PlanetTogether is an unlikely company to have developed what we consider the most innovative and best production and planning scheduling application for anything but cumbersome process industries. (see our article on why process industries require specialized software.) PlanetTogether is an innovation machine.
In just the past few years PlanetTogether has developed several important innovations that no other software vendor has – and these are innovations which go directly to some of the most vexing challenges that face production planning and scheduling projects. With PlanetTogether, we are always looking forward to what is coming next.
Quality of Information Provided
We rate the quality of the information provided PlanetTogether as better than average. One of the things that PlanetTogether could do a better job on is explaining “why PlanetTogether,” versus other applications. It is challenging because PlanetTogether has so much functionality and does not have the marketing budget of larger software vendors. Furthermore, the product is dealing in a complex space and is dealing with a large amount of marketing misinformation from software vendors and SAP and Oracle, which need to confuse their customers to sell them subpar solutions.
To understand what makes PlanetTogether’s application so unique, one would need to have sufficient exposure to several production planning and scheduling projects in different environments. For instance of the differentiators for PlanetTogether is how it performs optimization, which is fundamentally superior to just about every other optimizer in not only the production planning space but also within parts of the supply planning space as well. This is explained in the SCM Focus Press book Superplant: Creating a Nimble Manufacturing Enterprise with Adaptive Planning Software. PlantTogether already had leading simulation capabilities for years before they developed their CoPilot, which automates simulation, performing it in the background and bringing up new simulation versions to the user’s attention when they have been created.
However, how many buyers understand this in a way which will allow them to draw these distinctions? These details turn out to make a big difference in implementations and have lead to many buyers struggling with dated technologies that are posing as leading edge. When buyers are exposed to PlanetTogether’s sales process, many buyers seem to think that PlanetTogether is simply a more expensive Preactor, or a less expensive PP/DS. We estimate that even many buyers don’t realize entirely what they have until years after they have made their purchase. For this reason, we recommend spending more time with PlanetTogether than most software vendors, because it takes a while to appreciate their application fully.
Consulting and Support
The major consulting companies do not yet implement PlanetTogether, and this means excellent value for buyers. Many of PlanetTogether’s implementations do not have the consultant on the project 100% of the time, and therefore the consulting value is excellent. Most of the PlanetTogether consultants have been at the company for quite some time, and getting answers to questions is usually very fast. We would know, as we have run the application, and have frequently gone to them for questions. For most of PlanetTogether’s history, they tended to have smaller clients. However, that has begun to change in the past few years, with the company completing a 28 plant implementation.
PlanetTogether has little hierarchy and is positioned to enter the supply planning space and to do it in a way that has not been done before, and which has a more integrated relationship between supply and production planning. Currently, PlanetTogether is the only software vendor that we see attempting to address this question. The only concern we have with PlanetTogether is some large software vendor may attempt to purchase them, killing the steady stream of innovation that PlanetTogether has created and replacing it with bureaucracy, price increases, management intrigue and marketing hyperbole. PlanetTogether’s management has assured us that they intend to remain independent, and in fact, they provided us with this quotation.
We are focused on long-term growth rather than selling the company anytime soon, and that we’ve actually turned down several acquisition offers over recent years to back it up. We are debt free, have been in business 10 years and in the industry for 20 and are having way too much fun to change.
Currently, only four software vendors rate a perfect 10 in innovation, and PlanetTogether is one of the four.
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The Necessity of Fact Checking
We ask a question that anyone working in enterprise software should ask.
Should decisions be made based on sales information from 100% financially biased parties like consulting firms, IT analysts, and vendors to companies that do not specialize in fact-checking?
If the answer is “No,” then perhaps there should be a change to the present approach to IT decision making.
In a market where inaccurate information is commonplace, our conclusion from our research is that software project problems and failures correlate to a lack of fact checking of the claims made by vendors and consulting firms. If you are worried that you don’t have the real story from your current sources, we offer the solution.