Supply Chain Planning: What Hasn’t Changed in the Last Decade

April 5th, 2012 2:16 pm Category: Operations Research, Scheduling, Supply Chain Planning, by: Danielle Cohen Jarvie

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A husband, two kids and a golden retriever later…  I am back to implementations in Supply Chain planning and scheduling.  To my surprise, the same challenges I encountered 10 years ago remain in force today:  data, defining business processes, data, implementing software, data, training people, data, supporting the change to a new system and data.

Data collection remains one of the cornerstones of success of a supply chain planning or scheduling implementation.  Though scores of data may exist in a company’s business, harnessing it to feed into a planning or scheduling model can be extremely complex and time consuming.  Interestingly, the data collection process often drives an elucidation of manufacturing practices and process flows, and clients learn what they do and don’t know about their business.  This may seem backwards and risky in terms of getting things out of order.  In a perfect world, a thorough understanding of manufacturing and business processes would pave the way towards building an Advanced Planning and/or Scheduling System.  In reality, they often happen in tandem and are evolutionary in nature.

Deciding how data will be housed, derived and propagated early on in an implementation will pay off in the long run.   Establishing a systematic, automated way to update and propagate data is equally important as the decision of what software system to use.  It is worth the investment to take the time to put this automation in place as a greater and greater number of products are added to a system the data will remain manageable and scalable.

From PC to Cloud, emails to tweets, networking happy hours to LinkedIn, it is nice to know some things stay the same.

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