Business risk continues to mushroom as disruptive volatility seems to be becoming business as usual. Global supply chains have been facing a cascading crisis that shows little to no signs of resolution, with six out of ten organisations already struggling with the financial impact and higher costs of transport, distribution and materials. 

Whilst businesses try to stay afloat, a new report by Accenture states that supply chain challenges arising from the pandemic and Russian’s invasion of Ukraine could result in a potential and astonishing £783 billion cumulative loss to GDP across Eurozone by 2023. 

Alongside the challenges brought by recent and current global events, companies have been battling organisational silos and disconnected business processes, all while focusing on continuous improvement and operational efficiency.

The reality is, customers and business leaders need answers to complex and ever-changing questions, in minutes. Supply chains and employees face tremendous pressure to respond fast — intelligently and confidently. Regardless of external factors.

woman at laptop

Out with the old

Traditionally, supply chain planners have faced a number of challenges in the way they work that are hindering their ability to make informed, timely and accurate decisions. At the heart of these struggles are often time-consuming, inflexible and laborious processes. 

Among the key challenges planners are currently facing are:

  • Long and expensive IT integration projects to upgrade technology, resulting in ageing solutions no longer fit for purpose
  • Difficulties in accessing vital data imprisoned in ERP systems to perform more effective planning
  • An inability to configure business rules and objectives or deploy optimisation algorithms

It has also historically been labour-intensive and time-consuming to set up a scenario instance, often requiring help from IT. This has wider implications, potentially limiting planners to demand and supply data, and not be able to change business objectives or the supply chain digital twin itself.

At the same time, many organisations can be slow to react to supply chain issues, often taking days or even weeks to evaluate the impact, assess mitigation alternatives and make a decision once a problem has been detected. 

To overcome these struggles and gain confidence in their production planning abilities, planners must urgently seek new ways of working to arm them with the capabilities needed to plan for the unplannable. 

Activate new ways of working

However, adopting new ways of working isn’t easy. And it will rely on planners, executives and manufacturers having access to technology that augments their own experience and expertise with intelligent algorithms and automation to transform and scale planning.

The right solutions should connect seamlessly with organisations’ ERP and planning systems to automatically capture the realities of manufacturing lines and manage business logic, constraints and goals quickly and easily. This will help to avoid adding extra complexities as well as silos. 

Understand exactly how much of production capacity is currently being utilised for better resource planning.

Amid so much volatility, organisations need to be able to produce optimised, synchronised plans in minutes and simulate any manufacturing situation at will, immediately. Being able to gain results almost instantly will help them to mitigate risk and make more confident production planning decisions. Similarly, supply chain planners should be able to be run scenarios almost instantly, with impact and alternatives served up immediately for stakeholders to act in time to make a difference. 

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A clear and detailed stock overview allows planners to better connect demand forecasts and capacity availability.

Additionally, while new ways of working predominately relate to supply chain planners, the role of the wider organisation can’t be forgotten. Therefore, it is important the entire enterprise across departments and locations has one common understanding of objectives, responsibilities, metrics, processes, timelines and tasks to ensure supply chain planning is as efficient and effective as possible. 

Grow confident planners

It is clear that the time-intensive, clunky and complex processes of old are no longer fit for today’s supply chain environments, and instead organisations need to couple the experience of planners with innovative new technologies. 

Replan’s cloud platform synchronises, plans and optimises for the midterm horizon so planners can gain the confidence needed to respond to risks and opportunities promptly and intelligently to make a real difference. By arming themselves with technology like this, businesses can adopt new ways of working and reap the benefits of more dynamic, agile and resilient supply chains.

If you’re curious how you can take the first step towards developing a more resilient and intelligent supply chain, check out Replan’s production planning solution or speak to one of our expert team about your requirements today.

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Want to learn more? 

Through a short conversation with one of our supply chain planning experts, you can discover how Replan can help your organisation balance service, inventory and utilisation whilst maintaining plan stability.

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