A Customer Story: Using LeanDNA to Shave Millions in Inventory Costs

In this special edition white paper, Zodiac Aerospace reveals how they used LeanDNA to get rid of slow, manual spreadsheet processes and save millions of dollars through better-informed decisions and automated prescriptive analytics.

“With this intelligence at our fingertips, we can figure out the root causes of problems, try to avoid them, and do an overall better job of bringing in material to support customer orders.” ~Gil Lenhard, VP of Procurement, Zodiac Aerospace

As a world leader in aerospace equipment and systems for commercial, regional, and business aircraft, as well as helicopters and space applications, Zodiac Aerospace has a long history of developing and manufacturing state-of-the-art solutions that improve comfort and facilities on board aircraft and high-technology systems that increase aircraft performance and flight safety.

Focused on delivering water and waste systems for commercial aircraft—including those made by Boeing and Airbus—Zodiac Aerospace’s Los Angeles operation ships products to a worldwide customer base. Up until this year, the procurement team relied on ad hoc Excel reports comprising columns, numbers, and dates that buyers used to make their inventory optimization decisions.

Prioritizing Inventory

According to Gil Lenhard, VP of procurement, all of Zodiac Aerospace’s prioritization of inventory was done on a manual basis. “Trying to figure out what we should do first was a constant challenge,” says Lenhard, who learned about LeanDNA’s cloud-based prescriptive analytics platform from his IT department. “Some other business units here were already using LeanDNA. I watched a demo and could see pretty quickly how useful and powerful the platform was.”

In place for several months, the prescriptive analytics platform provides a new level of visibility over Zodiac Aerospace’s procurement operations. Lenhard says he especially likes the solution’s built-in algorithms, which allow his team to prioritize their inventory optimization activities in the most cost-effective manner possible. “We always know what we should focus on,” he says, “and which decisions will have the biggest impact on overall inventory dollars.”

Because it includes purpose-built supply chain dashboards and analytics for Zodiac Aerospace’s inventory, LeanDNA also gives Lenhard snapshots of inventory progression over time—something he wouldn’t be able to access using a standard report. “We can see how we’re trending, which is really important,” he explains, “and whether we’re going in the right or wrong direction.”

Leading Them Down the Right Path

LeanDNA also shows Zodiac Aerospace’s procurement team which orders need to be placed and provides it with a snapshot into why certain orders need addressing and/or why they’re past due. “With this intelligence at our fingertips,” Lenhard says, “we can figure out the root causes of problems, try to avoid them, and do an overall better job of bringing in material to support customer orders.”

Using LeanDNA’s prescriptive analytics and purpose-built dashboards, for example, Lenhard can click on different reports to view the largest impact-drivers for a specific performance metric. This not only tells him where his team should be focusing its efforts, but it also allows him to “cut the data in many different ways,” and leverage reports that are easily customized with drag-and-drop capabilities. “It’s pretty intuitive,” says Lenhard, whose team members use the data to determine which POs need to be placed first, which ones are furthest behind and in need of attention, and which ones need to be rescheduled.

“If something has changed and we no longer need a product,” says Lenhard, “we can take action quickly and not wind up sitting on a mountain of inventory.” Knowing that those “mountains of inventory” can quickly add up to major investments and headaches, Lenhard says he’s thrilled that his team now has a modern inventory optimization tool in its technology stable.

“In the purchasing world, the way to avoid problems is to make sure you place orders on time,” says Lenhard. “And with inventory, the key is to be able to quickly determine which levers to pull that will have the greatest impact.”

Within three months, the company has used LeanDNA to help drive significant reductions in inventory totaling several million dollars. Lenhard acknowledges a good portion of his of his team’s immediate and long-term success for inventory reduction is tied directly to LeanDNA, and his team continues to use the tool every day to find prioritized inventory reduction opportunities. “Analytics help us be more proactive than reactive, respond faster, and avoid problems down the road.”

Read the full white paper 

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