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Here’s How to Make Your Next Supply Chain Software Evaluation Agile Instead of Agonizing

By Jennifer Randall1 Dec 2020

Remember 12 months ago, when we were all merrily celebrating Thanksgiving and starting our Christmas shopping, blissfully unaware of what was awaiting us just around the corner in 2020? No one could have predicted the year we’ve had, and now our 2021 plans are infused with a healthy dose of what we’ve learned about supply chain disruption and response—and how we will all do things better next time around.

Digitization is no longer a “when we get to it” thing—businesses around the world are accelerating their plans for digital supply chain planning (SCP) to better respond to inevitable economic uncertainty and disruption. This will lead to a growing trend of businesses replacing older SC planning and execution software with modern SaaS technology (1). But who has a year to decide how to act? Fortunately, there’s a better way. The Gartner report, Drive Agility in Supply Chain Planning Technology Assessment to Accelerate Digital Business argues that traditional processes for assessing supply chain planning technology are not fast or flexible enough to match the speed of digital business. It’s time for supply chain leaders like you to take bold action to improve your supply chain software evaluation process.

 

How do you keep pace with digital supply chain requirements?

Modernize yesterday’s slow, unfocused assessment methods

The old methods of evaluating supply chain planning software just aren’t a good fit for the pace of today’s digital business. It’s time to instill speed, focus and agility into the selection process. One way to do this is to adopt what Gartner calls a “bimodal strategy”. In simple terms this means that the organization employs two separate work methods: one focused on everyday, predictable use and one focused on exploring the new and improved methods that will solve the challenges of tomorrow.

An agile assessment model can accommodate both modes and ensure the technology selected will support a bimodal practice. A great way to do this is to incorporate a pilot, or POC (proof of concept) into your evaluation process. This will help you validate the business case and assess if the technology will help you meet your objectives.

 

Speed up your technology selection process to keep up with the pace of digital business

Increasing adoption of technologies such as machine learning/AI automation, digital twins, and cloud-based applications are making end users and vendors rethink how they will support digital supply chains. Which technologies will support your goals? What technology foundation will you lay today to prepare you for the future? The report explains that technology assessments need to consider both modes in tandem and carefully consider new hyped-up technologies’ business value before adopting them just for technology’s sake.

 

Use a structured and iterative approach to SCP technology implementations for best results

Your team doesn’t work in a vacuum, so neither should your assessment process. Gartner explains that, “To support the digital planning journey, an organization needs to take into account the complex system of interdependent components of its operating model. With any change—one component will have an impact on another—like a ripple effect.” Pilots are also a great way to dig deep into the planning software to make certain you focus on high-priority areas first, and to help ensure you’re only biting off a little bit of “transformation” at a time during your implementation.

 

 

At ToolsGroup we understand the importance of an agile and data-driven software assessment. Try our tools to help you build a powerful business case for service-driven planning:

Online Benefit Calculator

Try our online benefit calculator for a fast, accurate estimate of your supply chain planning opportunity in the areas of revenue, net profit, inventory reduction and inventory holding cost.

 

Guided Supply Chain Assessment

The guided assessment service provides a rapid assessment of supply chain health and delivers practical and quantifiable evidence of opportunity for improved business outcomes

 

ToolsGroup Optimizes Inventory to Increase Service Levels

 

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document.

Gartner: Drive Agility in Supply Chain Planning Technology Assessment to Accelerate Digital Business. November 2019. Analysts: Alex Pradhan, C. Klappich

Other sources:
1. Forecast Analysis: Supply Chain Management Software, 2Q20 Update, Published 14 August 2020. Analysts Balaji Abbabatulla, Amarendra ., Neha Gupta

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