MUFI Rating & Risk – ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply Planning)

MUFI Rating & Risk – ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply Planning)

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: ToolsGroup (Select For Vendor Profile)

Introduction

ToolsGroup is a software vendor that is mostly known for its inventory optimization and multi echelon planning software for supply planning.

Application Detail

ToolsGroup supply planning application uses inventory management and multi-echelon planning functionality. ToolsGroup SO99 has what we consider to be the best graphing ability in supply planning for showing the relationship between inventory and service level. The relationship between inventory and service levels is non-linear; higher and higher service levels require disproportionate increases in inventory to support them. The closer service levels come to one hundred percent, the more extreme the costs become. This relationship is one of the best-documented relationships in supply-chain management and is described by the graphic below.

Service Level Inventory Relationship.pdf

This graphic has been seen at one time or another by most supply chain professionals, and it demonstrates the fact that companies must decide what levels of service they can afford and, most importantly, what levels of service their customers are willing to pay for.

ToolsGroup Service Level Inventory Graphic

ToolsGroup has this relationship curve built into their application. As you can see, their graph shows the same relationship as the graph on the previous page. Notice that there is a slider at the bottom of the ToolsGroup application view. This allows the user to see what the resulting inventory would be for different system-wide service levels. (Some other parameters can be changed, as well as observed, from below the main graphic.) 

It is impressive—considering all of the calculations that the ToolsGroup application has to perform to generate this graph—how quickly the graph can be adjusted by just moving the slider along the bottom. Behind the scenes, there is a fully configured model of the supply chain.

ToolsGroup SO99 is an impressive application in many ways, and the application covers both demands as well as supply planning. ToolsGroup brings a very high knowledge level to its projects, and this is another benefit in addition to the software. ToolsGroup is an excellent but complex application, and a company, which intends to use it, needs to make sure it is interested in funding this type of application.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

Vendor and Application Risk

ToolsGroup SO99 faces the similar issues of the more heavyweight supply planning applications, which is one of being overwhelmed with the available functionality. Overall the SO99 application is well designed, and it has some productivity-enhancing features. As with all inventory optimization applications, there is a risk of implementing the technology without properly socializing what ToolsGroup SO99 is doing under the covers. Emphasis must be made on getting the business to understand inventory optimization.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the Supply Planning software category. Or go to this link to see other analytical products for ToolsGroup SO99.

References

Tuning ERP and External Planning Systems with Brightwork Explorer

MRP and supply planning systems require tuning in order to get the most out of them. Brightwork MRP & S&OP Explorer provides this tuning, which is free to use in the beginning until is sees “serious usage,” and is free for students and academics. See by clicking the image below:

Software Selection Book

SELECTION

Enterprise Software Selection: How to Pinpoint the Perfect Software Solution Using Multiple Sources of Information

What the Book Covers

Essential reading for success in your next software selection and implementation.

Software selection is the most important task in a software implementation project, as it is your best (if not only) opportunity to make sure that the right software—the software that matches the business requirements—is being implemented. Choosing the software that is the best fit clears the way for a successful implementation, yet software selection is often fraught with issues and many companies do not end up with the best software for their needs. However, the process can be greatly simplified by addressing the information sources that influence software selection. This book can be used for any enterprise software selection, including ERP software selection.

This book is a how-to guide for improving the software selection process and is formulated around the idea that—much like purchasing decisions for consumer products—the end user and those with the domain expertise must be included. In addition to providing hints for refining the software selection process, this book delves into the often-overlooked topic of how consulting and IT analyst firms influence the purchasing decision, and gives the reader an insider’s understanding of the enterprise software market.

This book is connected to several other SCM Focus Press books including Enterprise Software TCO and The Real Story Behind ERP.

By reading this book you will:

  • Learn how to apply a scientific approach to the software selection process.
  • Interpret vendor-supplied information to your best advantage. This is generally left out of books on software selection. However, consulting companies and IT analysts like Gartner have very specific biases. Gartner is paid directly by software vendors — a fact they make every attempt not to disclose while consulting companies only recommend software for vendors that give them the consulting business. Consulting companies all have an enormous financial bias that prevents them from offering honest advice — and this is part of their business model.
  • Understand what motivates a software vendor.
  • Learn how the institutional structure and biases of consulting firms affect the advice they give you, and understand how to properly interpret information from consulting companies.
  • Make vendor demos work to your benefit.
  • Know the right questions to ask on topics such as integration with existing software, cloud versus on-premise vendors, and client references.
  • Differentiate what is important to know about software for improved “implement-ability” versus what the vendor thinks is important for improved “sell-ability.”
  • Better manage your software selection projects to ensure smoother implementations.

