Automation in S&OP Why You Should Consider It

Automation in S&OP: Why You Should Consider It

Are modern supply chains too complex to be managed manually?

Take a look at your supply chain sales and operations planning (S&OP) and see for yourself. Are you able to tap into past data to create sales forecasts? Does your supply chain data let you create accurate supply/demand planning models? Or are you stuck shooting at metrics in the dark without reliable ways to create and validate your forecasts?

The Impact of Supply Chain Optimization

If your company doesn’t have a handle on these processes, you might be falling behind. Supply chain optimization, from demand planning to inventory to vendor management, relies on innovation and forward-thinking approaches that keep you one step ahead of your competitors. In fact, system flexibility in supply chain processes is fast becoming a key point of competitive advantage, as described in Forbes’ review of supply chain trends in 2019:

“The highly variable characteristics of today’s e-commerce industry are causing retailers and other distribution operations to seek out more adaptable and scalable solutions.”

And clearly, these trends move fast. Back in 2017, Information Services Group (ISG) predicted that by 2019, 72% of businesses would be using robotic process automation (RPA) to cut costs and boost productivity. On average, businesses that tapped into RPA cut costs by 32% for their vendor management systems, talent management, and recruiting processes. 

So, how does that prediction hold up today?

Modern Supply Chain Automation

Modern supply chain optimization tools might be more advanced than you think. Two of the more exciting areas of advancement in supply chain optimization have to be artificial intelligence and machine learning. As Supply Chain Digital describes, these algorithmic approaches are making great strides in how supply chain operators manage their data collection, classification, and analysis.  

These automated tools offer particular value for your core business processes, including your S&OP.

Supply / Demand Planning

Supply chain optimization platforms offer supply and demand planning tools that measure historical data, customer behaviors, and shipment data to build predictive models. This proactive approach supports better forecasting and inventory management, but it also helps you corral the demand volatility issues known to detract from supply chain profitability. 

Complete Supply Chain Visibility

S&OP automation means digging into your existing supply chain processes and unearthing the inefficiencies holding you back. For example, your current CRM may not be integrated with your transportation/warehousing vendor systems, or even the other sales systems you’re using in-house. This creates silos in your supply chain that prevent meaningful data exchange. 

But with modern supply chain resource planning tools, you can redefine the way your data collection platforms integrate with your vendors. By staying connected to their systems, you eliminate these silos and gain more insight into performance indicators, such as transportation performance, on-time delivery rates, warehousing capabilities, expedites, and more. 

Improve S&OP Through Smarter Supply Chains

As a core business process, you rely on regular, repeatable S&OP processes that keep your company on track with its long-term goals. And among the wealth of supply chain optimization tools available to operators today, automation offers the best potential for cost reduction and better productivity, all in one move. Take a look at your supply chain and ask yourself whether your processes are as streamlined as they could be. If there’s room for improvement, we encourage you to check out a free demo of the ketteQ platform.