Integrated Business Planning breaks down inter departmental silos

Supply Chain planning Platforms allow people to make better decisions with more accurate and up to the minute information. Removing siloed communication in the supply chain by using collaboration tools makes it is easier to communicate with internal and external stakeholders. The Platform can take input from as many sources in real time as is required and provide access to the information that all the people in the different department needs. The natural consequence being an enriched forecast which is more accurate, which in turn improves product availability and service levels, which typically results in an increase in profitable sales with lower overheads.

Demand Planners

Demand Planners challenges:
  • A growing product range to keep stocked up
  • New product launches that lack any historical forecast to rely on for new products
  • An ever-changing market with new customers with new buying habits
  • Risk of buying too much inventory to satisfy customer service levels
  • Prioritising a limited budget to acquiesce to multiple purchase request from sales
  • Unquantified demand changes from Sales
  • Estimating customer demand with limited data
  • Reliant on offline tools like excel with limited predictive capability
  • Difficult to separate out the historical and promotional sales activity
  • Uncertainty of current stock position
  • Inventory obsolescence
  • Uncoordinated product obsolescence

How the PLATFORM helps Demand Planners

  • Up to the minute picture of demand
  • A statistical forecast tuned by the 27 best fit algorithms
  • Management by exception – alerts to events that occur outside of the business rules set
  • The forecast enriched by market intelligence through collaboration with sales team
  • Forecasts measured against actuals to gauge the effectiveness of each manual override
  • Ability to plot demand curves for new product launches
  • Analytical scenario planning tools provided
  • Less time spent handballing data
  • More time available to make better decisions

Material Requirements Planners

Material Requirements Planner’s responsibilities are focused around taking the unconstrained demand plan and applying all the constraints that impact on the plan. This can include determining material specifications, maintaining inventory schedules, coordinating with internal departments, and managing external stakeholder relations.

Material Requirements Planners problems to solve:
  • Limited space in the warehouse
  • Co-ordinating with the logistics team to avoid ‘shipping air’
  • Managing products with Limited Shelf Life
  • Understanding supplier lead times and the cost of expediting products to satisfy demand at short notice
  • Identifying the best price for goods
  • Monitoring Supplier performance
  • Maintaining back up suppliers for when preferred suppliers cannot satisfy the demand
  • Determining the required materials and generating purchase orders
  • Ensure the material quality standards are met
  • Keeping in step with production volumes and timescales
  • Scheduling and overseeing the supply and delivery of materials and products
  • Managing inventory and supply chain issues such as interrupted supply
  • Preparing cost estimates and performance reports for senior management
  • Scenario planning done off-line on spreadsheets

How the PLATFORM can help Materials Planners

  • Visibility of order lead times of lead times and where products physically are whilst in transit
  • Information shared with the PLATFORM is immediately available to all relevant stakeholders
  • Analytical tools provided for scenario planning
  • Less potential for errors and less time spent handballing data in Excel
  • Management by Exception – alerts to records where action is needed; late deliveries, delays to despatches, overstocks, understocks, expiring stock
  • Getting the transport right, by planning stock movements in suitable quantities, based on logical priorities
  • Resolution of understocks with transfers

Salespeople and the forecast

Staying proactive can be a challenge for sales teams. With multiple customer relationships to manage and a growing product range to sell, how do sales choose which product to talk to which customer about?

Sales’ challenges:
  • Visibility of buying trends of their customers
  • Competitor activity in their sales territory
  • Having the right stock available when required
  • Poor understanding of material lead times and visibility of the expected deliveries
  • Ability to capture and leverage market intelligence in real time on site with the customer

How the PLATFORM can help sales be more proactive

  • A statistical forecast to discuss with their customers as a value add
  • Visibility of materials lead times
  • Ability to enrich the demand forecast through online collaboration tools
  • Alerts to customer activity that is out of character to the norm
  • Access to analytics to give insights to customer activities, as well as their performance to agreed targets

Production Planning Managers

Production planners are focused on maintaining service levels and making improvements that increase efficiency. They are in the front line of a manufacturing business balancing customer orders, against labour resources and available materials.

Production Planner issues:
  • Ensuring sufficient materials for the manufacturing process
  • Managing people resources
  • Making sure materials are of the right quality
  • No visibility of commercial priorities
  • Planning for change overs in manufacturing line
  • Keeping the plant operating smoothly in line with their service plans
  • Managing unexpected events – machine breakdowns, raw material shortages, staff sickness

How the PLATFORM help Production planners

  • Clear visibility of current material stock levels
  • Clear visibility of where materials are in the supply chain
  • Shop floor data captured built into wider production performance reporting with alerts to exceptions to events that are outside of the set parameters
  • Ability to hold employee skills sets vs plant they are qualified to operate for easy scenario planning
  • Collaboration tools offering insight into commercial impact of relative jobs
  • Scenario planning to cope with unexpected events to minimise disruption to the business


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