Supply chain planning (SCP) is the forward-looking process of coordinating assets to optimize the delivery of goods, services and information from supplier to customer, balancing supply and demand, has changed quite a bit over the last decade. At one time companies primarily used enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for collaboration and data tracking across the entire business. Today, many companies do their planning with a mix of spreadsheets and ERP systems. Those options work for business planning—but not when you are looking for key metrics like data fields for items, customers, manufacturing resources, and suppliers.
What do you do when disruptions like natural disasters and labor issues strike the supply chain?
Planning in spreadsheets soon becomes messy, disjointed, and disconnected. Companies typically rely only on historical data, resulting in little wiggle room for changes should any disruptions occur in demand or supply. For example, based on the previous year’s numbers, a company can estimate the number of products it will sell in the next quarter. But what if a massive hurricane destroyed a key distribution center, can we accurately forecast the way inventory will be affected by individual line items?
Because supply chain planning typically involves a myriad of suppliers, channels, customers, and pricing schemes, models soon become large and potentially unwieldy—especially when spreadsheets are your primary planning tools. Incorporating a solution that uses real-time data allows you to plan with more accuracy and reduces the risk of stock-outs or having too much inventory. When you have technology that lets you plan efficiently and react quickly, disruptions aren’t disruptive because re-planning and re-forecasting are easy—resulting in time and money saved and increased profitability.
The explosive growth of data that today’s supply chain teams must manage creates challenges even for the most seasoned professionals. Manufacturers, retailers, and distributors need agile systems that help manage and simplify complexity. However, one of the biggest hurdles today’s organizations face is gaining executive approval to implement an advanced supply chain planning system. To succeed in a growing global market, you need a supply chain that’s connected from start to finish, across your enterprise and beyond.
Scalability to handle supply chain growth. It’s a significant competitive advantage to be able to activate capabilities as requirements grow and flex over time.
Accelerated ROI. Data-driven deployments often deliver better cash flow and create a positive bottom-line impact much more quickly than traditional models.
Less risk of unscheduled downtime. Resiliency and high availability are characteristics of a well-designed deployment.
Robust security. It has been proven that in the majority of cases, a third-party-hosted server is more secure than the server located on premise.
Expert administrative services. The provider’s technical personnel are an essential resource for installing software updates, hotfixes, service packs, and version updates in an optimum computer environment.
As you consider the benefits of a data-centric supply chain planning solution, conduct a self-evaluation by asking these questions:
Does your current supply chain technology infrastructure fall short of the task of providing the capabilities you need?
Is it difficult for your organization to drive new capital investments for updated equipment and systems?
Is your IT staff overwhelmed with user support issues and other system administration tasks?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it’s time to find out how a data-centric supply chain planning solution can optimize your supply chain. Be ready to collaborate across the enterprise, quickly adjust to market changes, and reap benefits, including lower costs and increased efficiency.