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Network Appliance Responds Rapidly to Global Changes by Implementing Webplan RapidResponse

  Product Review published in DM Review Magazine
February 2005 Issue
  By Product Reviewer
Review of: RapidResponse from Webplan

REVIEWER: Michael Peters, director of information technology for Network Appliance.

BACKGROUND: Network Appliance, Inc. (NetApp) is a world leader in unified storage solutions for today's data-intensive enterprise. Since its inception in 1992, Network Appliance has pioneered technology, product and partner firsts that continue to drive the evolution of storage.

PLATFORMS: IBM 4 X 1.3GHz CPUs, 8GB memory, running MS Windows 2000 Enterprise.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In 2000, during a period of rapid growth, NetApp found itself with a number of disparate systems and processes that proved inadequate to support the growing demands of an international corporation. NetApp required visibility across the company in order to automate the scheduling process and manage the varying impact of changes in customer demand. Webplan's RapidResponse solution provided NetApp with the real-time global visibility it needed in order to proactively and confidently respond to changes in supply, demand, product and capacity.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: RapidResponse has allowed NetApp to substantially reduce the average time it takes to process a customer order. Only three days after the manufacturing planning team started using RapidResponse, 75 percent of customer orders were being scheduled automatically with no human intervention required. By correctly sourcing and scheduling greater than 95 percent of new or changed sales orders, RapidResponse allowed planning and scheduling personnel to adopt a more strategic monitoring mode. The planners are able to manage by exception and address the true underlying issues at play. In the first month after going live with RapidResponse, Network Appliance's supply management staff saw a 21-percent reduction in required actions on possible shortages and expedites. This has resulted in improved production efficiencies and reduced planning cycle times, among other operational benefits.

STRENGTHS: RapidResponse provides the comprehensive solution and real-time insight needed to anticipate potential problems, instantly review multiple action alternatives, and quickly and intelligently respond to the constant changes. RapidResponse ultimately helps us avoid customer and margin erosion by improving the ability to make and keep customer commitments, reduce inventory liability and enhance business planning effectiveness.

WEAKNESSES: While we have successfully engineered real-time integrations between RapidResponse and our ERP system, I would like to see the standard functionality for real-time integrations become more straightforward.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We found that Rapid-Response had the unique architecture for us to continue using JD Edwards as our ERP system (NetApp has since switched to Oracle ERP) while enhancing our manufacturing operations. RapidResponse was introduced because it could deliver unique functionality unavailable in the ERP vendors' advanced planning and scheduling systems. Using RapidResponse, a solution was developed that takes a unique combination of information and business rules to determine where an order should be sourced and build schedules for all steps in the supply chain. Real-time, closed-loop integration with the Oracle ERP system ensures complete automation and rapid response. The flexibility and extensibility of RapidResponse made it possible to deliver the solution faster and more cost effectively than with the alternatives.

DELIVERABLES: Active Spreadsheets provide global access to live data feeds from our ERP and allow us to analyze data based on real-time information. The Resolution Engine gives us rapid, iterative modeling capabilities that enable action team members throughout and beyond the enterprise to propose, detail and share action alternatives to drive effective resolution to continually changing situations. The Live Scorecard enables us to compare alternative "what-if" action plans based on real-time information and score proposed action plans against predetermined real world metrics.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Webplan supplied well-versed and committed consultant staff to our project, who took the time to learn NetApp's business challenges. Project execution on both initial implementation and subsequent tailoring projects has been well-planned and well-controlled. Webplan has also been very committed to ongoing product support.

DOCUMENTATION: Base system documentation has met our needs.


For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Business Intelligence (BI), Corporate Performance Management (CPM), Real-Time Enterprise and Scorecards and Dashboards.

Product reviews are customer testimonials. We thank the author of this review for taking the time to share his or her expertise.

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