The “Voodoo That We Do” – We Visit Digilent Planning

If you have ever had to ship delicate demos to a conference, supply extra devices last-minute for a popular workshop, or simply find a part the size of a quarter in a warehouse (our Pmods for example), then you know what I mean when I say that an effective Operations Department is key to retaining your sanity, and keeping your hair from turning prematurely gray.

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Pmods are small I/O interface boards that you can you use to add functionality to projects!

At Digilent, Operations consists of several teams: Planning, Purchasing, Receiving, Inventory Control, and Shipping.

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Digilent is made up of several business divisions, Marketing, Engineering, Accounting, Sales and Operations. “We all work in concert to make Digilent a success”, says Jason Denning, our Operations Manager.

Each team obviously provides a different function, but all of them have a key role in making your trip to our Digilent store a pleasant one.You may be surprised at how much each can impact the way you experience receiving your new green box in the mail.

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Our signature green boxes waiting to be filled with new toys!

Let’s break it down.  For this first post in the series, I will focus on Planning.  I like to use food analogies.  How about a pepperoni pizza?

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Sorry, I got hungry!

Planning, is “Forecasting.”  A calculated way of gazing into a crystal ball and predicting what our customers will want, and when they will want it.  This requires walking a fine line.

If we order too little, we run out of stock and your order is delayed.  We have too many, and it impacts being able to stock other items.  Let’s use the pizza analogy:

We have a finite amount of space in the fridge (warehouse); if we stock it full of cheese, sauce and dough (some of our products), but don’t leave room for the pepperoni (other products), we can’t fill your order.  It’s a careful balance, and more complicated, but you get the idea.

Jason describes forecasting as, “a tool that uses statistical modeling to predict when, you the customer has need of a product.”

Planning then uses the forecast to plan builds and the delivery dates of raw goods from our vendors to arrive at Digilent on the ideal timeline.  Yeah, like I said, it’s an art and a science rolled into one.  Our Planning gang stays on top of it to keep things moving smoothly.  Not too little, not too much, but “just right”.

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So, the next time you place your an order for a JTAG, any of our FPGA development boards, or a Physical Computing Kits that requires multiple devices, or for that matter, any other item – Planning makes certain that we can get your order out the door as quickly as possible!

I hope you enjoyed this look inside the inner workings of Digilent and stay tuned for more posts on our Operations crew.  (I hope to catch them putting these stickers on and find out what they mean!)

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I know these colored sticker dots mean something in Ops.

 

 

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