How to Select Supply Chain Planning Software
Selecting the right supply chain planning technology isn’t simply about solving a current challenge. The implications are much broader–if you implement the wrong software, you hinder your organization’s overall supply chain strategy and business objectives. According to the 2021 Digital Transformation in Supply Chain Planning Survey, companies are increasing investment in digital planning technologies to help mitigate supply chain risk. Gartner’s report, “10 Steps to Select Supply Chain Planning Technology Effectively” offers advice for how to select supply chain planning software by understanding how all the different pieces of technology fit together, and following steps to ensure your SCP technology works for you and doesn’t become “shelfware”.
Laying the Groundwork Will Yield Better Results
Planning and preparation are paramount when beginning the planning software selection process. Your SCP technology must be robust enough to serve both present and future requirements. To increase your chances of success, don’t miss these crucial stages.
Identify Current and Future SCP Maturity:
It’s important to know your current maturity level and your future ambitions when looking into technology investments. To identify your organization’s starting position in relation to SCP, current maturity levels must be clearly articulated.
Identify Current and Future Technology Landscape:
Most organizations already have technology in place to support different parts of the supply chain activities. Identify which current technologies are being used and how the future technology landscape is envisioned. The SCP solution will need to coexist and integrate with a number of other solutions.
Resistance to Change Shouldn’t Hinder Your Ambitions
The 2020 Gartner State of Automation of Supply Chain Decision Making Survey showed that 20% of organizations indicate “resistance to change” as part of their top three challenges related to successfully achieving their supply chain planning automation goals. Implementing new supply chain planning software is not a one-and-done. It requires many changes for an organization. Not only is the system for doing the actual planning different, but the processes around it— tasks, planning concepts, organizational setups, decision authorities—must often also change. Involve and activate stakeholders before moving into the actual supply chain planning software selection.
Key Steps to Select Supply Chain Planning Software
Identifying key stakeholders early on in the process provides a holistic view on the key challenges and priorities. Typical duration of this process may range from four to six months.
Based on the to-be maturities and technology landscape identified, create an initial RFI document to help gather input on the potential different SCP providers in the market that might meet the business requirements.
Consider Proof of Concept (POC)
Many companies are using a POC as an alternative to RFI/RFP-based methods. A POC leverages your data, but it is conducted by the software vendor on their own software–before your purchasing decision. The proof of concept allows the organization to model how the software will help them reach their goals without the time and expense of an actual implementation.
Determine Vendor Longlist and Release RFI
Identify a longlist of vendors (up to 10) to approach with the RFI for more information.
Run Light Demo Sessions
Choose a number of vendors for a light demo session. This could be a one- to two-hour virtual session where you get an impression of the vendor and how their technology looks and feels.
Evaluate RFI and Determine Vendor Shortlist
Based on the RFI responses and the short demo sessions, reduce the number of vendors to a shortlist (no more than five vendors). Identify the vendors that potentially fit the functional and nonfunctional requirements for SCP technology and will best fit into the organization’s SCP roadmap and landscape.
Run Vendor Day(s) With Each Finalist
It’s a good idea to ask the finalist vendors for at least a day to spend going into the details of their solution with your evaluation team and answering remaining questions about the vendor company and/or technology.
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Gartner: 10 Steps to Select Supply Chain Planning Technology Effectively. 23 February 2021. Pia Orup Lund, Tim Payne