The supply chain planning services of US-based firm ToolsGroup, provided as an outsourced business process, enable local companies to tap into international best practices at an affordable rate, says ToolsGroup Africa director Simon Oosthuizen.
Companies can use the supply chain planning tools and global experts of the firm, who are mainly industrial engineers, supply chain planners, mathematicians and statisticians, to improve their planning and execution.
“Many organisations have grown beyond their current supply chain planning capability, and the subscription service enables them to develop their skills and systems through a long-term engagement with ToolsGroup that helps establish and embed best practices in their supply chain planning,” he says.
The company helps clients to identify important data and improve its quality to support planning and business operations through the implementation of sound data management processes. Often, the biggest constraint to effective planning in an organisation is the quality of data relied on to make high-value decisions.
“We do not focus on any specific industry and have clients in the agricultural, pharmaceuticals, retail, manufacturing, fast-moving consumer goods and automotive industries,” he explains.
The ideas, practices and effective supply chain designs from a range of industries enable clients to adopt new practices from across industries and optimise supply chains in line with their business strategy.
The outsourced service model also enables ToolsGroup to deploy its own intellectual property, in the form of planning systems and practices based on proven and effective supply chain principles, to improve clients’ planning processes and results.
As part of the iterative approach, parts of the supply chain are identified as starting points to create value rapidly and the knowledge gained by the company and the client is leveraged to expand the scope of the planning systems to the rest of the business, details Oosthuizen.
“As we work using a rental business process outsourcing model, we have to continuously demonstrate the value we add to clients’ processes,” quips Oosthuizen.
“The subscription service enables companies to access, use and develop supply chain planning skills as a partnership project, which serves as a collaboration platform to continuously improve planning as the business grows.”
There are few locally available tools and sustained demand for the company’s in-house supply chain optimisation tool and services, he adds.
The service is provided through local systems or as a Web-based tool. Both adhere to local and international data governance and security regulations, he states.
“We generally serve medium-sized and larger organisations, owing to the complexities of their supply chains and the need for expert supply chain planning. ToolsGroup recognises opportunities in Africa and will expand beyond its current markets of Malawi and South Africa as resources and opportunities allow,” concludes Oosthuizen.