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Intelligent transportation planning is the result of linking transportation planning to forecasting and replenishment planning upstream and to warehousing and inventory status downstream, says Brasca.
The problem most companies run into when trying to implement intelligent transportation planning is that they concentrate on sharing orders. “That is certainly an important enabler, but the real nirvana is in sharing constraints,” he says. “How do I expose the potential bottlenecks upstream and downstream? If I am planning a promotion and want to push inventory through the chain to supply that promotion, I need to see potential bottlenecks, which could be labor shortages or capacity issues at my warehouse or with transportation providers. If you are aware of those constraints, you can plan around them.”
One of the barriers to getting this visibility is the lack of clean data, says Brasca. “If I am doing intelligent transportation planning upstream, I need container or carton information, item information and information on where products are located in the warehouse. Getting access to that data efficiently has to be part of the mindset.”
Intelligent transportation planning is part of an overall trend in the supply chain toward iterative optimization, says Brasca. “Instead of point-in-time planning, iterative optimization is ability to continuously cycle, so rather than just setting a plan and hoping it works, I am constantly refining that plan, whether from a transportation perspective or a warehousing perspective or even the perspective of upstream fulfillment. The ability to continually deal with supply chain variability and the changes that occur creates a sense of resiliency.”
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