By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2005-03-07 Print this article Print

The beverage maker is being spun off from Procter & Gamble. In 12 months, it plans to run a $600 million business with a technology staff of—count 'em—six.

Dress Rehearsal

On Feb. 1, Sunny Delight ran the first simulation of its new technology infrastructure. Network cables hung like jungle vines from the ceiling tiles of a large conference room, connecting more than 30 laptops operated by representatives of each of the participating technology firms. Two large-screen projectors were placed at either end of the room, so participants could see the software in operation.

Technology director Mike Kennedy says a full simulation could not be conducted because some of the pieces were not yet in place, such as the integration of the TradeLync software with Axapta. However, the team was able to watch as a simulated customer order was accepted, passed into Axapta, handed off to production and forecasting, tracked by the inventory module, passed back into Axapta and handed off to Transplace for shipping.

"We still have a lot of work to do, but the goal was to allow everyone to see how transactions would flow across the system and to make sure we weren't missing anything," Kennedy says. "It was really exciting to see how it was all coming together."

The major challenge still to be completed is the long, plodding job of programming business processes into the software, Kennedy explains. Consider something as simple as accepting a customer order. The software has to determine what information to collect from each customer, how that customer is to be identified (by its old number or with a new one), what its credit limit should be, its ship-to address, etc. Sunny Delight delivers to 1,457 separate addresses in North America alone, although some large customers like Kroger may have multiple distribution centers.

A four-day vetting of the system was scheduled for late February, a little more than a month before North American operations are scheduled to go live. European operations are due to come on line two months later, on June 1. That will give Sunny Delight two months to work out bugs before P&G pulls the plug.

Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.


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