Colibri supports Radiall in the implementation of its S&OP process

A translation of an article written by Laurène MATZEU DE VIALAR, published by the Voxlog

At the core of a large S&OP project ongoing for the past 3 years, the Radiall company, specialized in the conception, development and production of interconnection solution, rely on Colibri, a sales forecasting tool developed by VISEO, a global IT consulting firm specialized in assisting clients in their IT and digital transformation.

318 million € in revenue, 17 subsidiaries, 11 plants and more than 3000 product references: The international group Radiall, created by Yvon and Lucien Gattaz in 1952 and now presided by Pierre Gattaz, experiences the need to optimize its sales forecasts and demand. In 2015, the supplier of interconnexion solutions, that mainly work on the telecom market for aeronautic and defense, decided to launch a major S&OP project. “We evolved our Supply Chain Management toward a new organization managed around autonomous production units.  Theses units are constituted of several departments that serve the industrial operations whose goal is to improve the operational performance delivered to the customers. From Supply Chain Manager we became S&OP Manager, in charge of steering the demand and the capacity of each production sites of the group and of external suppliers” explains Joël Mathiot, S&OP and Supply Chain Manager at Radiall.

A tool to support a new organization

Quickly it appeared important to implement a sales forecasting tool to work more efficiently on the forecasts and demand. “We used to work on Excel. But it turned out time consuming, required to realize a lot of data extractions and raised many IT issues linked to the data volumetry stored in the software” explains Joël Mathiot. “We needed to go further on our forecasts and demand thinking while collaborating with our different collaborators, product managers and sales representatives” he adds. The discussion with Colibri started in 2016. Available in SaaS, this Supply Chain Management tool developed by VISEO is specialized in the management of sales forecasts and the planning and distribution of the replenishments: “The Colibri team offered to do a POC and gave us access to a prototype for a few month. When I joined the company in January 2017, one of my mission was to produce a design brief of functional needs to test Colibri according to different criteria that will allow us later to make a decision” tells Joël Mathiot.

An optimization from plants to suppliers

2 objectives are important to Radiall: the statistic forecasts and the sharing of the forecasts with the different collaborators. Thanks to the tool, the group manages to calculate the statistic forecasts that allows to generate next a demand review at a macroeconomic level. Once done, the S&OP managers work closely with the product managers to review the trends for each family products regarding trade zone and customer groups to refine the forecasts. Then a validation review is generated. In a second time, outside the tool, this time, Radiall analyzes its production capacity on the different sites according to the forecasts and demand carried out in Colibri, and identify bottlenecks. With this information the teams are able to suggest smoothing (upstream or downstream) or investment scenarios to successfully anticipate these problematics. “ we are planning the demand on the different components of our products’ nomenclatures and suppliers. Our purchase department can then visit our suppliers to discuss the established plan and analyze their results” explains Joël Mathiot.

A saving of 28 days of work days

Launched last year the project only took 3 months thanks to the “constant availability of our consultants that worked with us, their capacity to answer our functional needs and to the 5 training days on the tool” claims the S&OP and Supply Chain Manager at Radiall. Today with Colibri, the teams are able to visualize in a few clics the sales and forecasts information and enjoy a stronger collaboration between the different departments. Even better, they generate forecasts in 3 days against 10 days before using Colibri. “As we have a S&OP cycle of 3 months, it means that we have a huge gain of 28 work days. Now we can focus on the capacity analyzis and all the side functions linked to our perimeter”, detailed Joël Mathiot. Next year, Radiall consider keeping up perfecting the tool, in particular in terms of statistic projections and refining of its models. But more importantly the group plans on generalizing the use of the tool with its different supply and demand contributors, the sales representives and the product managers. “Our process is becoming more professional one step at a time. And we will probably go further, we are currently studying the possibility to implement a new Colibri tool called Smart Data allowing to realize reporting, in particulars on the forecasts reliability, concludes Joël Mathiot.

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