In 2007 Prof.dr. Bram Desmetlaid the foundations of Solventure. He started his journey as CEO of the game-changing supply optimization company from the belief that there was a market for pragmatic supply chain advice. Bram formerly worked for a pure management consultancy organization but wanted to go beyond giving general advice. This by actually drawing out the supply chain processes and making sure that people could get to work quickly and efficiently.
Searching for a software partner
Bram and his first team of employees all had a lot of experience in management consulting. Supply chain thinking and their ability to link supply chain to organizational strategy was, therefore, their real strength. However, they soon realized that it’s difficult to set up a well-functioning S&OP process without any software tool to support this. Either as calculation model behind the scenes or as a platform for the customer. But let’s be clear here: S&OP is the greater good, software the enabler.
One-Plan S&OP software vendor Arkieva came out best from a market survey and turned out to be a good choice as a software partner. As of Day One there was a ‘cultural click’. We both see the S&OP process as leading and the software as supportive for the process, since S&OP is a management decision-making tool. The nuance of the industry, the organization and the complexity of it is much more decisive in how to set up a S&OP process than it often is for other processes. As a result, a good S&OP tool needs to be flexible and certainly not a plug & play solution. Unlike an ERP tool, which is transactional and thus needs more structure.
At Solventure, we have the business process management DNA, but we made the transition from pure consultancy to software-based services in order to really be a long-time partner for our customers. As a result, we expect our consultants to be all-round. That way, they can act as a single point of contact and can assist customers in the area of process, people, tools and analytics — the four strategic pillars of our services offering today.
Being able to interpret the financial metrics and understand the impact of the S&OP process on the organization’s strategy and vice versa, is key. Supply Chain activities have a cross-departmental impact and it’s essential for the Supply Chain Manager to demonstrate that to the executive team. Making the link between S&OP and the ROCE (Return On Capital Employed) is crucial to put Supply Chain on the management agenda and will give the Supply Chain Manager a good night’s rest!
Over the last ten years, we’ve built up a steady customer base. And yes, we are proud of it (that’s why we write it down in a blog!). All those years, we’ve remained faithful to the original set-up: not earning money without really adding value for the customer. And besides, we’ve succeeded in enlarging our scope so that we can be a one-stop-shop for our customers.
We really flourish when we’re fulfilling a sparring partner role. If a Supply Chain Director experiences a completely changed market environment, e.g. the Japan tsunami in 2011, and need to act promptly to avoid a crisis, the Solventure team should be the first to call. At that moment, we will not focus on a new button in the software, but will look how we can adapt the S&OP process to better deal with the new situation. We are in it to stand next to the Supply Chain Director and help them with their small and big challenges.