Supply chain planning is a key component of successful execution and requires the collaboration across your extended supply chain network in order to achieve this success.  Planning is the second leg of the tripod of successfully meeting the objectives of the network, the other two legs of this tripod are collaboration and the actual execution of the plan.  The planning process supports a continuous improvement process of ‘Do, Review, Improve’ within your extended supply chain network.  The planning process is in reality one of the basic and foundational processes that support the and ensure the continued success of your extended supply chain and as a result the overall ability to successfully meet the demands of the consumer.

Planning is not a ‘one-and-done’ function, it is a process that both directs and supports the demands of the consumer shopping requirements.  Again, the retailer provides and supports the presentation of the products to support the consumer shopping demands, and then the extended supply chain supports the production and delivery to meet the consumer shopping demands.  There is in reality no possible way that one can be successful without the other.  These demands are driving the collaboration and planning demands to meet the execution requirements to support the demands. The planning process requires a focus across the partners to ensure that the needs are met and the risk to the execution is mitigated.  In effect, the supply chain execution is in reality more of a continuous planning exercise that results in successful execution. 

The success of planning requires continuous review of data that is collected as a part of the consumer shopping fulfillment operation.  In other words you can think of planning as the guidelines to the continuous improvement program.  It is the documentation of the ‘Do, Review, Improve’ loop and it is fed and supported by the collection of results, or data, from the execution process that begins with the manufacture and ends with the potential return of the product for re-introduction by the consumer.  An important aspect of the planning is the review process that will ensure that all aspects of support for the consumer shopping demands are identified and taken into account.  This planning requires participation from the entire supply chain through active participation from all partners. 

There is also no possible way that the highly volatile consumer shopping demands will be met without collaboration, planning and execution across the entire extended supply chain. There is also no possible way that planning will be successful unless it includes a review and adjustment process that will both identify new requirements and and risks to the plan.  The changing demands of consumer shopping cannot be met with a plan enshrined and unchanging, the demands of consumer shopping can only be met with a plan that is continuously evaluated and improved to address new demands and risk..     

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumers’ experience?  Improving the consumers experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?