored process I’ve worked through for dozens of projects in the past. Here is a short summary of steps:

Find out what others are using

Find out what others are using

Identify a handful of vendors who are in the same space as the existing software

For us, this included JDA (current vendor), K3S, HerlitzIM, and BlueRidge.

What to do if you don’t know about alternatives? Ask people in your industry what they use. This is one of the benefits of having (and maintaining) a good network of contacts. Maintaining the network is important, because it doesn’t help to have thousands of contacts if none of them will talk to you.

Define a dozen or so MUST HAVEs

These are features that MUST be present, no room for compromise! Yes, you’ll need to talk with your end-users and peers to get this info. You cannot perform this job without talking with others. The MUST HAVEs can be business, user, and/or system requirements. For example, a business requirement may be increase inventory turns 5%, while a system requirement is something like must run on a Windows virtual machine.

Bounce the MUST HAVEs against each software vendor Requirements

This is simply a way to eliminate vendors who don’t meet the minimum requirements, so you don’t waste time with further evaluation.

Get rough pricing

Eliminate any vendors who are outside of your budget. Again, this is just another way to identify vendors to eliminate. Why spent time on the next step if they’ll be tossed out due to price? One quick note on this topic: if a particular vendor is perfect except for price, you may want to tell them so. I’ve seen vendors cut their price drastically to stay in the game at this point.

Finish with your Corporate Software Selection Process

For the vendors who meet the minimum and budgetary requirements, go through your normal software selection process. What?!? You don’t have a Corporate Software Selection Process? No problem –check out my favorite approach: AHP for software selection, which I’ve outlined in a previous post.

 

 

 

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