Helping companies improve supply chain management

Resource management software specialist Ardent Solutions is urging businesses to rethink their approach to supply chain management. Affiliated to the Demand Driven Institute (DDI), the company is behind the demand-driven material requirements planning (DDMRP) compliant software for Microsoft Dynamics 365; DDMRP for Dynamics.

Based in Birmingham, UK, the company is offering a free initial consultation for businesses who wish to rethink their resource management and are keen to understand more behind DDMRP.

DDMRP is a concept that originated in the US in 2011 and its efficacy has been proven by some of the world's leading companies, who use DDMRP methodology to supplement or replace traditional MRP methods.

Ardent Solutions, alongside other proponents of DDMRP, argues that existing MRP methodology is outdated, with the forecasting calculations underpinning the system often being inaccurate. This leads to problems with over- and under-stocking.

DDMRP focuses on the actual demand coming from the customer, rather than estimated sales or unqualified leads. This means that stock levels and manufacturing output can be controlled accurately rather than by relying on inaccurate forecasts.

"The only way to effectively manage modern supply networks is by taking a demand-driven approach," explained Roger Fleury, director of Ardent Solutions. "DDMRP allows production planners to manage variable factors such as stock lead times and volatile markets by segmenting the management process into three phases: to position, protect and pull.

"In the position phase, planners can set decoupling points in the supply network to manage lead times individually rather than over the entire supply chain. This is achieved by strategically placing these decoupling points and holding stock buffers at them.

"In the protect phase, companies set variable buffer levels for their inventory held, which is dynamically adjusted as availability changes and is managed by a traffic light system that shows when more product is required. For the pull phase, the inputs that drive capacity and stock allocation are only based on qualified sales and demand is calculated according to this."

According to figures shared by Microsoft in 2015, 60 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use Dynamics to manage resources and operations. Ardent Solutions' DDMRP for Dynamics offering is designed to be easily integrated into existing Dynamics setups, allowing operations managers and production planners to improve system agility quickly and effectively. Ardent Solutions works with global supply-chain specialist B2Wise's software to deliver the software that can be used from the beginning to the end of the manufacturing process.

"Our experience with the Microsoft Dynamics platform allows us to apply our expertise of the software to companies wishing to go the next step and add DDMRP software to their system," continued Fleury. "We offer a consultative approach, where we discuss the current systems that a business uses to manage their supply chain and then look how we could improve it with DDMRP for Dynamics.

"Our consultants have an average of 23 years of industry experience, so they are aware of the demands of many different sectors. If a company is interested in seeing how the DDMRP for Dynamics software functions for their business, we carry out a pilot to demonstrate the benefits of DDMRP versus traditional MRP. The process requires a cultural change in the business, so it's important that all levels of staff can understand the value of the software to become fully invested in it."

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