Improving operations through a vendor-managed inventory
One of the world's largest studios produces and distributes motion pictures, television programming, and home videos. Its home video department is a global leader in the distribution of filmed entertainment on video cassettes and DVDs, distributing theatrical and non-theatrical releases from various sources both in the U.S. and abroad.
Like many entertainment companies, sales of home video (DVD and VHS) products have contributed significantly to the studio's bottom line. Most of these sales come from large retailers where the studio manages the retailer's inventory at their stores (vendor-managed inventory or VMI). The existing VMI solution, which was managed on an AS/400 server, was no longer capable of managing burgeoning business demands and even simple changes in the business rules could be incorporated only with much rework. The company wanted Infosys to deliver a new VMI solution, which would cater to existing and future needs.
- The VMI solution implementation could not impact an ongoing SAP implementation
- Diverse technologies were involved and Infosys had to ensure tight coupling between legacy and open systems
- Data integrity had to be managed across multiple platforms, and diverse applications encoded in different formats had to be integrated
- The costs concerning IT development had to be dramatically lowered to ensure that the client's profitability was improved
- Change management was critical, and Infosys had to rapidly deliver, in real time, the various client imperatives from development centers across the globe
Infosys Global Delivery Model enabled the client to reduce development and maintenance costs, and delivered a robust, scalable architecture. In the initial phase, the Infosys team studied the client's requirements and drew up a list of necessary features that the VMI system should possess. A formal vendor evaluation process was performed, and Infosys designed a phased implementation approach, which reduced the risk to the client, while also providing the best possible benefits.
Because legacy and open systems were involved, the Infosys team also had to handle issues relating to decoding with EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code) and ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). While EBCDIC is used exclusively on IBM mainframes, almost all other systems use ASCII. To ensure that these disparate systems could effectively communicate with each other, Infosys created interfaces to handle the decoding from EBCDIC to ASCII.
To ensure improved operations, Infosys also developed a balancing and control report module, which helps the client easily verify that critical data passes completely between applications.
The Infosys solution delivered several powerful benefits including:
- On-time delivery of VMI solution: solution went live in conjunction with the SAP implementation
- Inventory management at the store level was considerably improved, and the forecasting ability ensured that retailers did not face problems relating to product returns and low stocks
- Overall cycle forecasting / fulfillment cycles have decreased, ensuring the right product is available on the retailers' shelves at the right time
- The judicious usage of applying the Global Delivery Model helped the client stay profitable by cutting development and operational expenditure
- Business intelligence was also enhanced with special exception-based reports, which highlighted areas of concern before they became major difficulties
- The new solution also enables the client to speedily add new customers to the program
- The client was impressed with the solution. A clear understanding of business processes by Infosys led to continuous incremental changes