John Deere Green

Ability and ValuePart to work with Deere, Caterpillar and others

February 26, 2001 -- Ability, a provider of supply chain optimization software solutions to the distribution industry, has signed its second client in as many months, this time for its Inventory Optimization software. By adding Chicago-based ValuePart Inc. (VPI) to the client list, Ability continues its successful foray into the North American distribution market. VPI distributes replacement parts for all major manufacturers of construction and maintenance equipment, including John Deere, Caterpillar, Komatsu and Case.

ValuePart selected Ability because its Inventory Optimization software will help us plan better for demand and reduce inventory holdings while improving service levels, said Darlene Steffen, manager, administration at VPI. We expect to reduce the amount of safety stock we hold through increased forecasting accuracy, better management of slow-moving inventory and improved demand planning.

VPI needed an accurate, consistent method for forecasting demand, said Jim Byrnes, president of Ability North America. By improving their planning capability, they will be able to provide more accurate information to manufacturers about demand, thus improving lead time and reducing inventory levels. The company will also have the ability to test sales and purchasing strategies by running what-if' scenarios using the system, giving key staff all the information they need to make strategic business decisions.

In addition, VPI will now be able to account for quoted items in the company's forecasting process. VPI regularly has a large number of quotes in its system, provided to customers by the sales team. Currently, VPI is unable to account for quotes in its forecast, putting them at risk for back orders and lower service levels. Ability - Inventory Optimization will be customized to account for quoted sales in the demand planning process, allowing VPI to provide even higher availability and delivery rates to customers.

Ability - Inventory Optimization is a powerful tool for distributors interested in driving revenue and accelerating profitability by streamlining supply chain processes, improving operational efficiencies and enhancing relationships with customers and suppliers, Byrnes said. Our focus on the needs of distributors, combined with our experience in developing supply chain management software, results in an outstanding Ability solution that can be quickly implemented on a Microsoft platform with excellent connectivity to legacy systems such as ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] and CRM [Customer Relationship Management] applications. We look forward to working with a leading-edge company like VPI.