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Supply chain planning has come a long way in helping organizations better understand their customers’ demand patterns and produce and/or procure goods accordingly. But a lot of that success was achieved in an environment where certain downstream processes were a given. It was safe to assume, for example, that there would be labor available to manufacture or ship those orders, and a ready fleet of containers to carry them where they needed to go.

Not anymore. Like many other aspects of the marketplace, labor and container availability, to name just two constraints, is a lot more volatile these days. Ongoing materials and finished goods shortages are impacting everything from baby food to microchips to movie popcorn. Sourcing is getting more challenging, too, and traditional just-intime is no longer a viable strategy for many goods. On the demand side, consumers are changing their behaviors, causing sales channels and delivery points to proliferate.

All that leads to a new problem for many organizations: Taking an order, only to find you can’t deliver on it.

Filling In the Missing Link

That’s why it’s time to move forward; to link supply chain planning and execution together. When your planners can see what’s happening in the warehousing, labor, and transportation components of your supply chain, they can make fully informed decisions.

That’s what John Galt Solutions’ Atlas Deliver does. It’s a cloud-based platform that aligns, synchronizes and orchestrates planning and execution. By taking into account a wide range of data, from inventory to supplier to transportation to IoT to points-of-sale, it provides everyone in your organization, and your partners as well, with complete visibility into planning and execution.

By linking supply chain planning and execution your organization can move past the obstacles to achieving true end-to-end visibility and:

  • Breaking down silos between planning and other supply chain operations
  • Automating allocation, distribution and delivery decisions
  • Replacing swivel-chair integration with a single workflow

Gartner sees integrating supply chain execution (SCE) and supply chain planning (SCP) as a way to achieve several key goals.

“As companies are implementing SCE technologies, logistics executives continue to look for additional opportunities to increase SCE efficiency, improve customer service and lower costs. One way of achieving these goals is by linking transportation planning to other areas of SCP,” Gartner reports in “Converging Supply Chain Planning With Transportation Planning Provides Efficiency Opportunities.”

Getting Started with Planning-Execution Integration

Start by automating allocation, distribution, and delivery decisions and bringing distribution and transportation together on a single platform. That means you can automate workflows, select orders to release, define constraints, prioritize, and then release those orders.

In addition, your planners will now be able to:

  • Model more complex transportation use cases while balancing constraints and opportunities in your planning processes
  • Collaborate with suppliers and buyers to review and adjust suggested purchases as well as manufacturing and transfer orders
  • Convert data into containers or trucks and allow all users to understand the transportation needs and negotiate ahead for the lanes, containers, trucks, or drivers needed

Evolving with Your Business

Once you’ve gotten those basic capabilities firmly in place, there’s a lot more you should consider. You can factor in more complex constraints, such as warehouse capacity and labor availability. You can also do things like prioritize shipments or determine the most efficient way to fill those valuable containers. Across our experience with customers from multiple industries, geographies and size, we see a lot of users start by integrating trading partner input into their plans as they evolve.

The volatility and complexity of today’s supply chains shows no sign of slowing. Atlas Deliver from John Galt Solutions’ Atlas Planning Platform enables you to link planning and execution on a single platform. That opens up a whole host of new capabilities: You can fulfill, move and deliver the products you have forecasted, optimize your use of resources, deal with supply chain and demand variability, and reduce your waste and markdowns. All that means you can take that order and fulfill it effectively, satisfying your customers and your bottom line.

As you become even more advanced, you can create mixed containers by port, automatically allocate inventory intelligently to hit your best customer service levels and optimize deliveries, generate multi-level bills of materials to handle kitting and production in distribution centers, and more. Make sure to check out part 2 of this blog series which will dive into more details on these advanced capabilities as you accelerate your ability to link supply chain planning and execution.