Buy Now

Chapters

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Software Selection
  • Chapter 2: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
  • Chapter 3: Software Sell-ability versus Implement-ability
  • Chapter 4: How to Use Consulting Advice on Software Selection
  • Chapter 5: How to Use the Reports of Analyst Firms Like Gartner
  • Chapter 6: How to Use Information Provided by Vendors
  • Chapter 7: How to Manage the Software Selection Process

MUFI Rating & Risk – ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)

MUFI Rating & Risk – ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: ToolsGroup (Select For Vendor Profile)

Introduction

ToolsGroup is a software vendor that is mostly known for its inventory optimization and multi echelon planning software for supply planning. However, while less known for the forecasting functionality that is part of their SO99 product, it is a very capable application.

Application Detail

ToolsGroup in everything that it does is very focused on what is known as stochastic modeling. This means modeling in a way that represents the variable nature of reality. This comes across in their forecasting application and is on display in the following screenshot.

ToolsGroup Interface

Most forecasting applications have a single line representing the forecast. ToolsGroup’s S099 application produces a range of values indicating the probabilistic nature of the forecast.  This is a very innovative concept and gets people thinking of a forecast as not a single value.

ToolsGroup Seasonality

ToolsGroup has a very nice seasonality management functionality, which allows a seasonality index to be created, which helps adjust the forecast up or down based upon the indice. A fractional value below 1 for an indice, such as in October, (.80), brings the forecast down – a fractional value above 1 for an indice, such as February, (1.03), brings the forecast up. Some forecasting applications have similar functionality. However, ToolsGroup regularly displays a combination of ease of use long with a high degree of sophistication.

Lifecycle Planning in ToolsGroup SO99

Supersession is the substitution of one product for another product. In lifecycle planning, this often takes the form of phasing out one product and replacing it with a newer version. Seeing the demand for both products in an integrated way is one of the challenges. ToolsGroup has made this very clear in their user interface, which is why I wanted to include them in this section.

ToolGroup can show both the phased out product, and the phased-in product on the same screen. See below, and notice the transparent portion of the block graphs.

ToolsGroup Supersession

If the selected item supersedes another item (i.e., it assumes the demand of the superseded item in addition to its own), the demand bar on the graph displays both the original demand for the selected item (solid green bar) and the acquired demand associated with the superseded item (green perimeter with no fill): the superseded demand. – Kristen Nordstrom, ToolsGroup

ToolsGroup SO99 and Lumpy Demand

Of the vendors I have analyzed, probably the one (that does not specialize in service parts) with the greatest focus on demand intermittency is ToolsGroup. This is consistent with ToolsGroup ‘s orientation towards detailed planning, as is demonstrated in the screenshot below:

ToolsGroup Lumpy Demand

Notice that with ToolsGroup, the lumpiness shows in the demand history. However, the future lines in purple and blue are very long. This is called the prediction interval, which is the range over which a forecast is likely to fall. On a lumpy product like this one, notice how broad the range is when compared to the more predictable demand pattern below:

ToolsGroup Normal Variability

The more predictable item has a smaller range of values. It is inherently more forecastable. ToolsGroup’s interface allows to me to demonstrate a basic concept about forecasting, which is what a good user interface should be able to do.

ToolsGroup’s SO99 is a forecasting application for companies that are very serious about forecasting.  It takes a different approach in some of the areas, and a good fit for ToolsGroup implementations will be companies that buy into the ToolsGroup vision. Some of the functionality in ToolsGroup SO99 for forecasting do not exist in any other supply chain forecasting application.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

Vendor and Application Risk

ToolsGroup SO99 faces the similar issues of the more heavyweight forecasting applications, which is one of being overwhelmed with the available functionality. Overall the SO99 application is well designed, and it has some productivity-enhancing features ranging from how it performs lifecycle planning to substitution and supersession. The SO99 user interface is of good quality easing user adoption. Users must become acclimated to the concept of probabilistic forecasts.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the Demand Planning software category. Or go to this link other analytical products for ToolsGroup SO99.

References

Brightwork Forecast Explorer for Error Calculation

Improving Your Forecast Error Management

Did you know that most companies don’t know what their forecast error is? If a company knows an error percentage but not the interval or the aggregation level measured, that means they don’t know. Most forecasting applications make getting a weighted forecast error extremely difficult. That is why we developed a SaaS application that allows anyone to find out their forecast error with a simple file upload.

The Brightwork Forecast Explorer is free to use in the beginning. See by clicking the image below:

Software Selection Book

SELECTION

Enterprise Software Selection: How to Pinpoint the Perfect Software Solution Using Multiple Sources of Information

What the Book Covers

Essential reading for success in your next software selection and implementation.

Software selection is the most important task in a software implementation project, as it is your best (if not only) opportunity to make sure that the right software—the software that matches the business requirements—is being implemented. Choosing the software that is the best fit clears the way for a successful implementation, yet software selection is often fraught with issues and many companies do not end up with the best software for their needs. However, the process can be greatly simplified by addressing the information sources that influence software selection. This book can be used for any enterprise software selection, including ERP software selection.

