Supply chain planning is a demanding discipline, especially in times of volatile change like these. With both demand and supply sides of our global economy being turned upside down, your demand planning relies on your team’s skillset and experience. The current COVID-19 crisis is a black swan nobody had anticipated, and companies may act in an undesirable, irrational fashion in response. Smart intelligence and software will help navigate these stormy waters and position your company to succeed once the crisis has passed.
In a previous blog, we covered 6 demand planning trends that matter in 2020. These trends have become even more acute and visible over the past few weeks:
- Global Volatility: that has proven quite an understatement!
- Triple P: People, Planet and Profit requirements
- Holistic, Cross-Functional Demand Planning
- Crunching the Numbers: Outgrowing Excel
- Proactive, 360-DegreeDemand Sensing
- Higher Technological Demands on Demand Planning: IoT, Blockchain, Big Data, Bots
Any proper demand planning solution should naturally take these factors into consideration. Demand planning software needs to get you ready for business as usual, as well as ‘business as unusual’. Furthermore, a proper solution for demand planning should be a fit for your business as it develops and grows.
As there is a wide array of demand planning solutions available, you may run the risk of choice paralysis. We therefore thought it would be beneficial to list the top 10 tips and traps to help you identify, get to know and select the proper demand planning software solution for your business.
Tip s & Traps
- Ensure your demand planning solution enables collaboration. Intelligently designed software can help you work together across time zones, geographies and disciplines.
- Ensure that your demand planning software provides a quick start template, allowing you to build on planning best practices, while incorporating your company- and industry-specific needs.
- Balance the needs you have now with your future needs. You will want your process to take advantage of emerging technologies like autonomous planning, AI and machine learning, and IoT.. but remember that shiny new objects are only useful if the software gets the basics right.
- Since this will be a long-term partnership, make sure to review the software from a long-term perspective. What roadmap does the vendor present? What support and training is available? And what are the possibilities when scaling your business up or down?
- When reviewing your demand planning solution of choice, do not merely focus on the functional aspects. Take the non-functional aspects into consideration. For example: performance, scalability, ease of use, openness to connect to other platforms and security.
- That being said, do not merely look at flashy interfaces and prestigious new names (however tempting this may be). Ensure that your demand planning software vendor partners with you in the orientation stage and has a track record of customer success. Together, you should draft a compelling business case that your CFO and CIO love.
- Do not just focus on the costs of the service. Consider the value that the planning system will be able to bring to your business, in terms of reduced inventory cost, improved customer service and sales, reduced expedite and overtime fees, etc.
- Do not just look at a static set of use cases. Take your business process as a starting point and then consider current challenges, pain points and strengths (‘as is’). This analysis should cover what your processes should look like in the future (‘to-be’) and their business requirements.
- Set a number of KPI improvements that you believe the software will deliver, like reduced costs, increased revenue or responsiveness to new market and customer demand.
- Ensure that the vendor has the practical supply chain experience to help with change management. No matter how easy the interface, implementing new software and processes always comes with a substantial amount of training required. Make sure your vendor is not just installing and configuring the software, but is offering a comprehensive implementation and training program backed by supply chain knowledge.
Schedule a consultation with one of our Planning Xperts to learn more our Atlas Planning Suite, and how Atlas will prepare you for these trends and challenges. Learn more about Atlas Planning and ForecastX.
About John Galt Solutions
More than ever, companies must be able to sense and respond to the dynamics of a complex supply chain. John Galt's Atlas Planning is a unified end-to-end supply chain planning platform that helps you increase forecast accuracy, optimize inventory levels and maximize supply chain performance. Since its founding in 1996, John Galt Solutions has built a proven track record of providing affordable, automated demand and inventory management services for consumer-driven supply chains. We have an unmatched ability to configure tailored solutions for customers, regardless of size, industry, or business challenge, that save both time and money by compressing implementation periods and delivering intelligent information that positively impact your bottom line.