Chad Decker Part 4: Value Assessment in Manufacturing

In part 4 of our interview with Chad Decker, we talk about the importance of value assessment in planning/execution of factory-wide software rollouts.

Depending on the organization or level of expertise, not only can this be done at any point in your manufacturing journey, but also improve productivity with options/software you didn’t even know existed!

As always, Chad shares his expertise in assessing your manufacturing output and suggest improvements via Dassault’s various services.

Without further ado, let’s get to the interview!

Gene: I suppose you indirectly answered this question, but this leads us to this concept of “value engagement”. Like I said before, you probably answered this already, but just to put it as bluntly as possible, what exactly is value engagement and how/what does that mean in the context of Dassault?

Chad: So, value engagement is our philosophy on how we interact with customers, and we’ve got various phases. This process is really meant to be more of an end-to-end process that is, ultimately, about delivering better value to our customers.

Chad: Again, if you ask us “what’s your one goal that you would have”, I want happy customers. Happy customers make more happy customers, and again, that tells me that we’re doing the right thing.

Chad: Now, some customers will say “I think that took too long or cost too much possibly or I didn’t get exactly what I wanted out of it”. Okay maybe that’s an expectation thing. But again, we want people to get what they need and that may not always be what they’re asking for.

Chad: But, getting back to the topic, I mentioned of the various “phases” of value engagement. The first phase is typically our value assessment where we go in and try to understand where they are AND to really try to understand what are the needs, right? Somebody may say “I need system X”. Okay, but this is where we see where you are.

Chad: And yes, you need that. But you need to do this 1st or this in conjunction and THEN we can start to build a business justification as well. Because again, all these projects take time, they take resources – whether that’s people or hard dollars, or services, etc., – AND, whether we do services or not, there’s still a significant component of work that’s going to need to be done by the customer.

Chad: So, we need to really make sure that what we’re doing is not only the right thing, but it’s going to have a payoff for the customer because you’re competing with other (limited) resources.

Chad: I’ll never forget when I was justifying the project that this whole project that we ended up doing for my former customer, I had a controller say “you’re talking about X million dollars to do that project instead of putting in a punch press or a piece of equipment?”

Chad: It really makes you think about, “wow, I’m taking up some of the company’s resources again. It’s going to pay off (or I think it will). We’re going to do that instead of somebody else’s capital project, right?”

Chad: So you really need to make sure that you’re doing the right thing. That’s really the heart of value assessment.

Chad: Now, when it comes to “value definition” now we really start to take that assessment and dive into more detail. Now we’re going to get a detailed business case and say “this is exactly what we think”.

Chad: Obviously, this means we need to spend more time with the customer. we need to really go a couple of levels deeper because now we’re going to start talking about architecture, right? On the value assessment, we’re not really talking about solutions. Now – in value definitions – we’re starting to talk about solutions asking crucial questions like

        What is the architecture looking like?

        What’s the detailed business case?

        What is the value commitment?

        And so on.

Chad: Now, we’re actually going to say “this is what we’re going to do now”. Now we’re getting into things in detailed and say “this is exactly what you need, this is exactly how much you need. Here’s the resource team and here’s, a very finite plan.”

Chad: And then, you’ve got the value delivery, which is actually delivering that solution. Whether it’s in pieces or it’s many pieces at once, etc.

Chad: And then our final step, and this is again meant to be iterative, is value realization. Did we do what we said we were going to do? And if not, why not? Was it a change management opportunity? Did we Not have time to do as much as we wanted? Is it an adoption thing? Do we need additional training? Did we realize the value? Did we realize the goals that we wanted to, and if not, what can we do to do that? And then you come around to another project. Now you do value assessment again, definition, commitment, delivery.

Chad: It’s really meant to be an iterative process and ultimately, it’s there to deliver better value to our customers and ultimately better customer success.

Gene: So, maybe I’m looking at this too much from the perspective of an “ERP rollout” company. But, just to be clear, when you come into the process, like you said before, it’s already an existing customer. It’s not necessarily like cold sales so much as it is somebody is installing a software. And, around that point in the relationship, you start to do the these various research fields to see what else they could need, right?

Gene: Is that where you come into their journey?

Chad: We can really come in at any time. So again, you give a good example of, an existing company.

Chad: We may go into a company that’s very mature in their business cycle. We may talk to a company that’s been in business for 100 plus years and, manufacturing. Each organization brings its own set of challenges, right? Companies may be used to doing things a certain way and how do you maybe point out that there’s better ways to do it; or a different way?

Chad: We’ve worked with startups. Literally, we’ve done companies that say “hey, we got an idea and we built one prototype that didn’t crash. We’re talking about manufacturing in 2027. What do we do?” We’ve had companies that not even necessarily making things, they’re looking to you for guidance.

Chad: So, they’re probably using our design software, right? A lot of companies start out with that and then, okay say, “hey, eventually we’re going to be doing manufacturing, how would we do that?” And, in that case, maybe we’re going to recommend some best practices and things like that because, again, there’s nothing really that they’re doing.


Chad: And then you’ve got the middle ground where oftentimes they may not have any to sell products at all and they’re just saying, “hey, we’ve got these issues. We’re looking at an execution system because, we’ve got an old one that we’d like to retire or we have none,” right? And so, these opportunities might get brought to you brought to us by partners like yourselves, might come from our internal sales, they may meet someone like me at an airport or a trade show or things like that.

Chad: We enter all kinds of businesses at all points in the cycle.

Chad:  I know that sounds general, but it’s really the truth!

Chad: It’s not just, “oh somebody had to implement ERP before they can come talk to us.” Or, “oh, we’re better before ERP.” We’ve got companies that are on for example SAP is our largest install base. But we’ve got customers who are on AS 400 type platforms. We run into just about everything.

Chad: And that’s why, again, it’s really important to do that assessment phase because you need to understand where they are in their journey and what are the issues/opportunities that they’re having and how can we help with that.

Gene: SO, just to be as practical as possible, how long generally do these assessments take?

Chad: That’s a great question!

Chad: So, value assessment is pretty quick. And again, most times, value assessments are something that we’ll do (or, at least DELMIA our group does) at a no charge to the customer. What we’re really asking for is people’s time because we’re going to need the customer to give up some time because we need to educate ourselves on what they do and how they do it, what their opportunities are, etc.

Chad: So, again, we’ll go to a site, we’ll spend 2 to 3 hours on the shop floor. And I tell people “I can learn more and 2 to 3 hours on a shop tour than I can talking to people for a week on the phone!” It’s the most enjoyable piece of my job to go out and show me what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. And again, even Companies who are struggling or at the people in paper, they are most likely putting out tremendous product.

Chad: I mean, you can built very excellent products in history – without the benefit of systems and computer aided design, things like that – but the reality is it takes a lot of work to do that, right?

Chad: Back to, how can we really say, “okay, this is going to save you time, money, people, et cetera?”


Chad: And that’s really what we can do.

D4M is a privately owned company specializing in leveraging digital technologies to accelerate manufacturing clients to their transition to Industry 4.0. With long tenure and hundreds or successful projects, we are confident that our approach and experience provides the roadmap to help bring clarity and efficiency to your manufacturing operation.

To find out how we can help with your SAP environment, or to learn more about how we rolled out SAP to 60 locations in 60 months, reach out to us today. Contact form and office numbers listed below. 


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