It is easy for those of us involved in technology sectors to become completely enamored with the technology itself. We are correspondingly driven to calculating some quantitative measurement of its associated impact. I am always pleasantly surprised when I get feedback aligned with the softer more subjective results of technology implementations.
Recently I had the chance to discuss an implementation of DSCP at a major manufacturer. My favorite aspect of their results included the reporting that their sales management was actually “happy” with the new solution. This is a stunning declaration. Find a field sales manager and ask him about his CRM or forecast system and you will get a story of how it’s nothing but work for him. Historically every sales team has a well-deserved disdain for centralized corporate systems. These systems are notoriously cumbersome and data-hungry. This results in a burden on field personnel for lengthy and repeated data entry. The perception of field personnel is that they get the workload but no real perceived benefit.
With my interest peaked, I desperately wanted to find the source of happiness. (This actually might be a broader life quest for most of us.) It turns out that the legacy demand and forecast system was a disjoint combination of manual processes and antiquated software. Historically the sales managers had to provide forecasts for EACH product item EACH time the forecast was refreshed. With the modern DSCP approach, the sales leaders only have to report on those items where the forecast is known to have changed. The happiness started with a huge reduction in monthly busy work.
This resulted in a starkly different experience for the sales leaders and was a source of individual happiness. I am sure that we could break out the spreadsheet and financially quantify this benefit in hours saved times the cost of the sales manager salary. However, the happiness seems to have translated even further than that calculated benefit. This manufacturer has seen a noticeable improvement in the data accuracy in the forecast data that the field sales have been providing. It appears that by reducing the task to a focused set of requirements the sales leaders delivered a better set of inputs into the overall demand planning process.
Please don’t discount the other significant benefits of a modern DSCP. This manufacturer is seeing real system benefits from the more tightly integrated demand planning and ERP solution. They are managing the demand across nearly 2500 global customers with access to 7000 SKU’s in ways that were just not possible with spreadsheets and isolated software plug-ins. It’s a great technology story and they continue to invest and advance the solution for both their customers and their complex channel partners.
All of those technology benefits are fabulous. However, I am just as excited about the generation of just a little more happiness.