Lately, each new day in supply chain feels like a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment. Businesses are moving faster than ever. Consumers’ expectations are shifting. Global disruptions occur one after another with barely a moment to reset. As a result, supply chains are at an inflection point. The old ways of planning – cascaded, siloed, functionally optimized – have expired, driving the need for reinvention.
Attendees and speakers at our recent Big Ideas in Supply Chain Virtual Summit shared the shifts that are impacting their supply chains and how they are transforming to prepare for a competitive, fast-paced future. Check out our summary of key moments below or watch on-demand now.
Debunking the myths of supply chain planning
As we enter a new era of supply chain planning, companies are re-evaluating their beliefs. Kinaxis CEO John Sicard summarized the most common myths he hears in meetings with supply chain leaders and practitioners around the world.
Perhaps the most damaging? Improvement requires a large and disruptive digital transformation project. Change can be difficult, John admits, but it doesn’t have to be heavy-handed or unsettling. “Using agile sprints and leveraging industry best practices has proven to accelerate the journey, regardless of a company’s maturity level,” he says.
Mars: Flipping the supply chain script to make planners and consumers happy
Mars illustrates how ongoing transformation creates significant gains. Forecast accuracy improved by 30 to 35 percent after it adopted end-to-end planning, automation and a few early demand sensing capabilities. Before transformation, Mars’ biggest planning hurdles might sound familiar. Planners worked too hard, they had to touch every prediction or analysis, and all data was locked in Excel. Once planners had the transparency to see and understand what was happening across their factories, suppliers, contract manufacturers and customers, processes moved faster.
It gave them the capacity to include another key factor: the consumer. “Consumer choice is now driving demand, so no longer can our demand forecast not incorporate what the consumer might do,” says Will Beery, Vice President, Global Transformations.
Mars is now augmenting customer data sets with consumer inputs from social listening and geographical data around pandemic openings and closures. It will test AI algorithms at point of service in its next phase of transformation. It’s all part of a continuing process to enhance planning and the business.
Bell Flight: From planning around certainties to decision-making based on probabilities
For Bell, transformation came out of a desire to answer, “What If…?” After years of aiming for the perfect plan in a market that was relatively stable, operations shifted. Serial aircraft production was replaced by aftermarket programs to sustain existing fleets. At the same time, operations were preparing for high-volume production of new programs, which could launch at any time.
“We’ve abandoned the quest for that single, perfect, unchangeable plan and put more effort into modeling scenarios and improving the planning process,” says Mike Loeffler, Vice President, Materials Management. Bell stopped scenario planning in spreadsheets and enabled planners to run complex simulations in real-time with live ERP data. It increased connections across operations and sales to improve its integrated business planning, resulting in a faster, monthly SIOP cadence.
Today, decision-making is still based on answering the daily “what ifs,” but the confidence that underlies those decisions is much stronger – and decision-makers are ready to pivot at the slightest change.
Watch Big Ideas in Supply Chain on-demand
Are you ready to accelerate your supply chain transformation? You don’t have to miss out on insights from Mars, Bell, McKinsey or other supply chain leaders. Our Big Ideas in Supply Chain Virtual Summit sessions are available on-demand and ready to share with your supply chain peers and influencers.