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Using Digital Supply Chain Planning to Respond to Market-Changing Disruptions like COVID-19

ToolsGroup

With supply chain planning software you can automate the achievement of service levels, even under changing constraints resulting from major disruptions.

Is Your Supply Chain ‘Ready for Anything’?

ToolsGroup

Over the years we’ve built strong relationships with hundreds of global companies, and we hear the same challenges again and again: they can’t accurately plan for intermittent demand, they’ve got too much capital tied up in inventory, and their planners are overwhelmed by data management and complicated math. In an ever-changing global economy with all its unexpected twists and turns, supply chain leaders are looking for a way to be ready for anything the real world throws at them. That’s why we announced a new brand identity here at ToolsGroup last week: ‘Be ready for anything.’ To us, this encapsulates more than an ideal — it’s an imperative for ourselves and our customers. When we can rapidly and efficiently respond to whatever surprises tomorrow brings, we ensure a higher degree of supply chain stability in today’s interconnected, global world. (And add more dollars to your bottom line.). How? . It boils down to three essential supply chain capabilities: Predict, Protect and Perform. Predict. The ability to predict more behaviors is critical to accurate forecasting. The nuances of demand across items, locations and time frames makes traditional demand forecasting little better than a guessing game. Layer on uncontrollable factors like weather and third-party promotions, and the picture becomes even less clear. . The key to bringing your planning back into focus lies in evolving beyond single-number forecasts. By offering a range of predicted outcomes with varying levels of probability, we give you the flexibility to follow the model, or make calculated trade-offs based on your business priorities. . Protect. The real world doesn’t follow the rules — which is why no prediction will be 100% accurate all the time. The companion to optimized prediction capabilities is the foresight to protect against inevitable surprises. By defining your specific service goals and balancing them against business objectives like minimizing working capital and maximizing profit margins, you can determine optimal levels of safety stock to keep on hand in the event of unanticipated changes. . ToolsGroup’s self-learning platform is continually refining its accuracy, and helps eliminate bias introduced by human decision-making. The algorithm becomes more accurate over time, and safeguards institutional knowledge through its accumulation of data. The use of an automated tool also allows you to react faster to unexpected events and recalibrate your model to reflect changing realities, such as: Sporadic demand and escalating SKUs. New product introductions. Shifting product trends and internet-ignited crazes. Acquisitions and divestiture. Tariffs and trade wars. New partners and channels . Tighter service level requirements. The next S&OP meeting. Perform . Optimizing your predictions and determining the right amount of safety stock to protect against the unexpected gives your operations a solid foundation. By optimizing replenishment cycles and honing the logistics of moving inventory across your network, you can reduce excess inventory and minimize losses stemming from product obsolescence. Be Ready for Anything. What does this look like in practice? . Like beating the world at its own game. Outdoor products manufacturer Thule faced growing distribution complexity and challenges due to the seasonal nature of its products, creating intermittent demand and a slow-moving spare parts inventory. . Working with ToolsGroup and its partner, Optilon, Thule implemented automated forecasting that created a higher-quality demand planning process, and was able to increase service levels from below 80% to 92% over two years in spite of booming sales and SKU growth. In the process, they lowered inventories, and have set a goal of 15% inventory reduction. . Aston Martin, renowned for its luxury sports cars for over a century, faced a challenge when increasing international demand prompted its board to raise first time availability targets for its parts across all car categories from 95% to 97%, without increasing inventory. Already a ToolsGroup customer, Aston Martin approached ToolsGroup with this new goal and within two months had raised service levels to 97.1% and reduced inventory by 18%. The global kitchen and bathroom equipment company, Franke, had grown from a one-person workshop a century ago to an international company with operations in 40 countries. This growth came with a lot of supply chain complexity, with 12 production facilities, four echelons, and over 125,000 SKUs managed through 17 different ERP systems. . Franke was able to integrate ToolsGroup’s planning automation software with its SAP system to unify the planning process and offer better service. Forecast and demand planning time has been reduced by 50%, with greater accuracy and an eight point reduction in MAPE. . Start Today. It’s no secret — with the ability to Predict, Protect and Perform, you can future-proof your business and respond swiftly and efficiently to supply chain disruptions. And that means you’re ready for anything the real world throws your way. Blog Featured supply chain planning

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What Is Demand Sensing and How Do You Get Started?

ToolsGroup

“Good old supply chain. It just gets simpler every year!”. said no VP of supply chain ever. . We’ve created quite a monster with all the sophisticated tools we use to influence demand with pricing, new product introductions and promotions. Internet-fed trends are changing at hyper-speed.

