Managing supply-chain risk and disruption through continuous, touchless planning

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Consumer-products organizations are experiencing an unprecedented level of market volatility as the current global public health crisis simultaneously disrupts supply chains worldwide and drives demand for essential household items, groceries, and other everyday products. To enable the speed, flexibility, and scalability needed to address these challenges, organizations must adapt planning processes and systems to allow […]

Consumer-products organizations are experiencing an unprecedented level of market volatility as the current global public health crisis simultaneously disrupts supply chains worldwide and drives demand for essential household items, groceries, and other everyday products. To enable the speed, flexibility, and scalability needed to address these challenges, organizations must adapt planning processes and systems to allow for continuous updates, constant testing of plan validity, and, when necessary, automatic re-planning.

Continuous, touchless planning – a self-governing, self-optimizing process that leverages intelligent-automation applications and big data to increase the speed at which plans are created, reviewed, and adapted in response to real-time changes in demand and supply – is one way businesses can improve efficiency and effectiveness within the planning function. Our recent whitepaper, Continuous, touchless planning: How consumer-products organizations can enable a modern supply-value network through next-generation demand and supply planning capabilities, explores the benefits of a continuous, touchless planning system, as well as the outcomes related to this new capability.

Exploring the benefits of continuous, touchless planning

In a rapidly evolving business landscape, improved predictability and responsiveness in planning can create immense value for consumer-products organizations. These benefits typically fall into two main categories: 1. Planning effectiveness as achieved through better synchronization of supply and demand, and 2. process and organizational efficiencies, as realized through enhanced speed and automation.

For planning efficiency, automation of routine tasks and processes can eliminate low-value activities, such as creating manual forecast overlays for select SKUs. This frees the planning team to focus on higher-value tasks. Meanwhile, improved visibility enables better workforce scheduling and allocation, helping the business reduce overtime costs and related expenses.

On the effectiveness side, outcomes are driven by better synchronization of supply and demand planning, as well as the use of technology. For example, the continuous, touchless planning method combines traditional data, such as historical sales and purchase orders, as well as new data sources, including behavioral, biographical, and environmental data for both customers and consumers, to greatly improve plan accuracy and reduce forecast bias. Machine learning is used to recognize and extrapolate patterns in demand that would be otherwise unrecognizable.

Driving outcomes with continuous, touchless planning

The combined effects of better forecast accuracy and synchronization of supply with demand enables a more stable supply chain and leads to additional benefits in cost, cash, and service.

Developing and deploying continuous, touchless planning capabilities can be complex, but the benefits of doing this successfully are game-changing. Our whitepaper, Continuous, touchless planning: How consumer-products organizations can enable a modern supply-value network through next-generation demand and supply planning capabilities, offers an overview of this capability and helpful next steps for beginning the journey towards improving your planning function.

Author details

Shaun Cheyne

Shaun Cheyne is a Director with Capgemini Invent who specializes in end-to-end supply chain transformation in the consumer products sector. He has led regional and global programs from the early stages of visioning through to design, implementation, and benefits delivery. He can be reached at shaun.cheyne@capgemini.com

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