Supply chains are experiencing change and coping with turmoil, much of it driven by COVID-19 and geopolitical events, which have brought about supply shortages. Changing customer behaviors have also led companies to rethink their supply chain approaches. These developments require organizations to access and process increased volumes of data. In a tumultuous world, an enterprise-wide response is required to changing conditions — and that means connecting sales and operations planning with demand, supply, and financial planning.
Advances in technology allow organizations to bring together relevant data and process it on a single platform, where planners can run and rerun scenarios, quickly evaluating options, and stakeholders can plan collaboratively to deliver the agility and resilience organizations need to face today’s challenges. Greater data connectivity with financial planning allows companies to evaluate the profitability of proposed plans and to apply financial numbers at the capacity and material planning levels. In business-to-business scenarios, manufacturers use data to seek signals on customer opportunities. These will prompt conversations with the customer, to understand the details of the potential opportunity, and internally, to understand the capacity to be allocated and the components and skill sets to be acquired, as well as how the needs of other customers impact those factors.
The data is likely to be much more granular in the business-to-consumer realm, with companies considering hundreds of thousands of transactions to understand consumer behavior to determine how to allocate products among channels and to calculate how other factors, such as promotions and future weather developments, might contribute to supply and demand. Organizations that have integrated planning capabilities are able to perform these tasks with a more organizational, coordinated, efficient and value-driven approach, yielding a continuous planning process that enables companies to provide better service, develop more sales, reduce costs, free up working capital, and achieve higher profit margins.
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