Employs "Mod Squad" For Logility Implementation
S. McVey - April 11th, 2000
At the Connections 2000 Logility user conference in New Orleans, users
recounted implementation stories. Few were as striking as that of the
Komatsu's DRP implementation modifications, a testament to human ingenuity.
Komatsu America is the second largest supplier of construction and mining
equipment in the Western Hemisphere. It sells a complete line of hydraulic
excavators, bulldozers, wheel loaders, dump trucks, graders, and crushers.
October 1998, the company began parallel implementations of Logility Voyager
Solutions for distribution requirements planning (DRP) and inventory planning
(IP). In two months, Komatsu had gone live with the new system. Though
benefits were achieved immediately, Komatsu and Logility have since made
a series of modifications that have greatly enhanced the functionality
and improved performance and usability of the system. According to Komatsu's
Don Thrush, "utilization of custom modifications was a key to our success."
of the larger modifications or "mods" included data compression, DRP action
message settings, and extended planning data from IP. The data compression
mod allowed Komatsu to shrink its file sizes by as much as 50% and keep
its static memory requirements below its maximum of 2.0 GB.
messages provided by the DRP module were a bit "over-reactive" for Komatsu
planners. In addition to flooding planners with warnings and error messages,
these settings required excessive processing time. To combat this, the
mod gave users control over criteria for producing the action messages,
allowing them to adjust thresholds or mute messages entirely.
the most ingenious mod, though, was the use of extended planning data
from the IP module to improve DRP calculation accuracy. Komatsu found
that the system produced inaccurate DRP requirements for very low forecast
items with long lead times. The mod uses order quantity and safety stock
calculations from Logility IP to produce accurate summaries at the end
of the DRP calculation horizon.
Among best-of-breed supply chain management (SCM) vendors, Logility lies
toward the "packaged" end of the spectrum. Rather than providing just
the means for building a system to a client's specifications, Logility
has incorporated features in its software that support a standard variety
of requirements in its target markets. Its DRP solution is particularly
well suited to consumer packaged goods.
of its richness, however, no SCM package can provide all things to all
companies. Komatsu seemed to understand this very soon in its partnership
with Logility and did not hesitate to implement mods that would support
critical processes and make life easier for its planners. Logility's Product
Review Board considers modifications that have been performed in past
implementations for incorporation into its standard product. Other vendors
have similar boards with varying levels of tolerance concerning which
modifications make it in and which ones are dropped.
Users who are contemplating a new enterprise application system should
realize that its implementation will inevitably require changes to be
made. Even vendors that market their applications as "out-of-the-box"
are accustomed to helping their clients make modifications to support
particular specifications that may not have prevailed among previous clients.
of modifications are increased complexity, longer implementations, potential
difficulties in upgrading the software to future releases, and added cost.
Certain modifications may be deemed of strategic value to a client and
it can ask that the mod not be offered to future clients. Though this
brings additional costs, it can prevent a cutting edge enhancement from
winding up in the hands of a company's competition.