With planning processes that are unlike those in industrial manufacturing and consumer products, the medical device industry faces unique supply chain challenges. For joint replacements, as an example, exact part requirements cannot be predicted prior to a procedure, so surgeons select components from a kit of specialized parts. Demand for these kits varies based on the number of procedures and by insurance-related business cycles.
These considerations drove Wright Medical Group, a leading maker of orthopedic healthcare products based in Memphis, Tennessee, to seek a flexible planning system that could adapt to its industry requirements and evolve in response to rapidly changing business conditions. Wright’s legacy demand planning system did not support collaboration across regional business units, disciplines, and locations, impeding company-wide business planning and introducing process gaps. The company also struggled with unwieldy offline data aggregation processes using spreadsheets, which led to data integrity problems, poor forecasting visibility, and a general mistrust of company data.
Flexible system accommodates complexity
Team leaders in demand planning and IBP at Wright Medical evaluated offerings from the leading supply chain solution providers and selected Valizant solutions on the Anaplan platform.
“Our planning teams weighed system functionality along with ease of use and implementation,” says Justin Moderow, Manager of Integrated Business Planning and Technology at Wright Medical. “Many software providers warned of inability to configure their system to our unique business processes. But Valizant and Anaplan demonstrated that they could deliver a supportive, effective solution based on our business practices.”
The solution implementation was completed in 16 weeks. “During deployment, we saw that the promise of flexibility was no mere sales pitch,” Moderow continues. “The Valizant team was able to quickly pivot and make changes to the solution based on our special requirements.”
Faster processes, greater accuracy, more trust
Wright Medical, part of Stryker Corporation, now has a dependable and accurate demand forecasting system that supports its dynamic, fast-growing business as it enters new markets and responds to organizational restructuring, shifting priorities, and operational changes.
“Exception tracking, problem identification, and problem-solving have all improved, and so has the overall trust in our system,” Moderow says. Greater consistency has reduced the demand planning portion of the monthly IBP process down from 20 days to five, and forecast accuracy has improved dramatically, from 60% to over 85%—with forecasts for many products hitting the company’s accuracy target of 90%. Data integrity is no longer a problem, so planning teams can shift their time and expertise from data validation to more valuable activities.
“The Valizant solutions enable us to be more thorough and consistent by providing a trusted planning environment on the Anaplan platform,” Moderow says. “That brings greater accountability and accuracy to our demand planning processes. We no longer worry about whether we trust the data.”
Other benefits include:
- Wright’s global network is now fully unified, including regional offices that were previously outside of the overall business planning processes
- Demand planning can evolve to address rapidly changing business conditions
- Rogue forecasting practices performed in disconnected spreadsheets have been eliminated, leading to consistent and reliable demand plans
- The accessible, easy-to-use system reduces time for resolution of demand planning exceptions from days to hours
Wright Medical’s selection process began with Gartner research and focused on functionality, scalability, and implementation timelines. The knowledge base of the Valizant team and the ability to adapt their solutions on the Anaplan platform to meet Wright Medical’s unique requirements were key influences in the decision to choose Valizant and Anaplan.
“Valizant and Anaplan offered a forecasting solution that could adapt to the way we do business,” Moderow noted. “Ultimately the question was, do we want to design our processes around the software we buy, or do we want the capability to configure the software to support our business?” They wanted the latter, and got it with Anaplan and Valizant.
“Anaplan provides greater visibility and enables more-robust demand modeling, and as a result we are more accurate in our demand forecasting,” Moderow summarizes. “Planning teams are better able to serve clients because they don’t need to navigate a broken planning system.” He and other company leaders believe the Anaplan platform can deliver additional competitive advantages. “We foresee opportunities in capacity planning, quota planning, capital investment planning, and a variety of other areas,” Moderow says. “Anaplan is a solution that can grow with our business.”