Managing supply chain processes on a single platform has its benefits. A single product that combines disparate software functions can provide visibility across the supply chain, respond to dynamic conditions, and track vital operating efficiencies. Organizations benefiting that way become more transparent and efficient.

A single source model that has integrated analytical capability, and is accessible through a common user portal, can initiate timely responses and improve decisions based on forecast.

Why integrated applications

Across the world, value chains are complex, often out of sync and partly outsourced. In the last few years, clients have been more demanding, allowed shorter development cycles, and expected greater product complexity from manufacturing companies. Supply chains are facing a dramatic rise in disruption and risk events as well. But integrated applications help curtail costs, improve demand visibility, and quicken planning processes. As a result, supply chains have the chance to become lean and start taking up demand-driven initiatives.

The current scenario in S&OP involves:

  • Cross-functional processes with external stakeholders and trading partners
  • Distant horizons in tactical and strategic planning
  • Complex coordination for desired business outcomes

S&OP success is often obstructed by poor organizational alignment, lack of executive support, and competing priorities. That suggests it is high time for integrated S&OP tools.

How does an integrated S&OP process work?

An integrated S&OP application ensures synchronization across interrelated processes such as demand planning, supply planning, capacity building, and inventory management. To keep pace with rapidly changing marketing conditions, the imperative is choosing an S&OP tool that aligns intimately with the organization’s goals. Bespoke IT services have proved to be highly conducive for the purpose, as they focus on unique workflow models and goals specific to their clients.

An S&OP application based on a single analytical engine can:

  • Smoothen out interactions between supply chain processes
  • Look beyond data such as orders, work in progress, inventory, etc., to include calculated performance outcomes such as shortages, excess/obsolete inventory, margin projections, revenue projections, etc.
  • Provide an analytical model that can represent historical, present, and future data to help detect mistakes and opportunities
  • Synch with ERP analytics for its data to reflect any change in the demand-supply network
  • Provide templates that help guarantee every link in the S&OP chain follows time schedules and dependencies associated with cross-functional processes
  • Ensure that the current S&OP plan reflects the most recent decisions and developments

What do companies gain from such a process?

Many world-leading companies have transformed by embracing integrated planning environments. Their takeaways include:

  • Visibility of a multi-tier demand-supply chain
  • Planned long and short-term demand and supply chain
  • Supply chain risk identification and mitigation
  • Financial and operational management
  • What-if analysis and execution

Manufacturers need to avoid combining niche supply chain solutions with incongruent modules. System integrator services are in high demand, as the global manufacturing sector needs to gain better syncing, improve efficiency, and increase profit margins. Early adopters of supply chain integration have shown great results. Cumbersome planning methods used earlier are being abandoned, even in small-scale manufacturing units. All said, it is important to remember that the latest IT implementations by system integrators fetch the best results when they are integrated with enterprise software platforms.

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