Smart Manufacturing Blog

Welcome to your source for all things smart manufacturing. Whether you’re looking for expert insights, hard data, or actionable tips for your plant floor, we’ve got you covered every week of the year.

7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing

Now Available!

Get your copy of the 7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing and hear from 300+ manufacturers in this new survey report!

How Consistent is Your Planning Process?

Supply Chain Management, Digital Transformation
September 20, 2022

In manufacturing, a finished product may sometimes be out of spec. Perhaps it’s the wrong color or size, or perhaps the cuts and grinds are over or under tolerance. When this happens, additional labor may be required to rework it, or it may be scrapped altogether.

Like manufactured parts, a planning process can also be out of spec. Erroneous data, conflicting reports, and other misfires result in an inconsistent plan that creates havoc in production. A consistent plan with defined strategies and repeatable processes reduces the chance of failure. It’s always easier to control and maintain a consistent system than to put an inconsistent one back in order.

Signs of an Inconsistent Planning Process

Traditional planning models and strategies that lack a unified platform and a single version of truth have inconsistency baked in. And many signs point to a lack of planning consistency:

  • Manual Data Entry – Manual data entry is error-prone. From bias to missing numbers, it creates problems at the beginning of the process.
  • Siloed Data – Disparate computer software for inventory, ERP, MES, quality, and planning creates a choppy process. Reports and data must be reconciled to be of use, and this task slows down response time. Often, these systems aren’t interoperable.
  • Communication Gaps – Inconsistent planning processes may include internal and external communication gaps. Internally, siloed systems and manual tracking mean information may be missed or not forwarded to those who need it. Externally, these gaps may be the result of verbal vendor management.
  • Outdated Data – Manual processes take time to compile, reconcile, and distribute. Often, the demand signal has been missed when the analysis is delivered, and it's too late.
  • Human Limitations – There’s only so much analysis that humans can undertake. The result is imperfect effort at high-level demand and supply plans. Many critical details remain hidden because the process of uncovering them and analyzing them quickly isn't there.

Using Technology for Supply Plan Consistency

Consistent processes give you control and allow optimization of planning. The best way to build this consistency is through automation software. The more automated and unified the data, the better the consistency. The better the consistency, the more accurate the plan.

Demand and Supply Planning software from Plex DemandCaster enables you to automate and link your systems to drive consistency throughout the planning process. With cloud-based advanced analytics, the software allows you to develop a demand-based strategy that draws on accurate real-time data from connected assets or internal systems like ERP, ERP, and MES systems.

Plex DemandCaster delivers the tools needed to address system inconsistencies, including:

  1. Accurate Data – Instead of manual data entry and manipulation, data is pulled from connected equipment or directly from ERP, inventory software, and other sources to provide accurate, real-time data.
  2. Unsiloed Data – Because the software is interoperable with other systems, data is standardized and available across the company to every stakeholder within the supply chain.
  3. Improved Communication and Collaboration – Because data is timely, accurate, and accessible, communication is greatly enhanced. Everyone has access to the same information, improving collaboration within the supply chain.
  4. Advanced Analytics – The cloud-based analytics rocket past human limitations to dig deeper into the data and uncover trends not noticed before. This results in actionable insights that help create accurate and achievable forecasts.

A data-driven and automated planning process starts with great software; it automates tasks, removes errors, and provides insights to help you keep control over planning. Plex DemandCaster Demand and Supply software is a best-in-class platform that delivers consistency and helps companies improve their game.

Contact us to see how we can help you drive consistency throughout your planning process.

About the Author

Plex DemandCaster Supply Chain Planning

Since joining forces with Plex, by Rockwell Automation, in 2016, we’ve harnessed the power of its Smart Manufacturing Platform and industry knowledge to offer a digitized supply chain planning product. It seamlessly unites your business from the plant floor to the executive suite. To learn more about how we are bringing the Connected Enterprise to life across industrial enterprises, visit

Plex DemandCaster