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What Tools Do You Have for Planning and Managing Your Supply Chain?

Supply Chain Management
August 9, 2022

In manufacturing, it’s essential to have the right tool for the right job. Imagine a plumber without a pipe wrench during a critical break. Or think of an electrician without a voltage meter trying to assess a malfunctioning motor. And how would a carpenter complete his job without a saw or hammer? Each of these professions requires the right tools. With them, these skilled tradespeople make manufacturing maintenance run smoothly. But without them, time, labor, production, and other essential production functions suffer.

One Piece of a Complex Operation

These trades often rely on one another to complete critical pieces of a project. And building a new breakroom, quality monitoring station, or installing a new machine requires everyone to have the right tools. Manufacturing, operations, and administration must work together in the same way. When one area doesn’t have the right tools, production falls off. When none of them do, chaos ensues.

Tools for Supply Chain Planning

Like the jobs and tasks above, supply chain planning tools are required to optimize planning and produce accurate forecasts. Distribution, manufacturing, finance, procurement, and logistics must work together to complete production efficiently. And the right tools in demand and supply planning can make it all come together.

Shipping Status Alerts

With the threat of disruption looming around every corner, it helps to know when and where your raw materials are. Proactive reporting and real-time data enable planners to prepare for contingencies, manage expedited requirements, and focus on keeping the supply chain moving efficiently.

Order Processing

If you aren’t confident that order processing is correct, you won’t be able to plan for actual demand. With the right software, order management tasks are automated to reduce human error and alleviate tasks to free up planners to focus on core needs. EDI software helps automate POs and invoices, delays in transportation, and other functions to relieve a considerable burden on planners.

Inventory Management

As new disruptions emerge, the importance of supply chain planning has never been greater. New strategies, such as reshoring and nearshoring, have replaced traditional inventory strategies like lean warehousing. These changes are too overwhelming for companies to rely on manual data entry and human-based analysis.

Warehouse management and optimization software deploys technology to leverage real-time data for warehouse and inventory management. The software can optimize inventory to reduce cost and improve service performance using bar code scanners, pick routes, perpetual inventory, and FIFO and LIFO strategies.

Supplier Management

The days of verbal vendor agreements informal vendor arrangements for contracts, quality documentation, and vendor performance measurements are long gone. Supply chain management tools for supplier management are critical in industries with tight regulatory and compliance requirements, and with vendor management software, reduced errors mean accurate compliance and vendor performance.

Demand Forecasting

There was a time when demand forecasting was more art than science, and these aren’t those times. Demand shifts faster today, not only due to economic conditions and disruption but also due to rapidly changing consumer tastes. Demand forecasting tools are best harnessed with intuitive and best-in-class software. These systems turn guessing into accurate, data-driven insights and prescriptive details that point planners in the right direction using the company’s data.


With the rise of AI and advanced machine learning algorithms, analytics has become essential. Because analytics software operates faster than human analysis, it can uncover trends that may have been missed in the past. Analytics helps planners see the best direction and accurately forecast demand based on data. They also enable “what-if” contingency planning to navigate today’s complex environment.

Building the Perfect Toolbox

An old expression says, “When all you’ve got is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.” Lack of tools, a single tool, or the wrong tool can bring a business down. 

But with supply chain planning software from Plex DemandCaster, you have all the tools you need in a software suite. From demand and supply planning to inventory forecasting, optimization, and more, DemandCaster delivers the supply chain planning tools you need to do the job right.

Contact us today to learn how we can provide the tools you need for the job you do the most.

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