Our client was managing their food manufacturing and distribution business on a series of multi-workbook spreadsheets. Over a number of years, the reliability of the spreadsheets was becoming untenable and causing substantial workflow and efficiency problems. Additionally, they were utilizing a separate JD Edwards package for order and inventory management. Several commercial off-the-shelf ERP software packages were considered but subsequently dismissed after thorough research because of the built-in rigidity of the software and the massive undertaking to customize it to accommodate their business processes.
What We Did
In order to gain a thorough understanding of our client’s business, the Business Analysis requirements phase included a number of in-depth elicitation methods including interviews, observation and job shadowing with personnel on the manufacturing line as well as front and back office employees. Once our gap analysis was completed, we analyzed the information and requirements from the elicitation process and developed numerous models including ERDs, flow diagrams, wireframes and use cases which were then incorporated into a functional spec. The custom MRP, which we integrated with their existing JD Edwards POS/Inventory system was built using a multi-phased process that included frequent progress demos to the client. The software collates orders from the JD Edwards point of sale and generates production-specific data allowing our client to see the recipes and exact amounts of each ingredient necessary to fulfill production for the day. Additionally, the application tracks leftover and waste material, and updates our client’s JD Edwards inventory system. On the back-end, the MRP allows management of lot numbers, raw material, items, supplies, and the building of recipes.
Our client was able to free up a number of employees who were spending an inordinate amount of time trying to manage their key processes via spreadsheets. These employees are now able to concentrate on their specific and appropriate roles. In addition to the increase in employee productivity, the MRP resulted in a substantial improvement in manufacturing accuracy and productivity.