There’s more to a much-anticipated release of a new fashion line than the stroll down the catwalk. Thousands of details, a tremendous amount of market research, materials sourcing, production, and more, must all come together before the models make their walk.
Each of these tasks requires extensive communication and accuracy of data. And it only takes on the air of art when each area has communicated effectively to hit the right marks along the way. The information must be accurate and shared among departments, or the show will fall flat.
Like the pieces of the fashion line, supply chain planning relies on communication and shared data. Done successfully, the resulting supply chain plan significantly impacts the company’s performance. Done poorly, the pieces of a broken and siloed supply chain result in something we don’t want to see walk down a runway.
The Impact of Siloed Data on Supply Chain Planning
Traditional demand and supply strategies were highly manual and relied upon intuition, gut feeling, gappy data, and sometimes just outright guesses. This problem was compounded by a habit common to other production areas like quality, manufacturing, inventory, and transportation.
This habit consisted of amassing manual data collection, spreadsheet-based analysis, verbal agreements, and using software that was only relative to the immediate users within the department.
In addition to manual data collection being error-prone, using disparate systems across the enterprise meant that sharing data between departments required rationalizing and contextualizing data so the following department could consume it.
It wasn’t unusual for another round of data entry (and data entry errors) to be added to the mix. It was also common that information was excluded or unused by those outside the department.
This siloed data applied to an organization meant valuable insights were missed. Applied to supply chain planning, guesses and intuition became more inaccurate and analysis had limited value and scope.
The Importance of Communication in Supply Chain Planning
Communication is no less concerning. As supply chain complexity grows, the supply chain management team must rely on effective and accurate communication to manage far-flung systems with the ever-present threat of disruption.
But with limited access to siloed data or the lack of understanding that this “other” data exists, communication will have little effect, and the supply chain team will be in the dark. It’s like the game where people sit in a circle and whisper information to the person next to them, and the narrative sounds nothing like the original context when it gets around to the start.
A Top Model Requires Top Software
For a supply chain team to succeed, they must have the tools needed to break down the silos holding the data, put the data to use in ways that create value for the supply plan, and communicate effectively.
Demand and Supply Planning Software from Plex DemandCaster enable supply chain management to use the value of the company’s at or near real-time data to break down silos. Because every department has access to the same version of the truth, decision-making is data-driven.
Data is sent to the cloud-based platform where it’s analyzed and returned faster and more accurately than humans can operate. The returned data lets the supply chain team operate confidently, create accurate forecasts and precise supply plans, and operate flexibly with contingencies.
The actionable insights from the unsiloed data facilitate communication. Gone are the whispers that may or may not be what was intended, and in their place is a clear and valuable analysis that everyone understands.
Like the moving pieces of the fashion show, inventory, supplier performance and relations, demand forecasts, logistics, and more create a stellar supply chain planning team that functions as a top model for an optimized supply chain.
If your team needs help in becoming the next top supply chain model, contact us today to learn how the power of advanced analytics can unsilo your data and help your supply chain team and managers succeed.