Steelwedge looks forward to hosting a webinar entitled “Selecting the Right Planning Technology: Time to Revisit Priorities,” on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 12 pm EDT. Tim Payne, Research Vice President at Gartner, will present during this live, interactive webinar.
As Gartner’s lead supply chain technology analyst, Tim will discuss the priorities and technology selection criteria necessary to optimize your planning process and maximize its impact, a continuation of a popular discussion he started in his address at the May 2013 Gartner Supply Chain Summit. The challenge: the needle hasn’t really moved in years on the goal of better managing forecast accuracy and demand variability—even though nearly $2.8 billion was spent on technologies to address this last year alone.
The complexity lies in how companies assess both their sales and operations planning challenges and the potential technologies leveraged to achieve the solution. This session will take a deeper dive into three areas worth a second look on any manufacturer’s planning technologies selection criteria:
- Technical Architecture
- Vendor Innovation and Thought Leadership
- Application Deployment Model
Click here to register for the webinar. We hope to see you online on Friday. In the meantime, please share your thoughts on planning technology priorities in the comments section!
Partnership, as defined by Wikipedia, is “an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.”
I believe the fundamental reasons people and organizations establish partnerships, including software vendors and channel partners, have not changed. It’s collaboration for mutual benefit and, most importantly, to drive value for our customers.
Always the pragmatist, I did some research to prove the mutual interests claim. Indeed, I found this to be true. Here are just a few examples for anyone who doubts collaboration in partnership yields mutual reward.
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis: Can’t have a funny guy without his straight man. They took that act to the bank.
Peanut Butter and Jelly: I have had my share of peanut butter sandwiches. I’m pretty sure the addition of jelly to the mix was the basis for the expression 1 plus 1 makes 3.
Lewis & Clark and Sacagawea: Collaboration at its greatest. Partnership between rock star explorers and interpreter/guide extraordinaire opens doors to travel to the Pacific coast. They also brought back information about European dealers connected to global markets. A primitive supply chain in the making!
While motives to partner remain the same, the landscape to do is constantly disrupted by global economic forces, new technologies, big data and this thing called the cloud.
So how do software vendors and partners maintain equilibrium, even thrive, in this volatile environment? Some don’t. Those companies who are unable, or unwilling, to adapt may find themselves “stuck” in an old business model that is no longer in demand.
But agile organizations—VARs, consulting firms and service providers who have stayed in the game by reinventing themselves—will be here for a long, long time. These companies understand the new world of cloud solutions, big data, subscription software and a customer-centric approach to…everything.
They embrace the challenge of migrating an on-premise solution to SaaS. They transform themselves from reseller to full-service provider, or from implementation team to consultant and trusted advisor. They get “social” and understand that it’s not just big data, but what you do with that data. They never stop learning because they know change is coming.
(Shameless plug alert…)
And they align with technology vendors, like Steelwedge, the leading provider of cloud-based integrated business planning (IBP) solutions, who provide them the ideal platform on which to build their business.
Thanks for reading. Have an opinion, comment or question? Chime in!
Two weeks ago, at its annual Supply Chain Executive Conference in Phoenix, Gartner rolled out the latest evolution to its sales and operations planning (S&OP) maturity model. Part of the reason: a majority of manufacturers were getting “stuck” at Stage 2 maturity: balancing supply and demand. Indeed, we hear about this conundrum every day in our sales and consulting engagements. The vast majority of companies use Excel and manual efforts to power their S&OP. While no one ever abandons Excel, those who try to power through maturity with only Excel or a collection of disparate, unconnected solutions, usually hit a brick wall when it comes time to driving collaboration and scale in their plans.
Gartner’s new model attempts to help companies “smooth out” the journey, now with five steps instead of four. It looks at the strategy as a move from inside-out supply driven planning to more outside-in or demand-driven value networks, guided by updated information across multiple touchpoints from customers and prospects. Gartner has identified 7 key building blocks for IBP: Vision, Strategy, Governance, Organization, Processes, Technology and Performance Management.
At Steelwedge, we’re helping our customers advance their planning maturity with enabling technology to more easily connect, mine and analyze all that data from one platform. Here are a few ways we’re doing that:
1. Planning Analytics
Steelwedge created a single unified data model for global scenario management across the supply, demand and finance as well as extremely rich collaborative capabilities supported by Enterprise-Enabled Excel and online analytics, as well as mobile delivery.
With Insight, you will learn about what you don’t know and determine what to do about it. Through exception based dashboards that analyze planning as well as transaction data, planners and analysts can get near real-time visibility to trends and make proactive decisions.
