Create network planners to reimagine and redefine supply chains

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Create network planners to reimagine and redefine supply chains

The supply chain sector is constantly striving to innovate and to redesign the work that is performed. In doing so, there will be opportunities to redefine the purpose for those that currently work within our supply chain, as well as for those who previously worked in other functions. For example, as food service opportunities dwindle, the chance to drive and deliver everything from groceries to fast food is growing.

Yet, with the advancement and transferability of experiences happening throughout the supply chain industry, the role of the planner often looks remarkably like what it has always been. Instead of rehashing the repetitive and mundane tasks of old, supply chain can do better by enabling the role of the network planner.

Reimagine the planning model

Redefining the planner’s role starts with reimagining the planning model. Kinaxis co-founder and fellow Duncan Klett suggests converging demand management, planning and execution into a single, concurrent process. That means the process of predicting what customers will need is directly linked to the resources that are already and expected to be available, which then allows for the execution of resource and supply actions.

Or, as Duncan says, “Ideally, all participants in a supply chain know what is happening, what is expected and therefore what to do for smooth operation. As soon as something changes, all levels also know about the change and can therefore adjust their actions accordingly.”

From there, a reimagined model can then be aligned to individual motivations. In its Global Job Confidence Index 2020, supply chain and logistics recruitment firm DSJ Global finds that almost half of those in supply chain are satisfied with their current job.

However, in that same report, they found that only a third of employees say they are likely to stay with their current employer over the next six months. Salary increases in new positions are part of the reason why, but other factors are also motivating employees. In both the US and EMEA, employees are seeking to grow their career, particularly through new and challenging opportunities.

Redefine the role

To facilitate the challenging opportunities that are desired, give planners access to the data, people and processes that will enable them to solve problems in real-time. Purposefully break the silos and empower them, as suggested by an EY and Kinaxis whitepaper, to become “network planners with a network-wide view of both demand and supply considerations, and the impact of their demand and supply decisions.”

By encouraging them to act on the data available in response to the circumstances of any given moment, the whitepaper says that network planners will be “more productive, engaged, and willing to see supply chain planning as a career rather than a dead-end job. It will also allow companies to address their supply chain talent shortage by using existing resources more effectively.”

With the implementation of the network planer role, people and companies will both benefit. Individuals will be perpetually challenged to make the decisions that will create the most value for the business in each moment. Supply chains will quickly see the business results generated, as well as see the growth.

The creation of the network planner role will make the vision for future success a reality today by bringing together people, processes and technology within a reimagined supply chain.

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