This book is a how-to guide for improving the software selection process and is formulated around the idea that—much like purchasing decisions for consumer products—the end user and those with the domain expertise must be included. In addition to providing hints for refining the software selection process, this book delves into the often-overlooked topic of how consulting and IT analyst firms influence the purchasing decision, and gives the reader an insider’s understanding of the enterprise software market.

This book is connected to several other SCM Focus Press books including Enterprise Software TCO and The Real Story Behind ERP.

By reading this book you will:

  • Learn how to apply a scientific approach to the software selection process.
  • Interpret vendor-supplied information to your best advantage. This is generally left out of books on software selection. However, consulting companies and IT analysts like Gartner have very specific biases. Gartner is paid directly by software vendors — a fact they make every attempt not to disclose while consulting companies only recommend software for vendors that give them the consulting business. Consulting companies all have an enormous financial bias that prevents them from offering honest advice — and this is part of their business model.
  • Understand what motivates a software vendor.
  • Learn how the institutional structure and biases of consulting firms affect the advice they give you, and understand how to properly interpret information from consulting companies.
  • Make vendor demos work to your benefit.
  • Know the right questions to ask on topics such as integration with existing software, cloud versus on-premise vendors, and client references.
  • Differentiate what is important to know about software for improved “implement-ability” versus what the vendor thinks is important for improved “sell-ability.”
  • Better manage your software selection projects to ensure smoother implementations.

Buy Now

Chapters

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Software Selection
  • Chapter 2: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
  • Chapter 3: Software Sell-ability versus Implement-ability
  • Chapter 4: How to Use Consulting Advice on Software Selection
  • Chapter 5: How to Use the Reports of Analyst Firms Like Gartner
  • Chapter 6: How to Use Information Provided by Vendors
  • Chapter 7: How to Manage the Software Selection Process

Enterprise Software TCO Calculator – ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)

How it Works

Fill out the form below for a your TCO estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.

Details

  • Vendor Name: ToolsGroup (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: Supply Planning
  • Company Headquarters: 75 Federal St, Suite 920, Boston, MA
  • Site: http://www.toolsgroup.com
  • Contact number:  617.263.0080
  • Delivery Mechanism: On Premises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, goto this link to see other analytical products for ToolsGroup.

Enterprise Software TCO Calculator – ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)

How it Works

Fill out the form below for your TCO estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.

Details

  • Vendor Name: ToolsGroup (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: Demand Planning
  • Company Headquarters: 75 Federal St, Suite 920, Boston, MA
  • Site: http://www.toolsgroup.com
  • Contact number:  617.263.0080
  • Delivery Mechanism: On Premises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, go to this link to see other analytical products for ToolsGroup.

References

Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Project Planning Package – ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)

How it Works

Fill out the form below for your project planning estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.

Details

  • Vendor Name: ToolsGroup (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: Supply Planning
  • Company Headquarters: 75 Federal St, Suite 920, Boston, MA
  • Site: http://www.toolsgroup.com
  • Contact number:  617.263.0080
  • Delivery Mechanism: On Premises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, go to this link to see other analytical products for ToolsGroup.

References

Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Project Planning Package – ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)

How it Works

Fill out the form below for a your project planning estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.

Details

  • Vendor Name: ToolsGroup (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: Demand Planning
  • Company Headquarters: 75 Federal St, Suite 920, Boston, MA
  • Site: http://www.toolsgroup.com
  • Contact number:  617.263.0080
  • Delivery Mechanism: On Premises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, goto this link to see other analytical products for ToolsGroup.

Honest Vendor Ratings – ToolsGroup

Introduction

ToolsGroup is based in Amsterdam and is one of the most international companies we have ever seen for a company of its size. ToolsGroup gets more of its revenues from Europe than the US.

Quality of Information Provided

ToolsGroup provides a generally good level of information to its customers. Recently ToolsGroup has been promoting demand sensing, which we completely disagree with being a valid way to improve forecast accuracy. However, this seems to be more of an aberration. When it comes to their core information around inventory optimization and demand planning the information provided is quite good.

Consulting and Support

ToolsGroup’s S099 application along with its highly skilled and educated workforce make ToolsGroup a good selection for supply chain planning connoisseurs. If a company is instead not interested in getting into the nuances of supply chain planning, then ToolsGroup would not be a good selection. ToolsGroup, along with SAS are our top-rated vendors in terms of supply and demand planning consulting knowledge, as they simply have a great deal of experience in their consulting operations and are very serious about the topics.

Internal Efficiency

ToolsGroup is on the smaller side and is quite internally efficient and productive.

Innovation

ToolsGroup has a high Current Innovation Level.

Vendor Scores

Part of the Following Software Categories

Select the following link(s) if you have subscribed to the following analytical product(s).

Software Selection Package for Demand Planning

Software Selection Package for Supply Planning