Valutek is a supplier of clean room equipment and technology for life sciences and the high-tech sector. Its goal was the rapid implementation of a new demand-planning module from NetSuite. The company was out to replace a series of manual, spreadsheet-based processes that were guiding its decisions on what to buy from suppliers.
The old system carried a lot of potential for error, according to Kirk Mathers, vice president of finance and operations. Among other problems, the company couldn't gauge the accuracy of the amounts on its purchase orders. NetSuite's new demand-planning module, which bolted to the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, helped staffers to determine how much of a certain product they needed to buy. "It's taking the human element out of the equation," says Mathers. With the new system, "a large portion of inaccuracies should be gone. This is a big win for our company."
Software is only one part of the equation. The data still must be reviewed by the finance, operations and sales teams before a final determination of future purchases is made. The success of the initiative depends on close collaboration among all three parts of the company, Mathers says.
He hopes the effort will result in leaner inventories, with less of a need for safety stock. By having the right product on hand from the start, the company can avoid backorders and frustrated customers, he says. In the end, Valutek should have a streamlined order cycle that's more responsive to customer demand.
Click here to watch SupplyChainBrain's complete video interview with Kirk Mathers.
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