Eolane streamlines its demand management with Optimact
In view of more efficient demand management, manufacturer of electronic components Eolane Tallin needed greater transparency in the chain. The organisation found the solution in Optimact from Xeleos Consulting. Today, both the supply chain department and the sales department quickly retrieve valuable information from the system. The time that used to be spent creating reports now goes to making informed decisions based on the tool.
Who is Eolane?
The French company Eolane is a provider of electronic production services. The manufacturer makes components and finished products, such as motherboards and mobile devices, tailored to the customer. The company’s nearly 700 customers are situated in a wide range of markets,
the most important of which are telecom & multimedia, industrial equipment, the automotive industry, aerospace, defense, public transport and the energy sector. To ensure the smooth running of production activities, Eolane has six sites in France, two in Morocco, one in China, one in Germany and one in Estonia.
All these locations manufacture both to order and to stock. “But we don’t manufacture products under our own brand,” says Markus Raid, Head of Supply Chain at Eolane Tallinn. “By offering companies our manufacturing services, they can fully focus on product development
and marketing. We are happy to take over the actual manufacturing, including the sourcing of the components and inventory management”. About 300 of the total 3,000 employees work at the site in Estonia.
Demand management combined with business intelligence
The Estonian site was looking for a solution to streamline demand management. In other words, the solution had to enable better forecasting, planning and management of product demand.
Markus Raid: “In addition, the solution had to be able to provide us with the necessary support in the field of business intelligence. However, when we took a closer look at the market, we found that the known providers of BI tools had little or no affinity with the supply chain. Insight into the supply chain was, however, a must for us. After that determination, we turned to Xeleos Consulting. I had already called on them in my former position, at the Pipelife company. Since I knew Xeleos Consulting could offer us the necessary supply chain expertise, the decision was quickly made.”
Eolane Tallinn asked Xeleos Consulting to take a closer look at the supply chain in view of possible improvements in demand management. That supply chain is quite straightforward. Components are purchased from all over the world and then shipped to Estonia. The factory then makes what the customer wants, after which the components or finished products are shipped to destinations worldwide. Eolane Tallinn also has its own distribution warehouse from which the goods are shipped. Those products are usually not bulky and are often shipped by air to ensure fast delivery.
A major challenge for Eolane is that it is primarily the wish of the customer that determines what must be done in the chain. “It would be easier if we, say, make our own brand of laptops, but our great customer focus is precisely our strength,” says Markus Raid. “The fact that we deal with multiple customers with different time horizons and different ways of working makes demand management very challenging.”
With better demand management in view, Eolane Tallinn especially needed to gain more insight into its supply chain and to visualise the available data.
M. Raid: “We used to have an idea of what was going on in our supply chain, but it was very time consuming to get the necessary analyses and reports from our Excel tool. We knew we had the data, but it was quite a chore to gather the right data. We therefore wanted a solution that could support our processes in an efficient and time-saving way.”
An eye for various processes
Because Eolane has very different customers, each with their own processes and requirements, a lot of customisation was needed to tailor Optimact, the tool from Xeleos Consulting, to the needs of the company. Since Eolane had little experience in implementing such tools, it took
some time to compare the capabilities of the package with Eolane’s exact needs. During the implementation, the interfacing with SAP, Eolane’s ERP system, was a particular challenge.
“We have to say that Xeleos Consulting has supported us very well in all those steps,” Markus Raid says. “After the interfacing, we played a lot with our data. This allowed us to optimally tailor the reporting platforms in Optimact to our needs. The most important thing for us was to get our
analytics platform up and running as soon as possible, because we knew that would save us the most time. But in fact, we considered the project as a continuous process from the outset, and never determined exactly when we wanted something to be completed. We are still fine-tuning to this day, but we can say that the system is now reliable and stable.”
Today Eolane has embedded all supply chain reporting and KPIs in Optimact. The tool supports the organisation in the demand management process.
M. Raid: “This means that the demand is compared in Optimact from different angles. In other words, what is the gap between our own vision on the one hand and the client’s vision on the other hand? Based on what the system indicates, we can make better decisions and actions. The great
visibility that Optimact offers means great added value for us. In addition, we really spend much less time generating reports.”
As a bonus, Eolane has also seen its inventory drop since the implementation of the package. “We have managed to reduce inventory by 35 percent over the past year. This was one of our goals, but not the first priority. The lower inventory level is a result of all the subsequent processes” Markus Raid says.
Tool for supply chain and sales
Xeleos has also helped to eliminate employee distrust of the new solution. “Employees like to stick to their old habits and familiar Excel tools,” says Markus Raid. “The fact that they had to focus more on analysing the figures and much less on generating reports also took some getting used to. But in the meantime, we can say that they have mastered the package. Today, some fifteen employees work with the system.”
Moreover, Eolane notices that people outside the supply chain can make good use of the tool as well. “The sales department in particular gets a lot of useful information from the system. When they talk to customers, they can easily find all the necessary information in one place. Since it is crucial that we are on the same level with the customer, that is an important asset of Optimact for us”, he says.
While Xeleos Consulting has its base in Zaventem, Eolane operates over 2,200 kilometers further in Tallinn. One may wonder whether that distance did not stand in the way of optimal cooperation.
M. Raid: “It obviously makes a difference that we had already worked together in the past. In addition, we naturally also had “face-to-face” conversations during the process. But most of the implementation and the routine tasks could be smoothly done remotely. I am therefore convinced that the physical distance had little or no effect on the end result.”
Base for further digitisation
A bonus is that Xeleos Consulting has created a framework for Eolane in which further digitisation opportunities can be spotted.
M. Raid: “The fact that visibility within the supply chain is now perfect and reporting is running smoothly, motivated us to go one step further. Specifically, we plan to implement a completely new Manufacturing & Execution System (MES). That will enable us to take our manufacturing excellence to a higher level as well. In the future, this will also give us a higher visibility and power, specifically within manufacturing.”
Quotes – Markus Reid, Head of Supply Chain of Eolane Tallinn
“The most important thing for us was to get our analytics platform up and running as soon as possible, because we knew that would save us the most time.”
“Visibility within the supply chain is now perfect and reporting is running smoothly.”
“While it was not our main goal, we have managed to reduce inventory by 35 percent over the past year.”