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Revolutionizing Supply Chain Planning: The Power of Automation

Tom Moore discussed the automation of planning in the article for MHL News Using Optimization to Improve Replenishment Transportation Efficiency.

The problem

A VP of a $40 billion company explained a common problem, “We ship a product that may not be needed from our plants, which struggle to ship it, to our DCs, which struggle to receive it, at a premium cost.” He could have added, “And the next day, we may have no volume on that lane.” Another company complained, “Our replenishment shipments are only 85% full—this is a huge waste of transportation payload.” Simply put, operations get plans from their supply planning systems that are not efficient or, in some cases, executable. Now, with everything moving incredibly fast, supply chain planning has become critical for businesses to maintain their competitiveness. 

Traditional planning methods often lead to inefficiencies, increased costs, and missed opportunities. The most viable solution to these problems is automation. Businesses can streamline their operations, minimize errors, reduce costs, and achieve better outcomes by automating the supply chain planning process.

Reasons to use automation of planning

Businesses can streamline their operations, minimize errors, reduce costs, and achieve better outcomes by automating the supply chain planning process. By leveraging advanced algorithms and machine learning, automation streamlines processes, optimizes resource utilization, and adapts to real-time dynamic market conditions.

One of the most significant benefits of automation in supply chain planning is its ability to enhance transportation efficiency. As highlighted in previous discussions, efficient transport planning can lead to wasted resources, increased costs, and customer satisfaction. Automation addresses these challenges by optimizing transport plans, smoothing shipment schedules, and securing carrier capacity well in advance.

By utilizing load-building software and optimization algorithms, businesses can translate their deployment plans into detailed transportation schedules for the coming days or weeks. This proactive approach minimizes volatility, reduces unnecessary costs, and ensures timely delivery of goods to customers.

Moreover, automation enables businesses to make data-driven decisions quickly and accurately. Manual analysis is no longer feasible with the vast amount of data generated in supply chain operations. Automation tools can process large datasets, identify patterns, and generate actionable insights in a fraction of the time, empowering businesses to make informed decisions that drive efficiency and profitability.

Additional benefits

Automation of planning enhances collaboration and coordination across the supply chain ecosystem. Automation fosters seamless communication between suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers by providing visibility into inventory levels, production schedules, and transportation plans. This alignment ensures everyone works towards common goals, minimizing disruptions and maximizing efficiency.

Furthermore, automation reduces the burden on planning staff, allowing them to focus on strategic initiatives rather than routine tasks. With repetitive processes automated, employees can devote their time and expertise to value-added activities such as forecasting, risk management, and process optimization.

In conclusion, the automation of planning in the supply chain represents a paradigm shift in how businesses operate. By harnessing the power of automation, companies can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. As technology evolves, embracing automation will be essential for businesses seeking to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.


Close the Gap between Planning and Operations