Bridging the Gap: Planning and Operations in Harmony

An image of a shipping yard actively loading at night time.

Harnessing the power of big data and optimization, we can significantly enhance operations. By considering operational constraints in planning, we can boost customer service while maintaining efficiency.

The Disconnect Between Systems

Many companies operate with multiple disparate systems that lack coordination. Planning systems, Order Management Systems (OMS), Transportation Management Systems (TMS), and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) often function independently. Planning, driven by customer demand and forecasts, deploys inventory without considering cost or constraints, leading to flow volatility among supply points and distribution centers (DCs).

The Impact on Customers and Operations

This volatility is passed on to operations, affecting carriers’ capacity, warehouse space, and dock workers’ workload. The goal of supply planning is to generate high order-fill, often overlooking these operational constraints. This disconnect can lead to increased costs, inefficiencies, and potential damage to the critical measure of On-time, in full (OTIF).

Utilizing Data to Bridge the Gap

In the current scenario, where planners make day-to-day decisions, it’s challenging to utilize all the data from operations and planning. However, there’s a wealth of data available from various sources like supply planning systems, forecasts and OMS, TMS, WMS, and calendars.

The Big Data Solution

Companies have all the data, but merely minimizing cost is insufficient. Optimizing the supply chain requires maintaining or improving customer service levels and creating a digital twin for the supply chain that behaves like the real world. A holistic solution is needed that considers the movements in truckloads rather than at the individual SKU level.

The Results of the Big Data Solution

Level loading technology has successfully brought together all the information, performed optimization quickly, and managed the deployment network for a large consumer product company. This process considers transportation needs many days into the future, allowing for pre-reservation of carriers’ equipment.

The big-data solution produces significant results, including reduced costs, improved customer service, automation of manual effort, and reduced Scope 3 emissions. By bridging the gap between planning and operations with big data and optimization, we can significantly improve operations while enhancing customer service.