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 business rules could be incorporated only after 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 also 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 Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC) and American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). 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 helped the client easily verify that critical data passed completely between applications.
The Infosys solution delivered several powerful benefits including:
- On-time delivery of the VMI solution – the solution went live in conjunction with the SAP implementation.
- Considerable improvement of inventory management at the store level. The forecasting ability ensured that retailers did not face problems relating to product returns and low stocks.
- Decreased overall cycle forecasting / fulfillment cycles, which ensured that the right product is available on the retailers' shelves at the right time.
- Judicious usage of the Global Delivery Model, which helped the client stay profitable by cutting development and operational expenditure.
- Enhanced business intelligence with special exception-based reports, which highlighted areas of concern before they became major difficulties.
- Enabled 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.