Integrated planning and control (IP&C) is a method of ensuring "that everything that happens below the master scheduling process is properly linked," says Curry. Practiced over the last 50 years in some form by a large number of companies, it has lately become "a lost art." Specific processes covered include master scheduling, material requirements planning, supplier scheduling, shop-floor control and capacity management.
The failure to have a good IP&C mechanism in place can be costly. The fallout includes a lack of communication among key departments within a company, as well as with outside suppliers and customers. "The links are broken," says Curry.
With all of the additional multiple partners that make up a global supply chain, the need for IP&C becomes more essential than ever. "It's amazing to watch companies that outsource [manufacturing]," Curry says, "then find out their premium freight costs skyrocket. Suppliers are making the wrong things at the wrong time."
IP&C can help companies to reduce their reliance on expedited freight as a Band-Aid for inefficient operations in the upstream supply chain. With proper implementation and scheduling, at least 95 percent of customer orders "flow through the entire process with no manual intervention," Curry says. Companies are left having to deal only with special emergencies.
IP&C can also be a valuable weapon in the battle against "siloed" organizations. Without it, individuals are more likely to act in the interest of their own function, rather than the company as a whole. "That's why the integration piece is so important," says Curry.
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply management, inventory management, inventory control, global logistics, supply chain planning
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