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The Nine Top Supply Chain Planning User Concerns

By Jeff Bodenstab2 Oct 2018

Gartner’s most recent Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning System of Record (21 August 2018, Amber Salley, Tim Payne, and Alex Pradha) calls out the concerns most often cited by users. These are the nine key issues users want to see addressed:

  1. Too much planner intervention and not enough automation, resulting in low planner productivity
  2. Not getting timely plans/scenarios — plans are out of date by the time the planner sees them
  3. SCP systems are not performing or scaling enough at the enterprise level, let alone at the multi-enterprise level
  4. Planning is not granular enough to identify the real impact of execution events as they happen; resolution and time bucket aggregations obscure the real detail
  5. Inability to support execution of the agreed upon business strategy — there is a lack of automation, business rules and prioritizations in dealing with execution events, increasing the risk of decisions that deviate from corporate goals
  6. Planning is too isolated from the execution environment — there is latency in decision making while waiting for the plan to update overnight or over the weekend
  7. Hard to get people to use and/or collaborate in the SCP system
  8. Still too much Excel being used. Having to force-fit the SCP system’s process design to the organization, which limits process improvement opportunities
  9. Hard to try new ways of doing things.

Gartner says that these issues combined with increased demand and supply chain volatility “is driving many SCP technology providers to rethink their planning solutions. Consequently, the SCP market has reached a tipping point after years of relatively slow evolution” and several technology trends have evolved to address these user and market needs. Specifically Gartner cites the following market trends in response to user needs:

  1. Consolidation and/or rewriting of previously separate modules into single unified planning solutions covering all major functional blocks and aiding organizational horizontal and vertical integration (integrated business planning) underpinned by E2E SCP visibility
  2. Increasing use of cloud platforms to deliver scale, integration, collaboration and multi-enterprise capabilities to users. The emergence of public/community clouds in SCP hasn’t started to any great extent yet — it is primarily private clouds.
  3. The trend to explore the more extensive use of in-memory computing to help with planning speed, granularity and model adaptability. And the use of high-speed hybrid transactional/ analytical processing (HTAP) capabilities to help drive convergence between planning and execution, and to ready SCP for connection with the Internet of Things
  4. The use of Excel-like user interfaces to bolster and aid user adoption
  5. The use of advanced predictive and prescriptive analytics not only to drive process automation and increased insight from planning and transactional data inside and outside of the organization, but also to help better cope with increasing levels of volatility
  6. The increasing emphasis on respond planning capabilities at an E2E level, as opposed to functional (for example, manufacturing scheduling or available to promise), to support simulations across the supply chain to identify appropriate resolutions in the short term
  7. The evolution of more configurable solutions capable of adapting to the changing needs of the organization and its supply chain over time (for example, hybrid insource and outsource models, mergers and acquisitions, and new channels and business models)
  8. The increasing use of consumer-grade technologies (for example, technology used by the likes of Yahoo!, Facebook and LinkedIn) to support scale, performance and adaptability
  9. The increased use of mobility capabilities to support use of consumer-grade devices for collaboration, field support and overall adoption
  10. re-balancing of planning capabilities toward more “respond” and “configure” planning capabilities in support of abilities such as the ability to respond more directly to actual near-real-time demand signals

Gartner says that these factors should translate into a set of evaluation criteria to help users identify the most appropriate SCP solutions for their requirements, ”because an SCP SOR is a sizable, long-term investment.”

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