How to Find Business Opportunities Amid the Coronavirus Supply Chain Crisis

ToolsGroup

Here are ideas for grasping opportunities in the midst of the Coronavirus supply chain challenges. The coronavirus’ supply chain and business impacts are being felt around the world and in our backyards: this strange time is slamming markets, causing confusion and changing patterns of normality. A common reaction seems to be to close shop, hoard toilet paper and canned goods and expect the worst. These events surprise us every few years.

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New Planning Maturity Assessment

In today's new supply chain paradigm, resilience and agility are key. Is your planning process fit enough to keep up with the pace of change? Is your tech stack helping or hindering your progress? Take AIMMS's new quiz to uncover learnings and benchmark yourself against peers!

Overcome Manufacturing Supply Chain Challenges with Digital Planning

ToolsGroup

The manufacturing industry has a strong heritage of adopting game-changing technologies to deliver higher quality products more efficiently. With the introduction of digital supply chains, the industry is moving into an era arguably on par with the industrial revolution.

Business Intelligence vs. Inventory Optimization: Are You Solving Symptoms Instead of the Real Problem?

ToolsGroup

In my decades of working in replenishment and inventory optimization, I’ve noticed that many companies seek solutions to symptoms rather than the underlying problem. I want to let you in on a secret: software companies are happy to sell you something you don’t need.

A Different Solution to the Supply Chain Talent Shortage

ToolsGroup

“78% of respondents to Gartner’s most recent Chief Supply Chain Officer Survey identify talent as the No. 1 long-term supply chain risk”. There is a lot of documented evidence of a shortage in supply chain talent. Why is it happening?

Five Things You Need to Know about Inventory Optimization in the Digital Age

ToolsGroup

With all the buzz around digital transformation, someone peering in from outside supply chain may assume most businesses have already digitized essential tasks like inventory planning. The reality is that this transformation takes time and a change of mindset.

Another Way to Think About Supply Chain Risk Management

ToolsGroup

In a previous blog we described a new concept introduced by Gartner Research about the need for both macro-agility and micro-agility. Now we apply this same macro-agility and micro-agility concept to risk management.

Coronavirus and Your Supply Chain

Speaker: Rob Handfield, PhD, Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at NC State University

Join this informative webinar with Rob Handfield, Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at NC State University, who will go over how the Coronavirus has impacted supply chains, as well as discussing approaches for preparing your supply chain for future outbreaks of major global disruptions. The world is becoming a riskier place, and it is important to plan for disasters ahead of time.

The Franke Story: Three Points to Learn about Supply Chain Complexity

ToolsGroup

Nowadays everyone’s writing and speaking about supply chain complexity , but not many are talking about how to turn around all that complexity and variability for business advantage.

Supply Chain Planning BPO: What’s Driving It and Should You Get On Board?

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You know that great feeling you get when you have an expert getting the job done? More and more businesses are hopping on the outsourcing bus and letting the experts take the wheel to drive supply chain planning processes.

How to Make Supply Chain Complexity Work to Your Advantage

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With supply chain complexity increasing at an unprecedented rate, perhaps the biggest challenge for businesses is figuring out how to navigate this uncertainty to deliver service profitably. Amazon sells more than 3 billion products through 11 different country marketplaces globally. In the U.S.

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How Supply Chain Planning Can Create Profit in a Declining Market

ToolsGroup

When a business finds itself in a declining market, failing to stay in lock step with customer demand poses an existential threat. Trends and other market forces that impact commercial opportunities need to appear on the planning radar.

5 Perceptions on Demand Forecasting and How it's Changing

Speaker: Brian Dooley, Director SC Navigator, AIMMS

It’s no secret that demand is getting more difficult to predict. Is your demand forecasting process evolving with the times? How does your process stack up against others? Are you satisfied with your level of forecast accuracy? This webinar shares research findings from a recent survey among supply chain planning professionals to help you answer these questions.

Quick Start Guide to Using Machine Learning for Demand Planning

ToolsGroup

Anyone who has done demand planning knows it is extremely complex, with forecasting challenges and rapidly shifting consumer demand, often exacerbated by seasonality, new product introductions, promotions, and myriad causal factors (e.g. weather, social media).

Digital Transformation in Supply Chain Planning: Barrier or Enabler?

ToolsGroup

Study shows most companies are still formulating and gaining support for a digital strategy, and fear of change is the biggest roadblock. By George Fowler, group vice president, Spinnaker Supply Chain. Has your company initiated a digital transformation initiative?

Four Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Inventory Planning and Sustainability

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You can’t scan the headlines without coming across an article or advertisement about sustainability, but there is precious little information about how supply chain planning software supports green initiatives.

