Effective and efficient supply chain inventory planning teams are absolutely critical to meet the ever-increasing demands of customers. Teams are getting fired up to meet the company goals and deliver service excellence. There is a dizzying array of solutions and methods companies employ to manage their supply chain hoping to manage their unique challenges.
Customers are holding suppliers’ feet to the fire for in-stock and on-time deliveries. At the same time, customers are cool to the service they receive. Hard to understand when your team is burning hundreds of hours and absolutely dedicated to the task. Is effective inventory planning a hot topic or a “cool” thing to do?
The cold hard facts are:
- Understanding customer demand is difficult
- Variability in demand is the norm
- Supply chain disruption is occurring more frequently due to many factors:
- Supplier quality issues
- Labor issues at ports
- Trade war between nations
- Production bottlenecks
- Lack of raw materials
- Unfortunately, terrorism is playing a part
- Lack of good inventory planning
- E-commerce has changed all markets forever
- Customers expect and demand more for less
- Free shipping is entering into B2B more rapidly
- Excess inventory is wasting valuable cash and warehouse space
- Manual inventory planning is a thing of the past
- Reports take too much time and are of out date almost immediately
- Lack of warehouse space and labor shortages
As supply chains grow in complexity, manual planning hinders meeting your goals and improving customer satisfaction. Smart inventory planning solutions definitely improve your inventory planning and helps with important business decisions. Often the concept of spending money to save money is very hard to accept and therefore becomes a barrier to moving forward. There are no guarantees the investment will pay off, so there is some level of risk involved. But, is it any riskier to do nothing? To maintain the status quo? Yes, and even more so as you risk losing customers and possibly your business.
Hot trends in supply chain/inventory planning:
- Better visibility
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Closer collaboration between supplier and customers
- Increased automated solutions – factories, warehouses and planning
- SaaS – cloud-based solutions
Hot and cold, fire and ice issues and opportunities simultaneously challenging the core of supply chain planning. The combination of cloud, data, social, and mobile—what Gartner calls the “Nexus of Forces” is at hand. Advanced SaaS inventory planning software is the key to handling this duality. If this technology is used properly, small businesses can build a customer experience and business agility that is difficult for larger companies to replicate.
Learn how to capitalize on available technology—and more importantly, the willingness to try, contact Valogix today.