My Busy day at the Richmond Supply Chain Forum

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Last week QAD DynaSys attended the Richmond Supply Chain Forum held at the Belfry Hotel & Resort in Sutton Coldfield, UK. We attend the event twice a year and it’s a good opportunity for us to talk to organisations who are interested in learning more about our Demand & Supply Chain Planning solution.

The schedule for the day is certainly full on, with meetings from breakfast at 8am right through to the evening meal that finishes around 930pm. This ’speed dating’ concept works well for both us and the people we are meeting to quickly decide if there is a mutual benefit of having further, more detailed discussions about how our solution can help to address their business challenges within the supply chain.

For this event we also took the opportunity to run a 1 hour workshop which everyone had the option to attend. It was titled “Is forecasting really dead? Let’s talk about the future of Demand Planning” and it obviously struck a chord with many people as it was standing room only at the back! The choice of topic is always difficult but Demand Planning is clearly still very ‘hot’ and there was fantastic interaction from the audience who shared their experience and expertise in the area. I was in the Demand Planning role myself for 10 years so it’s an area still very close to my heart. From the organisations I meet with and the developments I see in our planning solution such as DDMRP and Machine Learning, it’s clear that the role of the Demand Planner will continue to evolve as technology and planning processes develop. They are clearly still a key integral part of the organisation as they help to bridge the gap between Commercial and Operations, who we know sometimes struggle to communicate in the same language! Demand Planner’s need to continue to drive the collaboration and consensus across the business to ensure that plans are aligned for demand and supply.

Several organisations we met are at the early stages of trying to improve their planning maturity. These are typically doing well in terms of revenue growth but they are starting to struggle to continue to meet the growth and have either very high inventory, capacity issues or both. For these types of companies, we discussed the need to address the fundamentals of people, processes & systems in order to build the level of capability in supply chain planning. For this we have developed a concept called ‘Quickstart Integrated Business Planning’ that provides companies with a package of education, process design and the planning software solution. This packaged solution enables a more rapid improvement in planning processes and therefore delivers a quicker Return On Investment. We recently held an event with Delos Partnership on this topic at our UK head office in Birmingham and if you’d like to know more about this approach then please do get in touch with us.

The Richmond Event finished off with a dinner and evening entertainment provided by a magician, Katherine Mills, who managed to read people’s minds and guess what they were thinking. I’m sure many of the Planners in the audience could see a use for that skill in the next Demand Planning meeting…..