How do you approach an implementation for a supply chain problem so complex that a proper solution seems unimaginable? With McCoy’s Simply Proof way of working, we make the impossible, possible. How? By rapid prototyping.
First things first. What is rapid prototyping? In short, it’s an early step that focuses on proving testing form and function. In the classical blueprinting phase, the to-be processes are described without any system validation. This can result in an inability to deliver some of the processes during the realization phase. Making changes during this phase, is not only very inefficient, but often costly.
McCoy’s Simply Proof is a way of rapid prototyping, developed and enhanced together with the SAP Value Prototyping Hub in Walldorf and based on the Agile project methodology. We provide the possibility to create a prototype that can be used as a proof of concept for any challenging implementation project.
Simply Proof is an important preparation step prior to the implementation phase. As the prototyping itself has multiple iterations, we often refer to the proof of concept as a mini project. During these steps, the process-owners work closely together with our consultants to validate the most important or critical processes in an isolated environment. To build the prototype, we use a sample of a dataset, as opposed to the full scope of the data. Our goal is to demonstrate Integrated Business Planning (IBP) as the best solution for the most critical processes. Our prototype allows us to rapidly come to a validated solution.
The first step in working towards a prototype, is getting the vision clear. What are the critical challenges? How can these best be solved? What do we need for this? This is outlined in the envision phase. Key users get acquainted with IBP via a general overview session. Three months later, the proof of concept prototype is ready and by using a quick succession of sprints the planning process is outlined.
A key element to Simply Proof is the pressure-cooker principle in which the customer and McCoy focus during a short time span to complete the prototype in compact teams. The benefits of this approach are:
Decisions on processes and functionality are supported with a prototype. These processes can be can be demonstrated and validated;
The actual data and system are used. Not only does this speed up building the prototype, it also makes all stakeholders familiar with the SAP IBP solution and best practices;
This familiarity minimizes risks and surprises during the realization phase. This also directly contributes to the transfer of knowledge within the stakeholders’ organization.
With the critical challenges in clear sight, we can start building the prototype. At the end of each sprint, we take the time to extensively explain and show what has been developed and to validate these critical processes. In the figure below, you can see an example of the sprints. Topics are determined for each sprint, examples of topics could be: segmentation, capacity planning, stock rules, or the impact on ECC/S4.
Each sprint consists of five or six sprints every two weeks. At the start of each sprint, we plan the work for the coming two weeks. At the end of each sprint, we show the work that has been performed and successfully tested to all the stakeholders. The key users provide feedback and input for possible improvements on what has been delivered.
The main benefit of Simply Proof, is proving the challenges can be tackled. After the prototyping phase, a solid prototype is built that can be used as a foundation for further improvements. The prototype shows what works, but also what does not yet work. This allows for another round of revisions before moving further with the project, which effectively means an extra go/no-go moment. The prototype can be finetuned and customized, without taking away from the core of its solution. This also saves costs working towards on the actual project. Additionally, as the key-users and stakeholders are involved throughout the concepting phase, they grow from within the project. For planners, training with real-life data is essential to be able to understand the planning results. Involving key project stakeholders from the start, gets them gradually acquainted with the vision and objectives of the projects, evolving to true experts in the new solution and processes. Moving forward, they can act as true ambassadors, fully supporting their colleagues in this change journey and maximize the value of the change from within. An additional benefit? The prototyping minimizes the costs for the project.