Process Improvement No Game for Hasbro

Toymaker looks to business process solution to cut costs, improve customer service

Austin, TX  June 21, 2002  When Hasbro implemented business process improvement software from Lombardi, the toymaker was looking to cut costs, but the solution wound up helping the company improve customer service as well.

Hasbro has used Lombardi's TeamWorks solution to improve a process between one of the company's international offices and its suppliers. The process, which involves responding to requests for commitment dates for Hasbro products, was clear-cut, but it involved significant resources within Hasbro, making it a good target for improvement.

In the past, when a customer inquired about any product, the inquiry was manually entered into Hasbro's operations system, printed and faxed to the product supplier, with a requested commitment date for the product. The supplier reviewed the faxed inquiry, adding any necessary notes to the document, then faxed the document back to Hasbro. A Hasbro employee then manually entered the commitment date into the operations system.

"This process involved a lot of manual effort," said Tom Watts, vice president of implementations at Hasbro. "Faxes, phone calls, emails, signature approvals, paper filing, tracking  these manual steps were incurring non-value added costs."

With TeamWorks, the solution automatically sends all inquiries to a Hasbro planner for review. If the inquiry is not reviewed in a specified period of time, it is sent automatically to the product supplier to avoid bottlenecks. Once the supplier receives the inquiry electronically, the supplier responds to Hasbro. If the supplier does not respond within a specified period of time, a notification is sent back to Hasbro and the inquiry is flagged as "overdue." Once the inquiry is sent back to Hasbro, a series of business rules then determines if this inquiry is an exception or whether it can be automatically updated in Hasbro's operations system.

For those inquiries that are exceptions, TeamWorks sends an electronic "process coach" to the appropriate Hasbro resources. This process coach gives Hasbro employees critical information and electronically walks them through each step necessary to resolve the exceptions quickly.

"TeamWorks has allowed us to streamline our process through a combination of enhanced partner collaboration and a high level of automation in the process," Watts said. "It has reduced overall costs for Hasbro and our suppliers, as well as improved our customer service through the elimination of unnecessary printing, faxing and phone calls. Our employees are now brought into the process only when an exception to our business rules is detected."

Added Doug Schwinn, chief information officer of Hasbro: "We are looking for creative ways to operate more efficiently across the entire company. TeamWorks gives us the ability to measure and improve our business processes through a set of Hasbro-defined metrics in order to identify process gaps and reduce bottlenecks."

Hasbro has identified several other process opportunities within the company, including customer delivery scheduling, supplier document management and shipping information flow.