Supply chain planning (SCP) has indeed changed a little bit since the time it was defined. Back then, Enterprise resource Planning systems were used for tracking data and collaboration across the entire company. Today, planning is done by numerous companies using ERP systems and a mix of spreadsheets. And these options are good and suitable for business planning but to some extent. Why?

Simply, spreadsheets planning become disjointed and messy. For instance, do they update and share the forecast numbers across the company with the stakeholders (for example: Finance, Operations, and Sales)? Do you accurately enter the inventory numbers from the old version of the spreadsheets into a new version? If there is a fire outbreak in the major distribution center, what can be done? What are the necessary things you should do make sure that your supply chain planning processes will aid in meeting the overall goals of the company for the fiscal year?

These are the few above questions you need to ask yourself if you are into supply chain planning.

Here are the following recommendable checklists of items a business should put in place so as to achieve success in a global market that is growing rapidly.

Make the move to real-time supply chain planning

Companies rely typically only on historical data when using spreadsheets and ERP systems for planning which results in little room if there is any disruption in supply or demand. For instance, a company can do a rough estimate for the number of a particular commodity it will sell in the next five months based on the number of sales in the previous year. But the question is: what if a massive earthquake or hurricane destroys a major distribution center? It will lead to little supply. With a plan in place which enables you to complete the “what-if” scenarios and the impact these scenarios will have in the supply chain, you can effectively plan ahead when there is an occurrence of such disruptions.

2. Supply chain Planning should be integrated with Enterprise Planning

Integrating Supply Chain Planning with financial planning and sales and operations planning should be an essential second step. Companies can stand to gain when their short-term operations planning is synchronized with their business planning processes which enables real-time updates to be made on inventory supply and forecasts. When real-time solutions that enable enterprise-wide collaborations are deployed, it means that the companies stakeholders can assess quickly know how to utilize their resources in other to increase profitability when there is an occurrence of an unforeseen event.

The customer’s demand should be anticipated

The challenge in supply chain planning and demand planning knows what the customer wants and when they want it. The actual supply chain is viewed when a real-time data is accessed, but companies and businesses should still see beyond their existing network of retailers and wholesalers to know the end customer’s demand by using market research data which is up to date. If changing consumer sentiment is identified, it can increase profitability and ensures product availability when needed.

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