Meeting the Challenges of Demand Variability in Global Supply Chains

By automating the process of material delivery schedules, organizations can detect and notify of critical demand changes

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Increased demand variability, global material sourcing, leaner supply chains, cost volatility and competitive pressures are altering supply chain management requirements in fundamental ways. This is forcing organizations to adopt new strategies and tools for forecasting and demand response.

The Elemica Delivery Schedule helps large industrial manufacturers master the complexities of varying demand signals across global organizations. By automating the complex and error-prone process of material delivery schedules, organizations can immediately detect and notify critical demand changes allowing for more effective response planning.

Today’s leaders of demand-driven supply chain networks are creating value by automating business processes across demand and supply management. The challenge is complexity and variation of demand across global enterprises. For example, automotive companies have different requirements than consumer packaged goods manufacturing or retail organizations. Forecasting approaches and lead times can vary by plant and product for a single customer. Traditionally, significant enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects are needed to automate the delivery schedule planning and fulfillment processes.

Global suppliers can master the complexities of varying demand signals by automating the analysis of material requirement schedules, or delivery schedules, sent from manufacturers. Automation of these complex processes leads to fewer missed or rushed shipments, immediate detection and notification of critical demand changes allowing for more effective response planning, and auditable results.

Process industry manufacturers, who supply global customers whose manufacturing schedules and requirements change frequently in response to changing customer demand, especially benefit. Traditionally, manufacturers communicate evolving material requirements, or delivery schedules, to suppliers on a daily basis. Customer service and supply chain planning organizations want to receive these demand signals in near-real time to optimize their delivery schedules and just-in-time processing. These requirements are then incorporated into new orders, changes to existing orders or forecast orders. Automating the analysis of the schedules allows suppliers to respond error-free to demand signals faster.

Some of the key features Delivery Schedule provides supply chain planning and order processing organizations are:

  • Global business process management.
  • Individually configurable settings at the product–lane level.
  • User-selectable data matching algorithms and planning horizons.
  • Self-serve visibility, process insight and audit capabilities.
  • Flexible business process alerting.
  • Automated setups, with new product alerting.
  • Flexible order grouping (i.e. location, date, product).
  • Shipment processing.
  • Self-serve setups and maintenance.

Elemica’s Delivery Scheduling solution is configurable to address operational issues in a variety of industries, such as short truck hauls in the European markets, requirements changing inside contractually agreed lead times and packaging units that complicate requirements matching. Supply chain planning and order processing organizations that roll out the solution can benefit from being able to easily tackle the faster pace of change in demand, real-time response to material requirement changes and elimination of just-in-case buffer inventories, all leading to a better bottom line.

Gary Neights is the director of product management at Elemica.

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