2. Big Data
The amount of data companies use in their S&OP processes process has grown exponentially in recent years, and that data has become far more granular as a means to define problems. During the past decade, Steelwedge has witnessed its customers go from managing 200-400 total planning points (TPPs) to more than one billion TPPs. To address these challenges, Steelwedge has purpose-built each component of its integrated business planning (IBP) platform to be high-performance. These components are both in the hardware as well as software layer, keeping in mind the turnkey approach of the cloud. Each communication layer in the cloud—network, storage, memory, edge caching and CPUs—are designed for high speed
Even though cloud was not called out as a specific enabler for IBP at the Gartner event, we continue to believe that it is a game changer. It is our opinion that it is impossible to companies to advance to Stage 5 maturity without a cloud-based solution. For Stage 5, there needs to be a coordinated enterprise and network decision-making capability. There needs to be the ability to quickly on-board partners to the planning process, collaborate in both structured as well as unstructured manners and to do planning in a distributed environment. These capabilities are only provided by a cloud solution.
4. Multi-Enterprise Planning and Orchestration
Cloud-based planning solutions also simplify multi-enterprise planning and orchestration. With such complexity, integrated, single platform solutions are critical. Outsourcing operations has resulted in companies having asset-lite as well as assetless operations where coordination and orchestration becomes the key driver for sales and operations planning rather than asset utilization. In these environments, network-related data is critical to conduct S&OP on both a regular and an ad hoc basis.
5. Enhanced Social
Steelwedge has pioneered an S&OP-specific structured collaboration solution through its One-Click Planning as well as its Enterprise-Enabled Excel platform. Companies are demanding unstructured collaboration as well in today’s highly networked environment. This implies that there needs to be the ability to provide a social layer on top of the current structured collaboration solution.
In summary, the integrated business planning journey need not be like a holy grail quest, if powered with connected process strategy, empowered teams and flexible technology. But it is significantly smoother if the roadmap has holistic components from the beginning.
On May 29, 2013, Tom Wallace, sales and operations planning (S&OP) author and educator, and Steelwedge Vice President, Nari Viswanathan, presented a webinar entitled “Is Your Global Planning Like Whack-A-Mole?,” as part of the Steelwedge 2013 Agility Webinar Series. Hundreds of people joined the webinar to learn more about successfully navigating the often turbulent waters of global planning.
Due to the strong response, Tom and Nari were unable to answer all of the questions that were submitted during the live Q&A at the end of the webinar. We’d like to thank Tom for responding to additional questions posed during the webinar here:
Q: During the webinar, you spoke about how BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, shifted from local volume orientation to global value orientation, and as a result, increased visibility across the supply chain. Would you recommend the BASF model for a company with one manufacturing plant and a global customer base?
A: No, I would not. This company does not need global sales and operations planning because it has supply centralized in one area. One needs both demand and supply operating globally to justify the additional effort and complexity involved in global S&OP.
Q: What does BASF consider as optimization? Could that be SKU rationalization?
A: No, it’s not SKU rationalization. It’s allocating production in the most cost-effective manner consistent with customer service goals, inventory targets, and so forth.
Q: You referenced several companies as best-practice examples of global planning practitioners. How were the S&OP implementations done in these companies? With a consultancy firm? By themselves?
A: With Procter & Gamble, I helped them a bit, and the Oliver Wight group did the heavy lifting from a consulting standpoint. I’m not aware of how the other companies implemented; they did it before I worked with them.
Q: Isn’t the core of sales and operations planning forecast accuracy improvement?
A: Absolutely not, and it’s a good thing, because the forecasts will hardly ever be accurate. S&OP enables a company to cope with inaccurate forecasts better than any other process. Actually sales and operations planning almost always enables a company to improve its forecasts, not the other way around.
Q: Sales and marketing should be accounted for in improving forecast accuracy, right?
A: I believe that sales and marketing should be accountable for the validity of the forecasts. Others may be involved in a project to improve forecast accuracy.
The sheer velocity of change in business complexity, global volatility and available data is making the prospect of managing regional and global planning a more elusive mission. It’s like hitting a whack-a-mole with a mallet—only to have another pesky problem pop up somewhere else.
This session will explore how to tie together smart strategy and integrated software to capture and scale a process that can out-flex even the gnarliest of planning challenges.
- Do more with S&OP beyond “just” supply/demand balancing
- Go global with smart strategy and scalable technology
- Turn your big data into big insights
- Build an agile enterprise and outmaneuver volatility
Click here to register. We hope to see you online for the webinar!