Komatsu Employs “Mod Squad” For Logility Implementation

  • Written By: Steve McVey
  • Published: April 11 2000

Komatsu Employs "Mod Squad" For Logility Implementation
S. McVey - April 11th, 2000

Event Summary

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.

In 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."

Some 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.

Action 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.

Probably 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.

Market Impact

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.

Regardless 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.

User Recommendations

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.

Pitfalls 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.

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