With the economic climate getting more challenged each and every day, supply chain management professionals are often tasked to uncover every potential opportunity to either save costs or insure key customers are being excellently retained and served.  At the same time, best-of-breed vendors offering supply chain technology or services must become more creative to insure a continuous pipeline of customer interest, as well as a revenue stream to keep the lights burning.  When these two forces meet, opportunity can often present itself.

Technology vendors tend to get very creative in challenged times, and opportunities for a win-win relationship should not be overlooked. In a August post, I urged Supply Chain Matters followers to take a new look at multi-echelon inventory optimization technology as a means to not only uncover inventory saving opportunities, but also strengthen your capabilities for analyzing supply chain strategy options for mitigating certain risks. 

I recently chatted with Jeffrey Bodenstab, the Vice President of Marketing for inventory optimization software provider ToolsGroup.  Jeff highlighted a new service offering which has been termed “Rapid Inventory Rightsizing”.  Recognizing that working capital optimization is critical in an era of tight credit, ToolsGroup has targeted companies that need to quickly reduce inventory costs while maintaining high customer service metrics. A packaged services program has been developed where for an attractive fixed fee, an experienced consultant can provide a snapshot analysis of total inventory utilizing the ToolsGroup technology hosted by the vendor itself,.  Prospects can further elect subsequent reviews and/or analysis of inventory saving opportunities or elect to actually acquire the software, after value has been justified through analysis.  You can view the highlights of this offering at the following link. The attractive part of this service offering is that it provides your company an experienced consultant and further allows a “try before you buy” opportunity. The service cost can most likely be imbedded in an operating budget line-item vs. a capital expense.

Other technology vendors may also be more than willing to provide you a similar set of creative services.  At one time, Optiant Inc. as well as ILOG (formerly LogicTools) and others were offering similar types of service offerings, specifically targeting companies with noted working capital challenges. So don’t be shy about approaching a best-of-breed software technology vendor with your needs.  In these economic times, creativity is the byword.

If any of our readers have had the opportunity to take advantage of any of these service opportunities, please provide your comments below as to your experiences.

 Bob Ferrari