The world of contract manufacturing has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Jeff Murphy, director of supply chain managed services with Celestica, describes how the company has improved forecast accuracy and demand visibility, against this backdrop of industry transformation.
Fundamental shifts in supply-chain management have significantly altered the planning paradigm. JP Swanson, global supply chain analyst with Dow AgroSciences, talks about how his company has adapted to the change, and improved planning across multiple levels of its supply network.
Companies say they are in dire need of competent supply and demand planners, but the requirements of that position today are so varied that you wonder whether a single person exists who can do the job. It calls for strong math and statistical skills, obviously, but a good planner must also be able to communicate well across the multiple "silos" of an organization. The right candidate will have a deep understanding of the requirements of manufacturing, logistics, marketing, sales and finance. Then there's the necessity of reaching outside company walls to suppliers and customers, to ensure that all parties are in agreement about what the demand forecast should be. Who are these freakishly talented individuals? And where can they be found?
Take a close look at any supply chain - even a single entity within it - and you're likely to uncover a hodgepodge of disciplines, each with its own method for forecasting demand, and each convinced of its superiority over everyone else's. So it only makes sense that companies would dream of coming up with a single forecast upon which all departments could agree.
The big name in cereal and snacks seeks to improve forecast accuracy through the adoption of a new tool that supplements traditional supply-chain planning processes with a broader range of information about actual customer demand.