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Case Study

 

Journey to Industry-Standard Supply Chain Processes at DuPont

insiderPROFILES

January 2, 2012

Senior IT Consultant Janice Reissig describes DuPont’s business process management (BPM) initiative in this Q&A. The BPM initiative is designed to standardize business processes in DuPont’s supply chain and help reduce reliance on legacy systems. Though DuPont is still only partly through its journey, the end goal for the initiative is standardization on a single SAP instance.
 
       
     

Janice Reissig

Janice Reissig, Senior IT Consultant, DuPont

       

Imagine that your business is a single company running over 70 distinct supply chains at once. For DuPont, a science-based products and services company, this existence is a reality — and one that’s been profitable and essential for the $32 billion industry leader to create sustainable solutions for people to live safer and healthier lives. Because the business understands the value of best practices, it recognized its supply chain model could benefit from efficiency improvements. So, in 2010, DuPont — a long-time SAP customer — set out to standardize its business processes in the supply chain and reduce its reliance on legacy systems with the long-term goal of standardizing on a single SAP instance.

insiderPROFILES recently spoke with Janice Reissig, Senior IT Consultant at DuPont, who spent much of her career in DuPont’s supply chain organization, to get an inside look at the company’s business process management (BPM) initiative as well as the tools and processes being used to design those more standardized supply chain processes.

Q: What were the drivers behind DuPont’s BPM initiative in the supply chain?

We have more than 70 different supply chains running concurrently because our businesses historically have been very independent from one another. One of the effects was that our supply chain systems landscape became very diverse. Each business was engaging with IT individually. And when it came down to it, we were doing a lot of the same functions and processes in different ways and, in some cases, with different solutions.

BPM is part of a larger building block to enable more strategic and transformative business value. By integrating our world-class delivery-to-promise capability with profitable customer and product line management and segmentation, we will make better commercial decisions, sustain our gains, and become the partner of choice for customers. 


Q: How did you personally get involved?

I have a background in IT, supply chain, and business process consulting and have been involved with IT closely in various roles over the years. So when I heard there was an initiative focused on implementing business process management in the supply chain using the ARIS for SAP software tool (SAP Enterprise Modeling by IDS Scheer), I jumped on it and was assigned to be the BPM IT competency lead.


Q: So where do you start a project like this?

We are executing a multi-year plan that started with identifying why we wanted to do it. Some influential project champions at DuPont were involved with the planning, estimating the benefit that we could obtain by using business process management in our supply chain — both hard-dollar and soft-dollar benefits, such as data quality. The benefits are all framed with the desire to have the highest service levels possible for our customers while trying to reduce the total cost of ownership.

To be successful, it has to be a blend of process and technology because you want to set up processes that you can execute with the intended technology. We’re not trying to make the technology do something it can’t do. You have to take both and make that balance work.

We first focused on establishing simplified global standard processes that are vetted with our businesses to ensure they meet the majority of DuPont needs. For the supply chain, we began with Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) standard framework models, definitions, and benchmarks. We used ARIS for SAP software from IDS Scheer as a modeling tool and business process repository. By comparing what a business is doing in its current state versus a defined standard future state, we can clearly identify differences and focus on asking, “What is the value-add in being different? And how does this affect our customers?” The expectation is that deviations from corporate standards will occur only when driven by value or profit.

Some of DuPont’s businesses realized they could standardize those processes. For example, by using business process modeling as part of a continuous improvement program, they could align order fulfillment processes across regions. The resulting process changes also helped to standardize its training of customer service representatives, and provided some cost savings.

Q: Where is DuPont today in this initiative?

I want to emphasize the word “journey” here because we’re not done. Today, we’re working on corporate processes such as demand management and selecting businesses to work with based on their interest level and how much the work might benefit them. We’ll continue this work through 2012 and beyond.

Q: What specific SAP solutions are helping you in these areas today?

We’re using SAP Solution Manager to integrate with ARIS for SAP and synchronize our models between the two solutions. That lets us bring over standard transactions from our SAP systems that operate within the particular supply chain areas that we’re working in.

At the same time, the integration between SAP software and ARIS for SAP helps us document and share new process models. If we’re working on a project and have an ARIS model that defines business processes, it has to connect through the SAP system to make sure our business and the IT people are all on the same page — this is how we’re going to run things. Using SAP Solution Manager, we’re able to translate technical objects and business requirements into our documentation.

Q: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far on this journey?

I think for a project like this, the most important step is to make sure people realize that using an industry-standard framework is a major shift in thinking. It changes the discussion to focus on the value of using versus not using an industry standard. What’s going to be the impact to your customers? It forces the business to review what’s most important.

This is not a short-term project. This type of change affects the kind of people you bring into your organization, because you want to select and train people who can lead in this area and have a background that’s applicable, such as Six Sigma or SCOR for supply chain. If you’re going to move toward corporate standard processes, it needs to be very clear who owns them.

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