As the old saying goes, “too many cooks in the kitchen spoil dinner” and in a complex system such as supply chain planning, that has traditionally been the case. With siloed data between departments, individually-generated spreadsheet analysis, and error-prone data entry, multiple people from multiple departments along the supply chain could cause confusion.
This manual tradition resulted in hierarchies, protocols, and procedures for reconciling data between functional areas of the supply chain to paint the most accurate picture possible for the generation of forecasts. But the volume of data and the lack of interoperability was a flawed process at best.
Today, technology and supply chain planning software from providers like Plex DemandCaster allows companies to use near real-time data and advanced analytics to create agile teams. Because everyone operates with a single truth source, data provides the ingredients needed to produce a reliable forecast that empowers cross-functional demand and supply teams.
But who should be included on these teams, and what functional areas should be part of the process?
Key Departments to Include in the Supply Chain Planning Process
With the right software, every staff member along the supply chain becomes a supply chain planning specialist. These critical areas create end-to-end visibility and an efficient supply chain with reliable forecasts.
Purchasing is one of the areas most people think of when considering the supply chain. From receiving orders to scheduling the delivery of raw materials and goods needed to make them, purchasing teams are critical. They may negotiate contracts for volumes, set shipping quantities, coordinate with inventory and logistics, and do many other tasks. They may also source vendors and grade their performance.
Like purchasing, inventory control and management are vital to the supply chain. Accurate receipt, on-hand, transfer, and consumption are critical to keeping manufacturing moving. If the inventory is inaccurate, order and cash flow may be affected.
Many don’t intuitively think of manufacturing as a supply chain function. But once raw materials are purchased and stored, production planners must schedule them against capacity, labor, and delivery date to produce them on time. Having data on production performance helps supply chain planners understand how material moves through the system.
Finished goods may be stored, shipped immediately, or sent to other locations for additional processing. Many operations today have a high degree of distribution automation to address customization requirements in packaging and shipping methods.
Part of the supply chain requires efficient and accurate shipping to the final destination. Companies using technology like the Plex DemandCaster Supply Chain planning software can track transportation to the point of sale. It also alerts planners to bottlenecks, delays, and other problems in transit.
There was a time when demand planning was more art than science. With Plex DemandCaster software, advanced analytics using at or near real-time data uncover trends and allow for accurate forecasting. It helps optimize purchasing and inventory strategies and forecast over multiple levels. It also uses advanced “what-if” contingency planning to help manage unforeseen events.
Use Software to Create Powerful Cross-Functional Teams
Plex DemandCaster Supply Chain Planning software powers past the old saying of “too many cooks.” Instead, it uses data, real-time actionable insights, advanced analytics, and more to bring people from all parts of the supply chain together under a single version of the truth.
Relying on data, purchasing, and inventory control works seamlessly to provide manufacturing with the schedule it needs to meet orders. Distribution and transportation have access to the most recent delivery requirements and can plan the best method and route to deliver orders cost-effectively. And all these areas operate off an accurate, focused, data-driven demand plan to keep the supply chain efficient and resilient – in regular times and disruption.
To see the Plex DemandCaster Supply Chain Planning software in action and learn how we can help your team meet its potential, contact us today.