|Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. – Paul J. Meyer
|Manufacturing companies face even vexing challenges of high inventories, lost sales, high level of inbound/outbound lead time variability, high freight/overhead costs, lack of visibility to granular data, Inaccurate tracking and disparate supply chain network functions which are further necessitating these companies now to turn their product driven supply chains to consumer centric value chains. Manufacturing companies realize the need to move beyond the basics and adopt integrated planning solutions which are not only information driven but solutions which can profitably balance supply and demand, optimize operations and prevent disruptions for resilience and maximum performance.
|To help companies attain sustainability, Oracle has come up with several cloud based applications and one such cloud based planning solution called Planning Central is specially designed to help manufacturers respond to today’s dynamic consumer needs. It is a next generation solution which helps companies to plan demand, inventory and supply all at once and thus providing an integrated planning and execution platform to align operations with organization’s strategy and financial performance. Planning Central is a well suited product for manufacturing companies seeking to address some of their below key concerns-
|1. Disconnected Planning Processes
Manufacturing companies usually have different people handling supply/demand planning, operations planning and strategic business planning because of disconnected functional systems. This isolated planning is based on different data and business assumptions being used by different departments resulting in non-alignment of individual department goals to overall organization’s objectives. This in turn further leads to missed opportunities and unrealistic expectations.
Planning Central cloud provides a unified and integrated demand, supply and inventory management solution which not only provides planners an option to have a single plan for calculating forecasts, manage safety stocks, plan supply for changing demands but also highlights any material or capacity shortages to involve production planners to prepare production plans in line with planning solution. A single plan to evaluate budgets, forecasts, inventory, production and capacity helps companies to take proactive strategic decisions to minimize supply chain risks. Further, it provides an automated system to not only plan demand and supply but execute the recommendations directly from the tool to source systems for creation of Purchase Requisitions and Work Orders at the right time. This seamless integration increases the speed and reduces the risk of material shortages/ excess and lost sales.
|2. Lack of end-to-end visibility
Manufacturing companies often lack visibility and capabilities to fully see and control end-to-end supply chain. Companies fail to gather answers to questions like when will the parts arrive, where the product is stuck, why the product cannot be shipped on time etc. because of unavailability of tools which can provide such real-time information.
Planning central cloud offers multiple features to minimize visibility problems for the companies. It provides a flexible multi-dimensional planning output which can be viewed at any level of detail. The demand planning data can be disaggregated or aggregated/ rolled-up or drilled down to view information against any customer, store, city, region, country, product, product group, category levels converting the traditional supply chains into information driven supply chains. Companies can use this product to create reports based on business requirements for slicing and dicing of data. Its powerful analytics and KPIs further help people from all levels – planners, managers, top level management to get prompt information for strategic and tactical decision making. Its robust exception management system not only can be utilized by companies to act upon potentials risks proactively but also can be used to setup alerts and notifications to alert stakeholders to prevent disruptions and maintain continuity of the supply chain. Further, the biggest advantage of using such a cloud based tool is having the flexibility to access it from anywhere as per one’s own comfort and the ability to connect/chat with groups to take any actions required right away.
|3. Increased variability
Modern global supply chains today are all about increased speed to market where product needs to be delivered to consumers before or at least on the customer’s requested time. However, factors like ever changing consumers’ demands, variable supplier lead times, variable transportation lead times, on-demand replenishment requests from customers in case of service/replaced parts are huge variables which manufacturing companies are still struggling to tackle.
Planning Central tool can be used for long range planning giving visibility to such future risks. Its what-if simulations feature can become really handy to minimize issues related to variability where planners can create simulation plans with variable factors and compare with baseline plans to minimize supply chain risks and increase planning efficiency.
To conclude, Oracle Planning Central cloud seems to be a promising product and can be really useful for manufacturing companies to address above concerns. It can help the companies to achieve optimized performance and required agility in their global supply chains. Further, with this product gaining more traction, we can expect Oracle to come up with even more advanced features in the product to better suit diverse needs of manufacturing companies.