Hubbell WDK, headquartered in Milford, CT, is a leading manufacturer of electrical products that are designed and used to safely manage and connect electrical circuits for the demands of the industrial, commercial, institutional, and marine environments. Hubbell WDK manufactures a wide variety of repetitive and made-to-order electrical products each year. In June 1998, Hubbell WDK implemented the Prescient XE supply chain solution from Prescient Systems to plan demand for Hubbell WDK's more than 6,000 products.
Prior to implementing Prescient XE, Hubbell WDK relied on an in-house program to calculate its manufacturing and inventory forecast. Although it had already implemented SAP's R/2 ERP and Cincom's MRP system, Hubbell WDK had yet to implement a sophisticated demand planning system. The forecast was done by hand, based on last year's sales and then modified as needed. Although Hubbell became skilled at projecting its forecast this way, the company knew it could produce better results with a supply chain system in place. Hubbell WDK was vulnerable since the numbers being used weren't based on real time information. Because of the lack of timely, accurate information, demand planners at Hubbell often were unable to identify a major change in trend before it was too late to make the necessary adjustments.
"We knew that we could no longer continue forecasting the way we had been over the years. To provide our customers with the best possible customer service and to run our business more efficiently, we had to take the necessary steps to optimize our supply chain. We also knew that by beginning a supply chain initiative, we were basically turning our business over to the software to some extent. This not only took a large commitment and a bit of courage on our part, but also the right supply chain partner," said Lou Pizzoli, Director, Domestic Operations, Hubbell, Inc.
Before Hubbell WDK began its search for a supply chain solution, a team consisting of upper management and eventual end-users was put in place to research, evaluate, and recommend a system. Hubbell WDK chose Prescient Systems suite, Prescient XE, after a lengthy decision process in which several supply chain vendors were evaluated. Among the key factors in the decision to implement Prescient XE was the quick implementation process, ease-of-use, innovative functionality, and proven integration with ERP and MRP systems such as SAP and Cincom.
"Going into the evaluation process we weren't sure what to expect. We knew what we were looking for, but we also had to consider our budget. We were sensitive to the fact that there was a chance we might have to sacrifice functionality to fit our budget requirements. However, that theory was short lived when we met with Prescient Systems. Prescient Systems not only graded highest as the best solution for its functionality, ease-of-use, and flexibility, but also had a significantly lower total cost of ownership than the other industry leaders. We felt Prescient Systems' software drove down a little deeper and gave more information than the others did. We were also encouraged by the flexibility of Prescient XE. It's nice to know that when our business grows and our requirements change that the software will grow with us without having to go through another major implementation," said Jim Grimes, VP of Manufacturing, Hubbell, Inc.
Since implementing Prescient Systems, Hubbell has seen dramatic results. With the aid of real time visibility throughout the company's processes, Hubbell is experiencing its best forecasting results in company history. Service levels and inventory turns are at an all-time high while, inventory is at an all-time low. In total, Hubbell WDK has reduced its inventory by more than 14% in 1999 alone.
"With those results, the system paid for itself in a few short months. Prescient Systems has been excellent to work with, has become an important part of our company process and has changed the way we run our business. Obviously we thought that optimizing our supply chain would provide great benefits or we wouldn't have begun our search. But the results we have been able to achieve - in such a short amount of time - exceed our expectations," said Grimes.
As an added benefit, implementing Prescient XE has also changed the way Hubbell WDK communicates as a company. Now, when changes in demand are experienced, the operations and sales/marketing departments are able to come together to discuss the issue with real time data provided by the Prescient XE system. Hubbell WDK is no longer unable to anticipate swift changes in product demand and availability. This process has greatly increased the productivity of manufacturing assets and personnel within the company.
Continues Grimes, "Saving dollars in inventory is great, but also being able to prepare for a change in demand before it's too late, both positive and negative, is just as important. We no longer wait for the train to hit us, we see it coming long before it comes down the track."