Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD May-Jun 2015 Contents W
ith so many variable components,
supply chains are inherently chaotic
rendering them virtually impossible
to manage effectively with traditional, fragment-
ed products. But, understandably, that hasn’t
stopped the enterprise from trying. Like Dark Age
alchemists trying to derive gold from lead, effec-
tively managing sales and operations planning
(S&OP) on legacy platforms is something of a
dark art that will thankfully soon be forgotten.
In the meantime, attempts to match supply to
demand with piecemeal products and error-rid-
den spreadsheets is still an all too familiar story
in the enterprise, with potentially catastrophic
consequences. Put simply, if a company over
produces there are significant costs, while if it
under produces there are significant opportunity
costs – and neither outcome is desirable.
A truly real time, closed loop data system (see
Figure 1.) has been the Holy Grail for S&OP
and decision making, and it is ‘The Cloud’ that
has now enabled this to become a reality. While
the cloud can securely support just about any
enterprise function virtually, perhaps the most
important constant worth remembering is that
the cloud is only as effective as the applications
you choose to deploy on it.
This is key, because with the rise in popularity
of cloud-based software for the enterprise there
are a growing number of vendors in the market
offering cloud services. In fact there is now a
thriving and dedicated cloud segment: from old
legacy on-premise system providers trying to
migrate their traditional products, to the cloud
‘natives’ with products designed solely and spe-
cifically to perform effectively on the cloud.
With more choice and new cloud-based tech-
nologies available, how do you decide what the
best S&OP system for your business is? For our
customers, whether they are in a ‘hyperchange’
mode looking to transform their business, or
‘hypergrowth’ phase looking to exceed dou-
ble-digit growth, ‘time to value’ is consistently
the most important equation for comparing
S&OP products – in fact, any technology
product for that matter.
The key question to answer is: How quickly,
from the point of project initiation, can the
enterprise derive full value from the software’s
ability to reduce costs and improve efficiencies
to maximise resource utilisation?
Cloud-based S&OP applications can not only
be deployed very quickly, with no capex and
ongoing infrastructure maintenance required, but
they also increase efficiencies as sales and data
can be sent securely to the cloud, from anywhere
at any time, improving planning effectiveness.
With cloud, companies can now proactively
capture market opportunities with real-time
visibility and agility to truly be demand-driven,
capturing all the opportunity and investing in just
the right amount of supply — which, ultimately,
increases profits. That’s the essence and power
of effective cloud applications - one flexible and
scalable planning platform that planners can
autonomously adjust without heavy reliance on
IT systems and staff. The enterprise effectively
no longer needs to rely on either the vendor, or
any third-party system integrator, to configure the
product to meet its needs on demand.
Many companies have envisioned this utopia
for more than a decade, but the technology to
address such prolific pain points across the S&OP
process just wasn’t there to achieve it. Until now.
For example, Anaplan’s integrated and flexible
closed loop S&OP planning platform delivers two
major competitive benefits to companies: the first
being able to see all your plans connected in real
time from supply to demand and from customer
to partner, and the second is that it empowers
planners to perform real-time scenario analysis on
new product pricing, competitive actions, supplier
risks, supply-side changes, new product volumes,
change in demand versus forecast, and many
more critical aspects of the supply chain, and
use it to their business advantage. While S&OP
is a business-critical process, it is worth noting
that the cloud can support fully integrated and
flexible business planning systems to enhance
collaboration, focus, and secondly, alignment
across the entire enterprise as well.
When it comes to supply chain planning, the
cloud, somewhat paradoxically, is a beacon for
enterprises captured in the dark, fragmented
mire of legacy S&OP products. If this sounds too
familiar, the time has finally arrived to realise the
true potential of your business with cloud-based
software that reduces costs, whilst enhancing
scalability, usability, flexibility and integration of
supply and demand planning.
Rajeev Mitroo is the managing director of
Anaplan Australia and New Zealand.
CLOUD HERALDS SPEED AND AGILITY
FOR SALES & OPERATIONS PLANNING
Figure 1. S&OP closed loop data system.
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — MAY / JUNE 2015
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