If you are reading this article you are either a subscriber to the DynaSys blog or the title sparked your interest to read further. Either way, you want to know more about disrupting the supply chain solutions market. In order to understand the disruption, one must first identify and understand the common characteristics of a supply chain: the “super-user,” the challenges and the needs. Sit back, relax and let us unpack the disruption.
Today, most companies are global due to company expansion or based on their customer base. Therefore, companies are looking for a sustainable global end-to-end supply chain planning solution that can provide the agility and responsiveness required to support their rapidly-changing global network. Additionally, they want their supply chain solution to be easy to use and accessible anywhere via the cloud, tablet, mobile devices, etc. so users can quickly analyze and update their planning in real-time or run “what-if” scenarios. Therefore, the solution should be developed on a single-click collaborative platform, allowing the end user to anticipate, optimize, respond, simulate and collaborate in real-time your company’s specific supply chain needs, thus, aligning your company’s vision and metrics. Most importantly, your solution needs to easily integrate into your current system and be easy to use.
Almost every company has one or two of these. A “super-user” is the person(s) you go-to when you need an update to your supply chain plan, i.e. forecast changes or supply side changes. They are the owner(s) of the demand and supply chain planning tool your company uses; they know the tool inside and out and can orchestrate the process throughout your organization. They are the only one(s) who actually understand the tool and how it should be used as business conditions change, therefore, they are very valuable to the company.
What happens when the “super-user” leaves the company or is on an extended leave; who is going to manipulate the supply chain plans and understand the impact to your business? Can your existing supply chain system and tools continue to operate with new people taking over? Also, how user-friendly is the tool; is it something that requires extensive training to understand and manipulate? More importantly, how do you prevent different versions of your forecasts and supply planning from floating around? What happens if someone does not receive the latest version and is working off an “old” one; how reliable and responsive will your planning be?
Process and Education
First, companies need to define clear and accurate supply chain processes; these processes will minimize the impact of the super-user’s absence and ensure all users are working on the correct data. Additionally, the processes should involve both super-users, end-users, managers and IT to be efficient. Therefore even if the super-user leaves the company, operations can continue to work with minimal impact on the company.
At the same time, you need to train and educate your team further than just using their daily workspace; they need to understand the impact of their work within the supply chain and how it affects everyone else. However, there is no need for them to understand the intricacies of the solution as it can be very time consuming to master. Thus, the super-user is the best person to train your team on the supply chain solution as they know the company, processes and solution best.
With technology disrupting the way we do things, the supply chain planning space is no different. Today, leading technology companies are providing solutions that leverage technology to provide disruptive capabilities that improve the supply chain planning performance. These solutions support capabilities such as collaboration, predictive analytics, and rapid response planning.
Although embracing new technologies would ease the end users daily job, it would require a transformation and education of the IT team to support these technologies. Additionally, super users and IT would need to work together to standardize the solution to fit into a clear process. In order to accomplish this, they need to be aware of the market trends and best practices; supply chain conferences offer a great space to educate your team on the latest and greatest in supply chain technology while providing an opportunity to network with peers, influencers and supply chain vendors.
Companies are looking for the supply chain solution that can take their company’s vision and transform it. Ultimately, they want to feel comfortable and confident knowing the solution they selected will help them achieve their goals, and that they have all the support and training they need from the solution provider. Today’s leading solutions can support the digital transformation that businesses are envisioning, therefore, do your homework and talk to the experts to understand the best solution for your company.