Supply Chain Planning: Process, Methods, and Strategies

5/15/18 2:09 AM

Within any given supply chain, it is important to be able to have the correct amount of materials, equipment and labor required to complete any given production, process or manufacturing order with optimal efficiency. Supply Chain Planning Process, Methods, and StrategiesTimely arrival and departure of these production assets is also vital in order to make certain that all inventory and labor are in the right place at the right time. This all comes down to what is, arguably, the most vital aspect of the supply chain - "supply chain planning."

Supply chain planning within a production facility or operation is the groundwork for the activity both inside and outside of the facility - and then there are multi-plant operations that requires planning for synchronization of disparate production plans. This is supply chain planning.

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 apple cart for the day's or week's 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:

  • Data Gathering - Precise figures and data allow for an insight into the supply chain. With up-to-minute and real-time data, critical resolutions can be made sooner.
  • Lean Principles - Just-in-time supply management enables a decrease in inventory cost. Fulfillment of orders and overhead cost will be eradicated, allowing for inventory to have a much more steady flow.
  • Increased Visibility - Supply chains often contain inevitable mishaps such as waste and miscalculation. An increase in operational visibility can reduce the amount of missing inventory or out of spec waste. It adds-up and efficient handling of these losses to efficiency can require a male-up plan in order to meet production.
  • Standardization - Obtaining an ERP system that enables efficiency growth will help the supply chain in the short and long run by increasing revenue. Along with a planning system, locating a software that is comprehensible within a team promotes overall coalition and will curtail mistakes in the future.

There is a fair amount to account for in the planning process of supply chain. A multitude of facilities, if not all, are looking for ways to become better prepared for unforeseen obstacles and circumstances in their supply chains and similar challenges within their own respective location in the supply chain of their clients. Without some sort of a comprehensive plan, a facility might completely fail at order fulfillment; production suffers when the first unforeseen hurdle presents itself. This is exactly why obtaining an ERP system or system add-on that has suitable planning and production scheduling that can achieve the amount of comprehensive planning required is vital to profitability and timely order fulfillment. ERPs, typically, only go so far.

Facility wants and needs may not entirely match-up with any given in-house ERP system; therefore locating appropriate add-ons, such as advanced planning and scheduling systems (APS) can tend to fill gaps in those operational wants and needs that may be lacking. With an advanced planning and scheduling system, it can extend a given ERP system into a full-on supply chain planning and scheduling system for supply chain management (SCM). APS systems augment ERP systems with predictive analysis, simulations, and what-if scenario construction is one versatile feature of some APS systems offer, yet most ERP systems tend to lack with fine detail. APS systems tend to benefit production operations substantially through improved delivery performance, profitability, and reductions in inventory and labor cost. 

Do you need an ERP add-on for planning and scheduling amid your supply chain? You are not alone.

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

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