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Demand Planning & Forecasting
Demand Planning & Forecasting
4 min read

Responding to Disruption

Adam Cavanagh
Published on:
June 24, 2021
When you’re driving, your journey feels smooth thanks to your car’s suspension working to absorb any shocks from bumps in the road. The same applies to your business – if operations have started to feel smooth over the last few months that’s likely down to your planning team and processes acting as shock absorbers. The bumps are still there.

The adaptations you’ve had to make over the last year have made dealing with disruption the norm.

If you continue down the same path of processes, it stands to reason that your journey will continue to feel even smoother and when future disruption arises, you’ll be able to handle it as standard.

People matter

Your planning processes have likely evolved in response to the Covid-19 crisis – they are central to any business’s ability to address disruptive events. Solid planning creates the hub required for information sharing across the ecosystem of partners, suppliers, internal customers and external customers. Are you in a position where you’ve maximised your team’s planning potential?

With the situation we’ve been through, teams have had to learn to work in a different environment. Chances are everybody has been working remotely and collaboration is much more challenging when all the players are spread across different locations. But we know that interaction between people is crucial. Equipping your team with the tools to work together effectively is essential. If they’re still all trying to use localised spreadsheets, created by individuals and subject to manual error, there’s a lot of room for mistakes to happen.

A system based on spreadsheets is also likely to be sufficiently cumbersome that snapshots of the state-of-play are only taken once a month due to how labour-intensive the process is. This means that the shared, single view of the business can only be relied on for a couple of days each month before it swiftly becomes outdated.

Data delivers insight

Data underpins everything and successful planning must be built on an understanding and use of information from all available sources across the value chain. Your team needs to be able to collaborate on their analysis of the data across the whole ecosystem. Taking an end-to-end view and sharing insights allows them to capture demand shifts and supply pinch points in real time.

The Pareto Principle is always at play – what is the 20% of activity that is delivering 80% of the returns? What needs to be prioritised to exploit this strength? The ability to answer these valuable questions lies in analytics and data.

Actively manage disruption

Crises need management, particularly if they’re going to be absorbed by the business. Having strong ties across teams and cross-functional groups in place means crises can be identified, discussed and action plans implemented faster. Using scenario planning ensures the plans will have already been drafted based on ‘what if?’ conversations. These discussions can take place when your team is attuned to the possibilities and work through the impact of developments on on-hand, on-order and in-transit inventory.

By expanding your normal ways of working to continue planning for the level of disruption we’ve seen in the last 18 months, you will be in a far better position to handle whatever bumps you come across. With this broadened approach to planning, it feels natural to:

  • Constantly re-evaluate plans based on emerging data or insight
  • Automate the repetitive, manual tasks to maximise the time available for ‘by exception’ management
  • Monitor and review execution – what worked, what didn’t and how can that learning be applied to the next cycle?

If you want a smoother journey in the future, you need to equip your team with the tools they need to respond to disruption as standard. To learn more about how the AGR software can deliver your planning requirements – get in touch today and discover just how much of a competitive advantage it could give you.

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