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The Finished Goods Series
from E/Step Software Inc.
  About E/Step Software Inc.
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Company History

The principal members of the FGS team are some of the most highly qualified in the industry, having a total of over a century of experience with FGS, and even more experience in the industry.  All of this experience is hands-on.

E/Step Software Inc. is a software developer and provider of consulting, education and management services.  The company was founded near Boston, Massachusetts, in 1983 and is privately owned.  After a year of development, the service parts organization of a division of General Electric signed on as our first alpha test site.  Service parts demand is tougher to forecast than anything, so we developed new technologies and tools to succeed in this environment.  These same tools—applied differently—also improve forecast accuracy for many other industries and businesses.  That is why FGS is used in such a wide variety of industries.  In 1989 the company moved to central Washington State.  Since its founding the company has constantly upgraded its software, adding new capabilities and new modules—all of them customer requested or customer inspired.

E/Step Software works closely with a network of independently owned affiliates who provide educational, consulting, technical support and software development expertise.


John Estep, CFPIM, is the founder and President of E/Step Software. With a background in mathematics, operations research, database design and computer engineering, he worked on his first forecasting system in 1970 and since has counseled hundreds of companies on their forecasting, inventory and service needs.

He was the chief architect of FGS and the developer of its many contributions to the state of the art, including: selectable forecast calendars, usable inventory optimization, component safety stock, accurate calendar normalization at the selling day level, and many others.  He consults regularly with clients to help them get the most out of FGS, as well as to get their input on ways to improve FGS.

A frequent speaker at industry conferences on forecasting and inventory planning, Mr. Estep has written dozens of conference and trade journal articles and was columnist for APS (Advanced Planning & Scheduling) Magazine, writing their "On Demand" column.  He is a Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management from the American Production and Inventory Control Society and has taught APICS certification courses. He holds a BS in Mathematics cum laude from Allegheny College and an MS degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts. He did additional postgraduate work at the University of Massachusetts and at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Mr. Estep teaches a pro bono workshop one night per week throughout the academic year to the top math and science students from several high schools in the Yakima, Washington area.  The workshop covers the programming language APL with applications to mathematics, game theory, and problem solving.

Robert M. Duncan, CFPIM, is Director of Training for E/Step Software and President of Duncan Consulting.  Prior to that, at GE Silicones, he implemented FGS and ran it for three years—achieving astounding service improvements while slashing inventory.  He documented savings of $10,000 of inventory for every hour they spent reviewing FGS-identified exceptions.  Mr. Duncan was a key resource in defining the FGS Simulation facility now heavily relied on by all FGS users, and has inspired countless improvements to the software since his involvement began in 1989.  He also edits the FGS Newsletter and designed and developed our web site.

In 1992, Mr. Duncan founded Duncan Consulting.  Since then he has developed and taught all of the FGS workshops as our Director of Training, and has consulted with many companies to install or improve their FGS implementations.  Clients range from primary metals companies, to fast food restaurants, to service parts businesses.

Mr. Duncan has a BS degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Virginia Tech.  He is certified by the American Production and Inventory Control Society at the Fellow Level.  For the last 25 years Mr. Duncan has been writing and giving speeches on supply chain topics to national and international conferences.

Nancy T. Griggs, principal of Griggs Consulting, is E/Step Software's Director of Technical Support.  She is known far and wide for her knowledge of FGS and her enthusiasm in helping clients use it to solve their business problems.  Ms. Griggs brings a unique perspective to her technical support role as she also contributes significantly to creating and extending the software—which includes implementing new features suggested by users.  A member of the FGS team since 1996, she has written portions of the FGS Reference Documentation, and does consulting with FGS clients.

Prior to joining us she was an instructor at the Kentucky Advanced Technology Institute in Bowling Green, where she taught courses in Mathematics, Physics, and Quality Assurance.  Before that she spent 8 years as Industrial Engineer at Action Industries, a furniture manufacturer, where she was responsible for the selection and installation of FGS.  This improved customer service while lowering inventory levels.  It also resulted in a 66% reduction in raw material lead times through improved vendor relations. 

Ms. Griggs holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Mathematics (summa cum laude) from Mississippi State University, where she has also completed about 70% of the requirements toward her Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering.  She is also currently working on her CPIM from APICS.

Nathan A. Boyd is VP Supply Chain for Southern Enterprises Inc. of Coppell, Texas, a wholesaler of ready-to-assemble furniture to the internet distribution channel.  In this capacity Mr. Boyd implemented the FGS Demand Forecasting, Inventory Planning, and Replenishment Planning modules and contributed to the design of a replenishment planning enhancement for FGS that accommodates a flexible percentage of backorders during stock out intervals.

Mr. Boyd is also the President of Forparco, a consulting company and Application Services Provider (ASP) for E/Step Software Inc., which he founded 1997.  In his ASP and consulting capacities, Mr. Boyd has worked with such companies as GE Transportation Systems, Russell Athletics, Caterpillar, Rheem HVAC, Ausimont USA, Hastings Manufacturing, Dowty Aerospace, and AAR Corp.

Prior to founding Forparco, Mr. Boyd spent 18 years with Batco, a heavy-duty truck service parts company in Dallas, Texas, where he was VP of Operations.  Mr. Boyd was responsible for selecting and implementing FGS to manage Batco’s inventory of 60,000 SKUs.  He used FGS to maintain their already high service level, while cutting inventory by 48%.  Batco served as the beta test site for the development of the FGS Replenishment Planning module.  Mr. Boyd was also a key contributor in the development of the Component Safety Stock feature and was the first to apply it to the lean manufacturing environment

Mr. Boyd has a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Management Systems from the School of Engineering at Southern Methodist and is a frequent speaker at APICS regional and national meetings.