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4 Ways Manufacturers Benefit from End-to-End Supply Chain Planning

August 30, 2017

Leading manufacturers intuitively understand the importance of optimizing the flow of materials in their operations. They also are more mature in analyzing and interpreting the valuable data their businesses generate.

You too can be proactive in your planning and execution, anticipating market fluctuations and better responding to your customers’ needs. The lasting benefits of careful, consistent planning are too good to pass up:

1. Stay competitive.

What does it take for a manufacturer to remain competitive today? There are many contributing factors: product quality, product uniqueness, marketing prowess, superior execution, and the ability to hire and retain a good team can all play a part.

When it comes down to day-to-day execution, you’re most focused on keeping a lean inventory and turning it over as quickly as possible. If you can’t do that, your products may end up sitting in the warehouse.

With better supply chain planning, you gain greater control over your flow of raw materials in and finished products out. You can manufacture to meet specific customer demands, rather than producing in a vacuum and then furiously trying to drive demand through discounts. All of this leads to increased profitability.

2. Retain customers.

Meeting customer needs once makes them happy for a few days. Meeting their needs time and time again wins their loyalty and gives you greater assurance of sustainable profitability.

It would help if you could see the future. But that’s impossible—so do the next best thing.

When you support your supply chain planning with integrated demand forecasting and scenario modeling capabilities, you position your company to be ready for the most likely spikes in demand. You minimize your chances of getting caught in a stockout when your customers need you most.

3. Increase agility and efficiency.

You thought you had a good read on what your customers wanted—but then suddenly, what they wanted changed. What now?

Your toughest competitors gain their edge by knowing exactly what they can promise to customers at any given moment. Just as importantly, they’ve also determined what they consider to be an acceptable level of customer service, so that they always know what they’re aiming for.

Make sure all your end-to-end supply chain processes help you work towards your desired customer service levels, and give your planners the tools to maintain real-time insight into your inventory levels and demand signals.

4. Cut costs.

When you optimize all aspects of your supply chain planning, you can produce a realistic Master Production Schedule (MPS) that guides all your decisions. This schedule will enable you to allocate materials, plan production, and schedule resources in ways that make bottom-line sense for your organization. Look forward to less waste of materials, less overtime to pay your line workers, and less need to pay rush shipping costs.

We recently summarized the benefits of end-to-end supply chain planning in a convenient infographic. Pass it around your office to convince your peers that now is the time to focus on upgrading your supply chain planning capabilities. Download the infographic now.

About the Author

Hemant Makhija Senior Director of Product Marketing, Plex Systems

Hemant Makhija served as senior director of product marketing for Plex Systems from January 2014 to March 2019.