Carefully ordered, cyclic planning processes such as S&OE (Sales and Operations Execution), S&OP (Sales and Operations Planning) and IBP (Integrated Business Planning) have long been the bedrock on which supply chains are built and run. Even as technology evolved to make those processes more and more streamlined and data-fueled, the basic cadence remained.

Now, a new way of making supply chain decisions is emerging to disrupt those traditional, foundational processes—one much better suited to the mercurial conditions of today’s marketplace, with its high demand variability, unexpected supply disruptions, economic and geopolitical uncertainty, and greater supply chain complexity.

Blending AI, machine learning, digital twins, graph technology, and more, decision-centric planning (DCP) reorients the way supply chain decisions are made to take the focus off the processes and activities and put it squarely on the decision itself. It’s all about tailoring the decision to account for the right criteria – such as urgency, impact and timing. For example, taking into account the most impactful supply chain decisions to involve just the right decision makers, stakeholders, capabilities, and data, at just the right time rather than at a prescribed time, to arrive at the one that makes the most sense for the business.

Make no mistake: DCP entails a paradigm shift from how traditional S&OE, S&OP and IBP processes are run from a focus on volumes and value to business rules, priorities and probabilities, as well as actions regarding risks and opportunities. Gartner placed its analysis of this emerging approach as an ‘Innovation Trigger’ in their 2023 Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Planning Technologies.

To be sure, it’s not a rip-and-replace thing; supply chains will need to evolve to this new approach. Analysts are confident that this is where supply chain decision-making is going as businesses evolve, affirming that traditional approaches will no longer suffice for dealing with increasing levels of complexity. The Maverick Research by Gartner asserts: “To thrive, companies need to rethink their planning concepts powered by strong technology support. Decision-centric planning is the answer.”

Making the Shift

According to research, supply chain executives believe the areas of decision-making that need the greatest improvement are: identifying stakeholders to be involved in a supply chain decision, the ability to course correct as a decision is being executed, and measuring the impact of the decision on supply chain performance.

DCP is designed to address all of these, and you can read all about how in the white paper: Decision-Centric Planning: A Radical Reimagining of Supply Chain Decision Making. Moving from static, predicable, siloed and largely batch data-dependent processes to the composable, continuous, integrated, and variable decision-making involved in DCP is a substantial change away from some well-entrenched ways of working.

It’s important to know that the technologies cited earlier are key enablers of DCP, making the sensing, collaboration, outcome analysis, and myriad other components of this approach possible. That’s why

these are all a part of John Galt Solutions’ Atlas Planning Platform. We fully embrace the concepts of DCP and your need to recognize the multi-dimensional implications of every supply chain decision. These ideas are intrinsic to the Atlas Planning Platform and how the platform supports companies as they connect and orchestrate the end-to-end supply chain to make smarter, faster, and more confident supply chain decisions.

We champion companies like yours in their present state while steering them towards an innovative future anchored in decision-centric planning for unparalleled success. More than being a new concept, DCP entails a wholesale change in mindset. This change is as profound as it is pivotal, and it demands a partner who comprehends the transition process and can fully support the evolution from conventional methods to the truly advanced, bolstering the adoption and engagement necessary for decision-centric supply chains. Successful transitions will be incremental, building bit by bit on early wins. And it’s important to start now.

It begins with taking a close look at how your current processes have evolved. Chances are there might already be a few elements that can be considered decision centric. That’s a great foundation to build on to help your supply chain organization understand and adopt the sort of change DCP represents. Now is the time to start building on that great start.

At John Galt Solutions, we help with both sides of this journey: Providing the technical underpinnings that make DCP work, and partnering with you as you evolve and mature toward more sophisticated levels of decision-centric planning. Our Pathways to Evolve provide comprehensive supply chain planning resources to support and power your journey towards supply chain planning maturity. These resources serve as a compass to guide you on the path to establishing a high-performance supply chain, harnessing the advanced capabilities of the Atlas Planning Platform to propel you closer to your vision of supply chain planning excellence.

Check out our white paper to learn more about DCP, and reach out to our friendly team of experts to find out how you can progress on the path toward decision-centric planning.