The need for supply chain resilience has been brought into sharp focus over the past couple of years. External shocks have repeatedly forced supply chains to near collapse. The combined impact of the global pandemic and geopolitical conflict in Europe is posing escalating risks to supply chains worldwide, causing several key routes to become non-operational and laying bare the interconnectedness of economies and businesses. 

Unexpected external changes are unavoidable. But supply chain leaders cannot afford to let disruption limit impact. Almost half (42%) of Chief Supply Chain Officers are under pressure to maintain current margins and profitability and achieve targets for sustainability, speed, and innovation – even during the most challenging of times. 

Supply chains now must become much more resilient and agile. Businesses are increasingly being asked to respond to unanticipated changes in demand or supply quickly and reliably, whilst reducing costs and enhancing customer experience.  They also need to adapt to structural changes in their environment by utilising streamlined digital solutions to increase visibility, provide early warning signals, and enhance planning using AI. 

In this volatile and ever-evolving landscape, how can manufacturers rapidly replan to cope with significant changes and still drive efficiency?

Out with the old, in with the new

The first step in any transformation is to look at people, processes and technology. Currently, most manufacturers use a combination of manual spreadsheets and existing core systems to drive their planning processes. Scenario planning can take weeks and it can be difficult to connect strategic S&OP decisions with the operational plan during challenging times. Group level planning can simplify decision making but most major ERPs struggle to optimise group planning. Companies resort to manual spreadsheets for group decisions and use the ERP for SKU planning.

Yet today technology has evolved so much, mundane and tedious manual processes are no longer needed. By redefining supply chain planning with streamlined AI intelligence, complex scenario planning and group schedule optimisation can be done automatically. Manufacturers can leverage capacity across multiple lines by improving inventory levels, cutting costs and strengthening plan stability. The impact of strategic S&OP decisions, such as capital allocation, can be understood immediately.

Harnessing dynamic production sequences enables manufacturers to increase supply chain agility through improved planning optimisation, increasing resilience by offering a route to rapidly replan complex processes while maintaining efficiency.

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