Blog: Speed, Flexibility, and Why “Traditional” Planning Methods Just Aren’t Enough

agile supply chain strategy

How do businesses harness supply chain velocity to create a more agile supply chain strategy to deliver measurable results quickly?

In the early stages of the pandemic, many companies lost faith in their advanced planning systems. According to interviews conducted by Lora Cecere, founder of Supply Chain Insights, as many as 94% of companies in the study resorted to Microsoft Excel to manage their operations. 

Although reverting to spreadsheets may have been an understandable reaction to the uncertainty they experienced, the labor-intensive process lacked the speed and sophistication that the situation truly needed. Cecere noted in a recent GAINS webinar, “With Excel, it’s impossible to perform the necessary demand and supply modeling that needs to happen in such a volatile and complex environment.” 

Are you using outdated insights?

Excel and other “traditional” planning methods were not designed to keep pace with day-to-day challenges requiring immediate changes from sourcing strategies to overall supply chain management (SCM). An issue was highlighted in a 2021 Gartner report titled “Top Reasons Why Supply Chain Initiatives Fail and What to Do About It.” 

In the report, Gartner states, “An analysis of over 1,000 Gartner inquiries on network design indicates that network optimization initiatives do not always meet expectations for cost optimization, did not improve decision-making under uncertainty, and did not improve customer service.”  

Disconnected tools yield ineffective data.

Much of the failure companies encountered was due to their lack of speed. Traditional decision-making methods often take months, if not years, to gather and validate data from multiple systems. The ad-hoc nature of conventional modeling tools and techniques cannot produce results within meaningful time frames. Combined with siloed analytics tools disconnected from actual operations, the insights you receive will be obsolete by the time they are finally ready, and the answers will not apply to your ever-evolving business conditions. 

When it comes to sourcing, these delays render data essentially useless. Only a solution that supports the speed of continuous supply chain changes will yield the type of data capable of improving supply chain sourcing and other initiatives. An answer to a question like, “Where should new products be today?” must be actionable and derived from real-time data that can drive instant results to be helpful. 

Achieving the speed needed for sourcing flexibility in the face of volatility

The pandemic-induced supply chain disruption forced companies to rethink their sourcing strategies. In the past few years, organizations have accelerated the shift toward digital sourcing, placed greater emphasis on creating a diversified supplier base, scrutinized just-in-time (JIT) inventory strategies, prioritized local sourcing, and focused on developing stronger supplier relationships. 

The effectiveness of each initiative depends on the accuracy and timeliness of data. Every company can benefit from a solution that speeds decision-making by harnessing supply chain velocity with continuous, iterative, and actionable insights. 

A Better Way Forward

To harness supply chain velocity and create a more agile sourcing strategy that delivers measurable results in weeks, not years or months, businesses must adopt modern tools that support real-time data collection and analysis. Traditional decision-making methods, such as spreadsheets and siloed analytics tools, need to be improved, considering the volatility and complexity of today’s supply chain environment.

Modern supply chain solutions like GAINS help companies achieve the speed needed for sourcing flexibility. The GAINS solution includes network optimization tools that can provide real-time insights into demand and supply modeling alongside tools that support continuous, iterative, and actionable insights. With these tools, companies can quickly adapt to changes in supply and demand and make informed decisions about sourcing strategies that can improve cost optimization, customer service, and overall supply chain management.

Speed and Flexibility are the keys to success.

Businesses must prioritize speed and agility in their sourcing strategies to successfully navigate the rapidly evolving supply chain landscape. By adopting modern solutions that can harness supply chain velocity and provide real-time insights, companies can create a more resilient and flexible supply chain that can deliver measurable results in weeks.

Get GAINS and Get Going

Transform your supply chain operations with GAINS – the innovative planning platform that provides speed and agility to your business. No longer are speed, flexibility, and advanced analytics limited to large enterprises; GAINS enables companies of any size to overcome variability and uncertainty easily.

Our comprehensive S&OP, demand, supply, and inventory optimization platform delivers continuous cost and profit optimization – all while avoiding endless IT projects. Using the GAINS Proven Path-to-Performance (P3) Methodology, customers achieve rapid onboarding and tangible results, including:

  • increased sales
  • faster inventory turns
  • better service levels
  • reduced operating costs.

With GAINS, you can put time on your side. Our global supply chain solutions offer increased agility and resilience to overcome growing supply chain volatility. Our mission is to drive unmistakable impact quickly and relentlessly add value as your supply chain evolves.

Our automated configuration and out-of-the-box calibration ensure that your unique business needs drive supply chain response, with best-fit decisioning derived from years of deep learning, automation, and advanced analytics. And with our cloud platform, you benefit from continuous releases and the latest innovation without long upgrade cycles.

Don’t wait to see the benefits of GAINS for yourself – request a demo today.

Read more:

How to Achieve Profitable Inventory Management

What Are the Biggest Obstacles to Supply Chain Optimization This Year?

The Inventory Challenges No Organization Should Have to Face