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Many companies today need to lift a lot of data from multiple data systems if they are to create visibility across their entire supply chain. But the way they go about it is less than optimal, says Miles. "It's my firm belief that we are only going to make maximum use of digitalization if we start differently.
We need to look at the younger people and understand how they use digital media in their everyday lives. We need to learn from them as a way of working, rather than imposing on them things that we've been doing for the last 30 years."
In fact, Miles believes executives should rethink how they approach use of a number of technologies and processes. Sales and operations planning, for instance, is merely a “Band-Aid,” in his view. In the past, the commercial and operations sides often had no way to collaborate or even communicate effectively. S&OP was thought to be the answer, but Miles says it’s little more than a “coordination function.”
The RapidResponse tool from Kinaxis enhances traditional sales and operations planning, he says, because it gives continuous S&OP. “You can ask it what the current state of things is, you can understand what the mismatches are, and you can bring a group together inside RapidResponse to actually correct things.”
He acknowledges that many decisions made in “classical S&OP” still need to be made. “But how quickly and repeatedly can you make those? With our tool, you can make them continuously. That’s the key paradigm shift.”
Paraphrasing Dwight Eisenhower, Miles says, ‘Planning is everything, the plan is nothing; meaning, the moment you walk out of the room there is a disconnect between what you planned and what you are able to do. RapidResponse enables you to pull that information up at any time, understand the disconnect and realign the entire supply chain. That’s where I see S&OP going in the future.”
Miles says that traditional functional silos continue to inform much of supply chain practice today. That has to change because the digital supply chain will never be fully realized until people achieve true cross-functional transparency. “This will take time,” he says, “but digitalization is actually breaking those boundaries and bringing visibility across the supply chain.”
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