Robots in the Building: The Positive Influence of AI for Supply Chain Planners

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Have you looked at a job listing for a supply chain planner recently? The planner’s role has expanded to include a combination of technical skills and communications and interpersonal skills.

Point-of-Danger ICE Raids and Audits

Speaker: Max Muller, Attorney and Author

Supply chain managers should constantly be on guard against forces that could cause a significant point-of-failure in or to their supply chains. The sudden loss of a workforce is an evolving danger to those who provide raw materials, subassemblies, finished goods, and/or necessary services to supply chains; and to entities requiring those items or services. Join Max Muller for this timely, fast-paced and guidance rich webinar that will educate you on the specific steps involved in undertaking your own internal audit, as well as providing you with guidance on what your major and/or sole source suppliers should do as well.

How Procter & Gamble is thriving on supply chain complexity

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Source: Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference. Procter & Gamble (P&G) is known for best-in-class supply chain planning.

Keeping It Local: How Shorter Supply Chains Impact Supply Chain Planning

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After decades of longer and more global supply chains, some are becoming shorter and more localized. This trend has important implications to supply chain planning. But first let’s take a look at the factors driving this change. . Contracting Supply Chains. .

Which supply chain planning processes should we automate?

ToolsGroup

Now that more companies are embracing supply chain planning productivity and automation, many firms are asking which processes they should automate. Let's first address that question and then look at where this trend is heading in the future.

With Brexit Looming, New Supply Chain Requirements Emerge

ToolsGroup

On October 31st, the United Kingdom will leave the EU, with or without an exit deal. This, combined with the 2019 EU election results that changed the political landscape, opens speculation regarding this alternative reality, and what requirements it would put on companies in the EU.

How is Demand Forecasting changing? How do you compare to your peers?

AIMMS conducted research to assess how supply chain teams perceive the accuracy of their forecast and discover the tools and techniques they are using to upgrade the forecasting process. In this report, you will find helpful benchmarks and insights offered by your peers on the latest demand forecasting techniques, forecast granularity and periodicity, and expectations for the future.

Supply Chain Predictions 2020: Uncertainty Demands Resilience

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It’s been an interesting decade for supply chain: just when you think things can’t get any crazier, a new extreme weather event, political drama or tech start-up pops up, disrupting entire industries.

Demand Planning Apps Top Supply Chain Planning Machine Learning

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Source: Gartner 2018. Gartner recently polled both users and vendors on which supply chain planning (SCP) applications are employing machine learning and in three different analysis, demand planning and demand forecasting came out top of the list.

‘Tis the Season to Make Sense of Seasonal Demand with Machine Learning

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Demand forecasting augmented by machine learning helps you better meet customer expectations with reduced inventory investment . By Alex Achour.

Why the Forecast for Supply Chain Planning has been Only Partly Cloudy

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Cloud-based supply chain planning is gaining traction. Each year more users opt for cloud-based systems and there is a lot of support in the analyst community.

Top 5 Barriers to Supply Chain Network Design Adoption and How to Overcome Them

Speaker: Brian Dooley, Director SC Navigator, AIMMS, and Paul van Nierop, Supply Chain Planning Specialist, AIMMS

Want to build your internal capability, reduce costs and make better decisions? It's easier than you think. This on-demand webinar shares research findings from Supply Chain Insights, including the top 5 obstacles that bog you down when trying to improve your network design efforts.

The Three “Habits” for Successful IoT Implementations

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Editor’s note: Due to the upcoming holidays, this will be our last blog for 2018. The next posting will be on January 8 th , 2019.

Four Ways Blockchain Will Transform Supply Chain…and Beyond

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Public ledgers dating to the Italian Renaissance may help us see the potential of today’s blockchain technology for data accessibility. .

Gartner Questions Supply Chain “Control Towers”

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Gartner says that future supply chain planning will look less like a "control tower" and more like a refinery "control room'" with many value-added analytics that automate, guide and control the supply chain.

Supply Chain Planning in Emerging Markets: Four Points to Remember

ToolsGroup

Supply chain planning in emerging markets is different. And while each market can be unique, we found a few repeating themes in our own experience and from sources including Gartner and our customers Procter and Gamble (P&G) and Cipla Medpro. Here’s what we found: 1.

Buyer's Guide for Supply Chain Network Design Software

Network design as a discipline is complex and too many businesses are still relying on spreadsheets to design and optimize their supply chain. As a result, most organizations struggle to answer network design questions or test hypotheses in weeks, when results are demanded in hours. This Buyer’s Guide helps you find easy-to-use technology to become more proactive and less reactive when it comes to network design and optimization.