When it comes to IBM Maximo, the first impression everyone gets is a Work and Asset Management (WAM) solution. This is true because of the rich WAM features, Industry specific solutions and Add-on solutions offered by IBM Maximo. Primarily because of this reason, IBM Maximo has been featuring in the Gartner’ Leaders Quadrant for so many years. As much as Maximo has been famous for its WAM capabilities, it was also known for its limited Supply Chain capabilities especially till version 6 and 7.1.
Having both Supply Chain and Work & Asset Management on one package is beneficial for customers. It means real time visibility of supply and demand of materials, lean team for support, no complex integrations for high volume transactions (Issues, Returns) with ERP System, faster implementations, less training and less licensing cost. However due to Maximo’s limited Supply Chain capabilities it was often integrated with an ERP system for even basic supply chain features like Inventory Management, Replenishment, Purchasing, Contracting & Invoicing.
IBM heard feedback from multiple customers and finally introduced some major industry aligned Supply Chain features in version 7.5. However most of the Maximo practitioners are not versed with the Supply Chain capabilities of Maximo specially to utilize available features effectively and to address gaps by configurations. This requires a good understanding of Supply Chain business processes, Maximo Supply Chain features and the gaps in Maximo. While addressing the gaps in Maximo, it is equally important to know where to extend the product to bridge the gap and where to stop & opt for alternate solution from other off the shelf products.
We have implemented a full-scale Supply Chain solution for a large Utility client. When we started this project, client was using a combination of non-Maximo products for WAM and Supply Chain. Some of the business challenges, before Maximo Supply Chain implementation, were:
- Disparate business processes for different companies with a history of merger & acquisitions
- Obsolete technology platforms with risk of non-compliance and business continuity
- Lack of flexibility and agility to redefine business processes as per evolving business needs
- Multiple sources of reporting with lack of consolidated view for corporate reporting
- Low adoption of warehouse mobility
- No online vendor collaboration for sourcing, contracting, PO & Invoice
- Limited process automation and auditing
- Duplicate & unstructured master data
Now, we have successfully implemented the Supply Chain solution on IBM Maximo v7.6. The system is already successfully running in production for over 3.5 years. Maximo is used for purchasing everything from janitorial to heavy electrical equipment, catering services to complex installation services, software contracts to lease services and so on.
Though most of the Supply Chain features are available in Maximo, however, not every business required functionality was directly available out of the box. We did some additional configurations to achieve desired functionalities. Some functionalities like Cycle Counting were very primitive, and we have to build them from scratch. The implementation cycle was a long journey of strategizing, planning, brainstorming discussions, design sessions and detailed execution. The overall solution is a combination of IBM Maximo [70%], Ariba [20%] and Oracle AP [10%]. Bulk of the functionality is implemented in Maximo – 70%.
Below is the list of key Supply Chain processes which we have implemented particularly on Maximo unless specifically indicated:
Material Management: [Maximo]
Item Master Governance, Inventory (Regular Items, Capital Spares, Emergency Spares, Long Lead items), Receiving, Warehouse Put-Away, Cycle Counting [Manual and Automated Count List Generation, Variance Approval Workflow], Warehouse Picking, Issues, Transfers, Returns, Warranty Management, Label Printing [Automated on transaction completion vs On-Demand Label Printing], Material Prepacking and Loading [co-ordination between Operations and Materials team]
Material Planning: [Maximo]
Inventory Replenishment [Manual & Automated], Demand Fulfilment Planning [Locally vs Central Warehouse], Managing Reservations [Automatic vs Hard/Soft], Demand Forecasting [Excel based manual tool], Repointing Reservations [Switching Reservations as needed]
Warehouse Mobility: [Maximo Everyplace]
14 unique Mobile Processes [like Receiving, Scheduled Picks, Scheduled Counts, Ad-Hoc Issues, Ad-Hoc Counts, Quick Order, Returns, Self-Service]
Material from Inventory, Material Purchase, Long Lead, Service Purchase, Office Supplies, Catalog Purchase with Ariba Punch-out, Sole Source, Managing Contingency dollars in Requisition, Managing Requisition Approvals, Self-Approval Rules
Sourcing & Contracting: [Ariba]
Hosting Sourcing Event, Inviting Suppliers, Bid Submission from Suppliers, Bid Evaluation, Award Bid, Sourcing Data to Contracting, Collaborated Contract Authoring with Vendors with Redlining, Contract Revisions, Approvals and Publishing Approved Contracts to Maximo for Procurement
Vendor Master Governance, Material Purchase, Service Purchase, Contract Purchases, Non-Contract Purchases, Purchase Order Approval Process, PO Auto-Approval with Rules, Automated Sending of POs to Supplier based on Supplier preferred PO delivery Method [EDI, ARIBA or Email]
Tax setup, Tax Exceptions, Tax Exemptions, Process Sales Tax, Process Use Tax, Tax Accounting, Tax Payment to Vendors Vs Tax Accrual based on rules
Invoice Entry from multiple systems, Setup of Various Invoice Sub-Types with Processing Rules, Invoice Matching based on Business Rules, Invoice Review by Accounts Payable, Invoice Approval [Automated based on rules Vs Manual based on Approval Limits], Payment Terms and Early Payment Discounts
Payment Processing: [Oracle AP]
Payment Scheduling, Payment Processing [ACH, Wire, Checks Printing or Manual], Payment integration with banks, Payment Confirmation from banks & Reconciliation, Payment Reconciliation against Invoices in Maximo
General Ledger Components from Accounting system, Chart of Accounts (CoA) validation before transaction completion, multiple Legal Entities Accounting translations, posting daily Inventory transactions, posting daily Invoicing transactions, monthly posting of unapproved Invoice liabilities
Following picture depicts some of the project benefits envisaged:
As business got matured in usage of Maximo for Supply Chain, we have implemented multiple minor system enhancements to enhance user experience, enhance compliance coverages, address some fixes\gaps and work on identified improvement areas.
Through two separate transformation initiatives, we have also implemented WAM Gas and WAM Electric solutions on the same Maximo instance. This means the WAM and Supply Chain solutions exist on one common Maximo instance giving certain business benefits like:
- Real Time Inventory Visibility for Work Management Planners\Schedulers
- Smooth reservations management
- Lean and Agile Business Processes (Complex integrations for Item Master, Inventory, Demands, Actuals, PO, Receipts between two different systems is eliminated)
- Flexible and scalable product configurations to fill in functional gaps
- Lower license cost
- Lower training cost
- Better data for consolidated reporting view
With the focus of IBM on IoT and Analytics, there are many opportunities of doing more with Maximo. IoT enabled real time information with Watson Analytics can help improving asset life, improving ROI, reducing maintenance costs, optimizing logistics operations and so on. So having both Supply Chain and WAM on Maximo has both immediate and long-term strategic benefits.
If you are looking for leveraging Maximo for Supply Chain for your organization, and want to know more about it; feel free to reach me Ganesh_Murai@Infosys.com\Ganesh.Murai@gmail.com