Demand Driven – The Knowledge Balance: Part 5 – Software Functionality

In this series of articles, I referred to a triumvirate of key actors with pivotal roles to play in Demand Driven initiatives. Where we view the knowledge balance with a separate focus on each of the three. Having already discussed Clients and Implementers, we now look at software functionality, and the role of software providers and designers.

Demand driven functionality centred around DDMRP has become more widespread as an inherent feature of many off-the-shelf ERP systems. I also mentioned in my previous article (part 4) that there are many add-on software packages designed to integrate into an already functioning ERP.

With many ERP providers, there may be a reticence to announce to the world that the ERP system offers such capability and functionality. There can be various reasons for this. The sales and marketing teams may not have sufficient awareness of demand driven concepts and principles, and therefore focus on the traditional selling points of generic ERP systems. Thereby avoiding the demand driven topic.

The programmers and designers of the functionality are the ones with the most expert level of knowledge in Demand Driven subject matter. But that knowledge is difficult to replace if those experts are no longer working with that particular ERP provider. And as a result, the sales and marketing teams are left without the source of expertise and knowledge.

There could also be a scenario that the ERP demand driven planning software functional design was outsourced to external software design partner companies. This would similarly result in sales and marketing teams at a demand driven disadvantage, in terms of knowing (or not) what to sell and how to sell it. While remaining cognisant of not wanting to over-sell on any specific area of functionality, and scare potential clients away from the core ERP product.

With bespoke demand driven add-on products, these dilemmas don’t come into play. The purpose is to sell demand driven software to clients, and the OEM’s or resellers of these products have the in-house expertise and knowledge. They also have the capability to provide first level information to clients about becoming demand driven, while also being in a position to recommend education programs on CDDP (Certified Demand Driven Planner) and CDDL (CDD Leader) certification.

In thinking through this particular article in the series, a question arose in my mind as to whether DDP add-on products have ever been implemented and interfaced to clients’ ERP systems, that already have inherent demand driven functionality within that ERP. It would be interesting to know of any examples.

At this point it is worth mentioning the industry segments that are typically a focus for Demand Driven software sales. Or conversely, the industry segments that tend to be avoided. Whether as standalone demand driven add-on software, or as part of ERP systems with inherent DDP functionality.

Discrete manufacturing, or production environments using work orders to plan and report against (such as Pharma, BioScience, Electronics, FMCG, and similar) tend to be seen as the sweet spot for demand driven transformations. On the other hand, Automotive, Telecoms, Oil and Gas, are examples of those that tend to be somewhat avoided.

I believe that these latter examples are industry segments that are seen as specialised (which indeed they are), making it more difficult for an implementer to understand the business dynamics without prior requisite experience. This is usually not as much of an issue in Discrete Manufacturing. Hence software providers and implementation partners remain focused on the mainstream industry segments.

Having myself acquired client-side experience in automotive and telecoms (in reference to two of the above-mentioned segments), I believe there is no reason for demand driven solutions not to deliver all the known benefits in these segments.

They also provide an interesting opportunity to interface with Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) / Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC) software and hardware.

Stay tuned for article 6, my next episode😊


Damien Dockery (CDDP)

Demand Driven – The Knowledge Balance: Part 4 – Implementers