MTD is a leading global manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, designing and building award-winning products for lawn and garden needs of both residential and commercial markets. The company has ten manufacturing facilities worldwide with two major divisions – handheld and wheeled products – that sell eight brands to big-box and independent retailers.
The Challenge and Benefit
Due to the nature of MTD’s products, the company operates in an extremely seasonal business environment. To support the significant influx of sales in spring and summer, nearly 70 percent of the company’s manufacturing occurs between the months of November and May. Adding to the seasonality, weather also plays a significant factor in MTD’s overall business cycle. Sales promotions and unseasonable or extreme weather conditions cause weekly forecast changes most often requiring MTD to adjust its level of supply to meet unanticipated customer demands.
Such volatility and concentrated seasonal activity can cause considerable supply chain challenges for both MTD and its suppliers. Accordingly, MTD must be armed with the ability to make informed decisions to rapidly respond to customer and engineering changes and to dynamically align demand and supply accordingly. Given the nature of the business, there is a window of opportunity in which MTD must act in order to fully capitalize on the market potential.
MTD uses Kinaxis® RapidResponse® to quickly ascertain the impact of changes on its supply chain and to more closely and continuously link demand and supply. RapidResponse integrates with the company’s MAPICS ERP system and pulls data from the company’s data warehouse. With comprehensive information on hand, RapidResponse allows MTD to perform “what-if” analysis scenarios to simulate changes in production schedules, driven by customer demands and material constraints, to determine if its supply chain is capable to support changes.
Additionally, RapidResponse helps MTD quickly and accurately report on inventory levels by planner and supplier, which is useful for preparing for inventory reductions in the off season. Likewise, the tool allows MTD to develop sophisticated shortage reports that enable the manufacturer to know what parts are not on hand for scheduled builds and on what day they will run out.