In an interview with CIOApplications, Scott Spyker, founder and CEO at Scott Sheldon, shares insights on how the company, in the light of their experience catering to Fortune 5000 entities, have refined and repurposed their solutions and service offering to the “supply chain interests” of small-medium entities and emerging companies while continuing to excel at servicing their client base globally. He talks about how they enable clients to augment their typical ERP, WMS, Demand Planning and Analytics solutions with cutting edge, new age technologies such as IoT and data science to further sharpen the edge of their processes.
Could you give us a brief overview of Scott Sheldon LLC?
Primarily, we are all about integrating and customizing technology into our customer’s supply chain operations to enable or enhance their competitive advantage. On a broader level, that typically includes solutions such as WMS, ERP, TMS, Demand Planning, etc. Additionally, we are seeing trends towards a greater need for Data Integration and IoT as more data becomes available with new devices and the push towards cloud-based solutions. Secondly, we offer what we call Operational Excellence inside a warehouse or a manufacturing plant where we look at business process, labor utilization, and layout to optimize our customer’s physical operations. Lastly, we help our customers develop and execute overall supply chain strategies where we optimize their supply chain network by studying and scrutinizing their assets, plants, transportation, inventory levels, and customer demand to name a few.
Our key competitive advantage is that we are not exclusively an IT solutions provider or a business process consulting firm; we are the best of both. Our team members can sit in a meeting and talk about the technical aspect of a project, they can also talk about the business outcomes. Our expertise lies at how we can put together a comprehensive, holistic solution for our customers.
Who are your typical clients? Could you talk about some of the imperative needs that exist in the supply chain landscape?
The fact that we have had rich experience catering to the Fortune 5000 companies—who we continue to serve and acquire more of—enables us to play an incremental role in developing the small and medium-sized enterprises in the space–with whom we aim to further populate our client base with. From a market needs perspective, many of our clients come to us when they go through significant growth, or they’ve had an acquisition, or there is complexity that they need to solve. Companies are always trying to draw cost out of their supply chain operations; they need their processes to be optimized be it around transportation and freight rates, lane and load optimization, or backhauls to name a few.
We are different from our competition in that we are experts in both the technology and business disciplines. This capability allows us to deliver holistic supply chain solutions to our customers. We are on-point, on-time, and on-budget. We believe that every project must have a bottom-line ROI and we pride ourselves on helping our customers achieve those goals
And how have you aligned yourself accordingly with your solutions and service stack? Please tell us more about your strategic partnerships that you’ve undertaken in this regard.
When it comes to Supply Chain Network Optimization, we are one of the few companies that utilize Alteryx as the fundamental platform for these projects. The Alteryx products allow us to quickly develop the network baseline, model what-if scenarios, and integrate with the optimization engine and visual tools to provide the outputs. Our solution uses the same fundamental analytics engines and algorithms as the larger software vendors, but at a much more reasonable price point.
We also have a proprietary process called Operations Tune-up, which is a 4-6 week program where we go into our clients’ manufacturing plants or warehouse operations, compare the workflows with respect to industry metrics, assess layout and productivity, and help them develop medium and long term action items to improve their operations. A key output are the quick-hit opportunities that we find that typically pay for the cost of the Tune-Up.
Another prong in our solutions stack is our ability to successfully implement ERP solutions. We have partnered with QAD as we believe they provide a technologically superior ERP solution to small-midsize enterprises. With 25 years of experience implementing ERP solutions, we have learned that the real key to success is how change is managed. This includes changes to business processes, organizational structures, and even how data is collected, cleansed, and maintained. This is a real area of strength for us!
Please elaborate on customer success story that you’ve had in the recent past?
We’ve had plenty of customer success stories; one among them was the instance of a prominent food and beverage manufacturer who resorted to very manual processes and “tribal knowledge” when it came to demand forecasting and production planning. We first implemented a formal S&OP process and then layered on a supporting technology. We scheduled the monthly meetings, specified and assigned roles and responsibilities, identified key data and metrics, and so on. We trained the customer how to evaluate the customer demand and corresponding supply constraints to develop a financially viable operating plan.
Once the S&OP phase was complete, we deployed the DSCP tool from QAD to do the number crunching, forecasting, capacity constraints, and production scenarios. We eliminated the use of spreadsheets, so everyone had all the cleaned data consolidated into a single system as a “single source of truth.” They were able to drive down their inventory levels and safety stock by a significant percent and improve their forecast accuracy from 67 to 89 percent in the first year of implementing our solution.
Lastly, could you throw some more light on your how you leverage IoT and data science to enhance supply chain operations?
We’ve recognized the potential of IoT playing a crucial role in driving cost and complexity out of supply chain operations. We are currently developing several industry-based solutions with our IoT partner Software AG. We can see where IoT can provide significant benefit around track and trace, product usage and preventive maintenance, FEFO tracking, time sensitive processes, and much more.
Since IoT is still in its infancy, many companies don’t know the potential of IoT or where to start with the technology. To this end, we have developed the IoT Tune-up, a 4-6 week process that provides customers with some executive education, an assessment of current landscape and potential IoT opportunities, and a “Starter Pack” for Software AG’s Cumulocity tool. Our goal is to help our customers quickly get an IoT pilot working and begin taking steps to an enterprise level roadmap.
We have started customizing and delivering solutions for warehouses and manufacturing plants that involve identifying and setting up IoT components to gather data from say, conveyor systems or even getting fine data about the state of inventories. We are also involved in deploying back-end data science infrastructures for real-time analysis of IoT data for proactive decision making and process optimization that ultimately translates to higher ROI. We are extremely excited about the Cumulocity platform and what the future holds for IoT.