Lennox enlists BI to anticipate COVID-19 supply chain disruptions

With the pandemic significantly upending global supply chains, the HVAC manufacturer quickly rolled out a BI dashboard to predict, respond to and get ahead of potential problems.

Lennox enlists BI to anticipate COVID-19 supply chain disruptions
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The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted supply chains across the globe. This is especially true in the manufacturing industry, where supply chain managers must track and analyze the pandemic’s impact in every region that effects their business: Is it safe to bring staff into factories? Are suppliers still shipping — or even still in business? Are customers still buying? Can distributors still serve them?

Richardson, Texas-based Lennox International is one such organization that depends on a complex global supply chain. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment supplier has manufacturing facilities in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi and South Carolina, and its network includes regional and local distribution centers and stores. But it also sells products through dealers and contractors, meaning there are plenty of ways the pandemic can upend Lennox’s ability to deliver its products to its customers.

As the coronavirus swept the country, Lennox figured there had to be a better way than having staff scour news sites to find out how the disease was spreading in the communities around the company’s factories and distribution centers, or how suppliers and key customers were faring.

“Like everyone, we had our fair share of challenges that was impacting our key KPIs,” says Satish Seshayya, IT business applications leader at Lennox. So, in early April, as COVID-19 cases hit their first peak in the U.S., Lennox IT decided to map out the company’s supply chain network and look for potential disruptions that could affect order fulfillment or customer service, presenting them to management on a dashboard.

Lennox already relies on an array of reporting tools. It runs its business on SAP – it’s a reference customer for SAP’s global demand planning tool – and uses other applications to manage supply chain operations too. But the team quickly realized none of Lennox’s software suppliers could come up with a solution that would highlight and predict the kinds of supply chain disruptions they were concerned about without a major project undertaking or access to internal data for other companies.

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