ManufacturingAugust 26, 2020

Is Your Planning System Mature Enough?

In the past, when supply chains weren’t as complex as they are right now, planning with spreadsheets was just fine, But now?
Avatar Susanne Lammers
Planning system via spreadsheets.

In the past, when supply chains weren’t as complex as they are right now, planning your routes with spreadsheets was probably just fine. You had one or more Excel experts who built a spreadsheet and kept it up to date. But then, your expert left the company and you lose the one person who knows how to work and adjust the carefully-crafted system that plans all your operations. Or your company started growing, your operations expanded across multiple sites, resources and products. New technologies were introduced and the high demands of your customers kept rising. Your spreadsheets became extremely large and couldn’t cope with new types of business.

Spreadsheets and legacy planning tools were never made to solve today’s complexities. Omni-channel logistics, global trade, electric vehicles, low emission zones, same or next day delivery, cold chain logistics, reverse logistics are just a few of the factors that contribute to the complexity of today’s supply chains. The fierce competition and rising demands of customers have put a lot of pressure on the planning department, making it almost impossible for them to find the right balance between customer satisfaction and cost. This cost impact is often invisible with the spreadsheet approach. The spreadsheet approach creates an inflexible plan, that typically satisfies the stores’ wishes. However, the cost of this approach is typically invisible. So either your operational costs have a negative impact on your bottom line, or your customers are unhappy because you cannot deliver in time. They then run off to your competitor to see if they are able to meet their expectations.

So, if you are working for a large company and relying on spreadsheet planning to plan your transport, the answer to my question in the title is a clear “no”. No matter how experienced your planner may be, there is always a limit to the number and complexity of operations one, or even a few people, can juggle before the strain on the spreadsheet becomes apparent.

The good news is that your desired level of supply chain planning and optimization maturity is probably faster and easier to reach than you imagined.

Dassault Systemes’ DELMIA Quintiq Logistics Planner offers an all-in-one solution for logistics planning. It is designed to provide a multitude of industry-relevant capabilities out-of-the box, and can be configured to provide a perfect fit to your business.

The more complex your supply chain, the more important optimization becomes, especially for retail distribution and express where profit margins are thin. Making the right decisions can mean the difference between a profitable and sustainable business, and making losses. A robust and optimized planning system that takes into account all the unique requirements and constraints of your global operations powered by optimization technology generates the best plans while empowering your planners to tweak them based on soft knowledge.

There are reasons for sticking with spreadsheets, just not very good ones. The migration from spreadsheets to the DELMIA Quintiq solution is quick and risk-free. This is how we’ve helped our customers make their supply chain operations more efficient and more profitable.

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