Laying the Foundation for Effective Supply Chain Capacity Planning
In a previous blog post, we took a look at some of the biggest capacity planning challenges.
In this follow-up article, we are going to dive into the very first steps you must take to lay the foundation to begin creating and implementing your supply chain capacity planning strategy…
Consolidate the Data
Supply chain technology gets more advanced with every passing day. So it is no surprise that, in the last 10 years or so, the theme of technology comes up in almost every conversation on how best to improve supply chain practices. To this point, there is so much data generated at any given time throughout the supply chain that to attempt to perform accurate and timely collection, consolidation, and analysis of that data manually would be ill-advised and likely near impossible.
When many businesses are working together toward the common goal of order fulfillment, all of the data being produced should be considered as a potentially valuable asset that could be leveraged in one way or another and applied to current processes in order to improve them. This data should be immediately collected and housed in a centralized location that all parties who need access to said data have no trouble viewing or even modifying it when needed.
After the data has been collected and consolidated, it is time to perform data analysis.
Perform an Analysis of the Data
Once you’ve decided upon and implemented the appropriate software that will collect and consolidate your supply chain data into a centrally accessible hub, it’s time to take a closer look at the information you’ve collected.
- Are your numbers meeting or exceeding your KPI standards?
- What sector(s) of the supply chain experiences the most issues?
- How evenly staffed are all of the sectors of your supply chain?
Luckily, there are a handful of reliable automation platforms on the market that can help you more readily answer these questions, among others, with relative ease and in real-time. Even better, there are systems available now that are built with API integration in mind so you can easily analyze data across several disparate systems from one centralized dashboard.
This is where advanced supply chain tech really shines as it is capable of providing useful insights by pinpointing where bottlenecks, backups, and any other order fulfillment issues are occurring with regularity within your supply chain.
From here, the data can be analyzed and compared, allowing you to make better-informed decisions on what changes need to be implemented next.
Organizing the Supply Chain
As far as the organization of your supply chain capacity planning strategy is concerned, there needs to be a go-to person or small group of people who are responsible for coordinating all of the moving pieces. As is the case with all large-scale, complicated processes, capacity planning requires thoughtful consideration to make sure that everyone is on the same page throughout the entire process, from the first bit of data that is collected to the implementation of the data-driven changes.
It may seem like appointing someone for this purpose is an extra expense or an unnecessary role to have in your company, but an effective coordinator is invaluable. Essentially, this person will fill the role of a project manager. They can serve as the liaison between different parts of the supply chain, can coordinate training opportunities to ensure best practices are being taught and maintained, and will generally keep everyone informed of changes throughout the process.
With everyone on the same page, implementation of any changes or action items can begin.