Supply Chain Planning: Process, Methods, and Strategies

1/18/21 12:00 AM

A major challenge within any given supply chain is adequately coordinating its various components so that you have the correct amount of materials, equipment capacity, and labor required to complete production with optimal efficiency.

To do this, you must coordinate the timely arrival and departure of the various production assets to ensure that all inventory and labor resources are in the right place at the right time. This comes down to what is, arguably, the most essential aspect of the supply chain: supply chain planning.
supply chain planning process and methodsSupply chain planning is the process of anticipating demand and planning materials and components to supply that demand, along with production, marketing, distribution, and sales. It ensures that all parts of the organization, from materials purchasing, operation scheduling, to shipping and delivery are working together.

Supply chain planning within a production facility or operation is the groundwork for the activity both inside and outside of the facility. Multi-Plant operations have an added challenge in the process of supply chain planning as they require planning and synchronization of disparate production plans.

Without a comprehensive operations plan for production, the operation does not have proper foresight and coverage established for all of the potential "what-ifs" that are capable of occurring. A proper operations plan can provide contingency sub-plans for common points of failure. Equipment malfunctions, weather, personnel absenteeism can all upset the production output. Finding ways to further enhance supply chain planning methods can benefit a facility enormously.

Supply Chain Planning Strategies, Methods, and Process

Supply Chain Planning strategies and methods include:

  • Demand Planning - One of the very first steps involved in supply chain planning is demand planning. Knowing what the demand for your products will be can be a challenging feat in and of itself as there is growing demand volatility in the market. However, this is necessary as demand will tell you how much material, resource capacity, labor resources, etc required for production.
  • Lean Principles - Successful supply chain planning provides an opportunity for your organization to employ some lean scheduling principles. Lean manufacturing looks to reduce waste in all areas of the company with the goal to only produce what is required when it is needed. Supply chain planning can help this as it coordinates multiple departments and increases visibility between them so you can be assured that you have just the right amount of materials you need for production. Just-In-time supply management allows for a decrease in inventory costs as the fulfillment of orders and overhead costs will be eradicated.
  • Increased Visibility - One of the main challenges in supply chain planning is ensuring that there is sufficient visibility in every department to prevent waste and miscalculations. PlanetTogether’s Advanced Planning and Scheduling software aims to increase visibility within your manufacturing operations by displaying the impact of changes made to the production plan as new orders are added or expedited. This keeps everyone on the same page.
  • Standardization - Implementing standard processes in supply chain planning will further reduce the errors and inefficiencies that can arise. Obtaining an ERP system that enables growth will help the supply chain in the short and long run by increasing revenue. Along with an ERP system, an Advanced Planning and Scheduling system can go beyond the planning element by coordinating demand, forecasts, inventory data, resource and labor capacity, and material availability to create an optimized production schedule. 

Supply chain planning is an intricate process that requires coordination, visibility, and synchronization of multiple departments and components of the supply chain. With proper supply chain planning, you will be on you way to improve your operations and eliminate delays in delivery. Without a comprehensive plan, facilities may fail at order fulfillment and production facility suffers when the first unforeseen hurdle arrives. 

That is why many manufacturing operations use a collection of of planning and scheduling softwares to help them handle these challenges. An Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) is necessary to handle comprehensive planning to ensure the profitability and timely order fulfillment of the company. PlanetTogether's APS system goes beyond the commonly-used ERP systems by augmenting them with predictive analytics, simulations, and 'what-if' scenario planning. APS system tend to benefit production operations substantially through improved delivery performance, profitability, and reductions in inventory and labor costs.

The use of an Advanced Planning and Scheduling software allows you to concurrently create a production plan and schedule that takes into consideration all of the constraints, sequencing preferences, and management priorities you have. PlanetTogether is an essential tool for supply chain planning as it will allow you to coordinate your material purchasing, capacity loads, staffing, and demands.


We now have a consistent tool for our planning and scheduling that is used by most of the departments from supervisors, production planners, purchasing, IT staff, and management.



Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software

Advanced Planning and Scheduling Softwares have become a must for modern-day manufacturing operations as customer demand for increased product assortment, fast delivery, and downward cost pressures become prevalent. These systems help planners save time while providing greater agility in updating ever-changing priorities, production schedules, and inventory plans. APS Systems can be quickly integrated with an ERP/MRP software to fill the gaps where these systems lack planning and scheduling flexibility, accuracy, and efficiency.

With PlanetTogether APS you can:

  • Create optimized schedules that balance production efficiency and delivery performance
  • Maximize throughput on bottleneck resources to increase revenue
  • Synchronize supply with demand to reduce inventories
  • Provide company-wide visibility to resource capacity
  • Enable scenario data-driven decision making

The implementation of an Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software will take your manufacturing operations to the next level of production efficiency by taking advantage of the operational data you already possess in your ERP system. APS is a step in the right direction of efficiency and lean manufacturing production enhancement. Try out a free trial or demo!

Related Supply Chain Video 

 APS Resources

Topics: Factory Scheduling, Lean Manufacturing, production planning, APS, supply chain, control design, scheduling, JIT, IoT, sequencing, planner, enterprise resource planning, Demand Forecasting


Download the APS Shootout Results


PlanetTogether APS: A GPS System for your Supply Chain - See Video

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all
Download Free eBook
Download Free APS Implementation Guide
Download Free ERP Performance Review