Supply Chain Planning
Proper supply chain planning is critical to ensuring that your products are manufactured and delivered to patients or customers on time and in full. Top supplier management teams today are turning to cloud-based digital supply network technologies to quickly respond to changes in demand and efficiently coordinate the flow of assets and activities across the supply chain. One example is multienterprise work management, a new type of collaboration solution that makes it easier to manage supply chain planning processes with your suppliers.
Some of the key components of effective supply chain planning include demand planning, supply planning, inventory planning and optimization, sales and operations planning (S&OP), production planning, and distribution planning. The main objective is to prevent stockouts and shortages, avoid the inefficient allocation of resources, and to be ready for unexpected changes in demand. Multienterprise work management technology helps companies achieve all of these goals.
The importance of supply chain planning
No matter the industry in which it is implemented, effective supply chain planning is critical for achieving a competitive advantage. Poorly executed planning results in unexpected and excess costs, product stockouts, and other issues. When done right, it helps lower production and distribution costs and minimize disruption in the supply chain.
Effective supply chain planning enables firms to optimize inventory levels, eliminate waste, make smarter decisions when difficulties arise, and better cope with volatility in demand or supply conditions. It helps firms improve customer satisfaction and profitability by aligning product development with consumer demand. In times of uncertainty like those experienced during a global pandemic, taking an agile and responsive approach to supply chain planning is one way firms can improve supply chain resiliency.
Learn what it takes to build a more agile and resilient supply chain. Download the eBook: What You Must Know to Survive a Supply Chain Crisis—5 Priorities from 4 Industry Experts.
Using technology to support and improve supply chain planning
Forward-thinking companies are investing in innovative tools like internet of things (IoT) sensors and digital networking technology to obtain greater visibility across suppliers, thereby increasing supply chain transparency and getting the information they need to carry out supply chain planning and supplier risk management more effectively. Next-generation technologies such as the digital supply network and multienterprise work management applications help improve the quality of supply chain planning by breaking down data silos and enabling real-time information sharing across multiple systems, sites, and stakeholders. By providing granular visibility across the end-to-end supply chain, they enable demand-driven planning based on real-time insights. Stakeholders can better monitor and manage risk and respond to emerging threats, opportunities, and challenges.
By fostering communication and collaboration across the entire value chain, they enhance decision making in supply chain planning and execution, thereby improving supply chain agility. They allow organizations to detect changes in supply and demand in real time and work with trading partners to proactively mitigate the impact of unforeseen delays, prevent disruption, and resolve other potentially costly supply chain issues. They help drive compliance in heavily regulated industries and support both ad hoc and real-time supply chain planning, allowing supply chain leaders to react fast to changing requirements and conditions.
Planning the supply chain with digital twin technology and advanced analytics
One of the most powerful new tools firms can use for supply chain planning is the digital twin. A digital twin is a dynamic simulation of a supply chain. It is a visual and virtual roadmap that supply chain leaders can use to gain deeper insight into their existing and planned operations, identify and minimize risk, and uncover opportunities for optimization and cost reduction. They can leverage the digital twin to analyze potential supply scenarios and assess the capacity of current and alternative sources.
They can use digital twins in supply chain planning to maximize efficiencies, optimize resource allocation, and better understand the impact of trade-offs before making decisions. Using a combination of advanced data analytics software and digital twin simulations and scenario planning, firms can leverage machine-learning algorithms and predictive analytics to automate time-consuming planning tasks, improve the accuracy of demand forecasting, and take a more sophisticated and proactive approach to supply chain management. They can transform supply chain planning into a flexible and continuous process that promotes operational agility and resilience.
Supply chain planning for enterprises in the healthcare sector
As a result of the pandemic, improving supply chain planning and creating more resilient chains of supply are now top priorities for many companies, particularly those in the healthcare sector. Using TraceLink's digital supply network and portfolio of supply chain quality management tools designed specifically for healthcare and the life sciences industry, firms in the sector can plug into a vast and growing network of connected partners sharing data and coordinating workflows in real time.
They can use the digital supply network to increase supply chain visibility, improve demand forecast accuracy, and work collaboratively with suppliers in a secure virtual workspace to detect, track, and quickly resolve issues anywhere in the healthcare value chain. TraceLink is helping dismantle the information barriers separating companies in the healthcare supply chain, making it easier for them to maintain constant communication with upstream and downstream partners, pivot supply chains when necessary, and adapt and thrive in times of uncertainty.
Find out how pharma and healthcare organizations are building resilience and agility in the aftermath of COVID-19. Download the IDC Whitepaper: Solving the Pharma Supply Chain Struggle.
Supply Chain Planning FAQs
What is supply chain planning?
Supply chain planning includes processes like forecasting consumer demand for products; planning the production, marketing, distribution, and sales of products; ensuring an adequate supply of products to meet future consumer demand; and coordinating assets to optimize delivery of products to the marketplace. Supply chain planning is a critical component of supply chain management. When done right, it helps reduce costs, increase revenue, and minimize delays and disruption in the flow of products from producer to consumer.
What is the supply chain planning process?
The process starts with demand planning and includes tasks like supply planning, inventory planning and optimization, sales and operations planning, production planning, and distribution planning. Supply chain leaders typically establish a demand plan based on the results of forecasting.
Why is supply chain planning important?
It is important because it helps businesses align product development with consumer demand. Effective supply chain planning helps firms eliminate inefficiencies and lower costs in production and distribution, prevent stockouts and shortages, and exploit sales opportunities in a timely and economical manner.