At Solventure we offer internships in Sales and Operations Planning to tackle innovating concepts together with students. This summer, I had the pleasure of working together with Asyagul Gulcan, a student of the Master of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Ghent University, on the topics of Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning (DDMRP). I gladly let her tell her story.
Asyagul Gulcan: “I started my studies at Ghent University in September 2018 after finishing my bachelors in Turkey. Studying in Belgium for two years was a long journey and adventure for me and I am happy to say that being an intern at Solventure has now became a memorable time in this journey. It was an experience full of learning, responsibility and fun.
I decided to focus on finding an internship in Supply Chain because as an engineer, I love to think analytically, solve problems and work in a dynamic environment. My internship focuses on building a ‘Proof of Concept of the DDMRP Methodology’. The aim of the project is to build a basic working model of the replenishment methodology for this rather new concept, firstly described by Ptak and Smith, the founders of the Demand Driven Institute. In traditional ERP and MRP systems the forecast is used for the procurement of the materials that are needed for manufacturing. After that manufacturing orders are pushed through the manufacturing and distribution systems.
However, today's Supply Chain needs to deal with supply volatility and variability. In addition, the customer tolerance times are shorter than cumulative lead times. DDMRP is an innovative planning methodology which dramatically increases the effectiveness of planning and has benefits of improving customer service, compressing lead times, right sizing inventories and decreasing total supply chain costs. Above that, the methodology is easy to understand and innovative. DDMRP has 5 components as it is seen in this figure.
The first component is ‘Strategic Inventory Positioning’ which determines where the decoupling points are placed. Secondly, ‘Buffer Profiles and Levels’ which determine the amount of protection at decoupling points. The third component is ‘Dynamic Adjustments’ and defines how the level of protection flexes up or down based on operating parameters, market changes and planned or known future events. The next component is ‘Demand Driven Planning’. It is the process by which supply orders are generated. And lastly, the ‘Visible and Collaborative Execution’ process by which a DDMRP system manages open supply orders. In this step an intuitive colour coding (Red, Yellow and Green) and a prioritization system based on the relative inventory position are used.
During my internship I worked with Kilian Vincke and prof. dr. Niels De Smet. With their support, I created a basic working model of the DDMRP methodology by using SQL with one hypothetical product and its bill of material. Power BI is used for the visualization phase of the model. The current model calculates decoupling lead times and Net Flow Positions and buffer zones daily. It creates supply orders when necessary based on the net flow position and calculates ending on hands daily. In addition, for the planner, it gives supply order alerts by using the colour coding.
We used Power BI dashboards as the output of the software. This way we see daily buffer zones, net flow positions and ending on hands visually. In addition, the percentage of delivered orders and the percentage of delivered items on time or delayed can be seen. So, the current model is mostly focused on component 2 (Buffer Profiles and Levels) and 4 (Demand Driven Planning) in the 5 components of DDMRP.
During my internship, I both improved my software and theoretical knowledge and I got to work in a great environment. I had the opportunity to work on a real-life project and since the first day of my internship, I felt that I learned new things each day. I strongly recommend it to other students.
Next to this, since the first day of my internship I always felt that I was part of the team. Everyone here in the company was always eager to help and answer my questions and I had continuous feedback from my supervisors. I want to say thank you to my supervisors and to the whole team for their support and help and for this great experience that they provided me for this six-week internship journey at Solventure!”