Attributes are often needed to plan the supply and demand of products that are built-to-order or required to meet complicated engineering specifications. What is new, is the way that Steelwedge seamless enables companies with complex configured products to manage their Sales and Operations Planning process using this approach.
Examples of the types of companies that benefit from this approach include those that manufacture products such as servers (disk drives, processor type, etc), network switches (type, size, capacity, memory), and electrical components (different voltages, capacities and fittings).
Engineered products drive higher margins and premium prices because they meet the actual requirements of customers and halt the profit-eroding impact of products which are commodities. Steelwedge customers use attributes not only for Demand and Supply Planning but also for S&OP thereby enabling companies to better track and plan their high margin products.
For S&OP, attribute-based planning is used to translate market demand into demand for a specific group of products that an organization sells. At the order level, attribute planning determines which products are used to satisfy demand.
Furthermore, Steelwedge customers use attributes to describe the engineering specifications, code-date of manufacture, lot id, and color to support specific customer needs. Environmental concerns, safety concerns, and quality concerns also drive customers to prefer specific suppliers for a product. Attribute-based planning has enabled some Steelwedge customers to drive higher prices and better manage their inventories.