REVIEWER: Jeff Braaten, strategic business analyst, Hirsh Industries.

BACKGROUND: Hirsh is a leading manufacturer of consumer durables, including file cabinets, filing supplies, filing accessories, steel security boxes and metal shelving. The company’s main customers are big-box retailers and office superstores.

PLATFORMS: SAP and Excel 2007.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Hirsh had been using SAP to view the forecast and made changes manually. It took a team of five people to keep the forecast current and accurate. Since implementing John Galt’s ForecastX Wizard, the company now enjoys improved accuracy, and only one person needs to have direct involvement with the forecast. With the earlier system, data was stored in one version, history was not visible, and guesses were made based on external history. In addition, it was not very user-friendly. The ForecastX Wizard allows Hirsh to review every customer item combination through the standard reports. With the old system, it was simply not feasible.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The ForecastX Wizard helped Hirsh drive its finished goods inventory down 25 percent while maintaining a high level of customer service. The company has maintained 92 percent forecast accuracy on its largest product line, even while the company was going through some major changes.

STRENGTHS: We now have improved accuracy at all levels. The sales department understands the process, which is much quicker and easier. History is available in the same report as the forecast. Pivot tables help inform sales of their forecast accuracy. The forecast is easily “sold” to the executive team.

WEAKNESSES: It takes a bit of trial and error to select the settings that work best for your business. Also, this application is an Excel plug-in. Therefore, everything is in spreadsheets (which has its good and bad points). There is some manual work uploading the information into the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose John Galt’s ForecastX Wizards based on price and ease of implementation. Hirsh had been working with a different vendor, and the cost was going to be in excess of $100K. Hirsh was having a hard time understanding what the ROI would be for that kind of investment. The ForecastX Wizard was so inexpensive (less than $2K) that it was paid for on the company credit card.

DELIVERABLES: There are several different report options. The report-bursting feature creates a forecast report for each sales manager that only shows their customers. One report automatically creates a pivot table. Executive reports allow people to see high-level numbers with vivid graphs. The reports that the sales managers receive allow them to make suggestions and send them back. One may choose to accept those suggestions or override and then upload them to the ERP system.

VENDOR SUPPORT: John Galt has been a great group to work with. They call quarterly to make sure everything is going well. Their help desk is very responsive and knowledgeable. The company hosts an annual user conference, which is a great time to work with the John Galt team and also network with peers.

DOCUMENTATION: John Galt provides an electronic manual that is searchable for quick research. The software also comes with example data so new users can practice on data that they know will function properly with the software.

ForecastX Wizard
John Galt Solutions, Inc.
125 South Clark Street
Suite 1950
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 701-9026

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