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What to Know: Gartner Supply Chain Planning Summit Takeaways

3 minute read

Supply chain leaders gathered last week at Gartner’s 2023 Supply Chain Planning Summit to gain insights, strategies, and frameworks for the future of supply chain planning.

The Catena Solutions team was in attendance, and we’re excited to share main takeaways from the event.

In this piece, we explore the future of planning, the role of proper data management, and the importance of change management to achieve supply chain resilience.

#1: Supply chain planning of the future will be powered by adaptability and execution.

In a world plagued by disruption and never-ending changes, traditional supply chain planning methods don’t cut it anymore. The more complex a supply chain is, the more brittle it is. This means organizations must move from static, process-driven planning to customizable methods that can be deployed depending on the scenario. Optimal plans are still important, but planning professionals should become comfortable with being wrong and embracing contingency plans.

The future of supply chain planning is also driven by execution. This means taking traditional planning methods to the next level by focusing not only on processes, but ensuring successful execution based on real-time events.

Read: Essential Skills for the Future Supply Chain

In the supply chain world, we often hear about the importance of process. However, it’s vital to understand that a process is a static item and organizations build resilient supply chains by realizing several different journeys can lead to a desired result.

Geoff Olsen, Leader of Supply Chain Transformation at Catena Solutions

#2: Proper data management enables planning tool success.

Though today’s planning tools have highly advanced technological capabilities, they are rendered useless without proper data management.

Once organizations build processes and begin using new tools, human decision making is fundamental to ensure optimal and accurate outcomes. As these tools go through the decision-making loop, humans must identify the need for modifications, correct any bad data, and re-run programs. This way, tools can predict and suggest outcomes based on correct data and aren’t stuck in a loop of analyzing the same poor data sets.

Without key talent to ensure proper data management, the accuracy of supply chain analytical tools can’t be trusted.

Read: Data Management and the Supply Chain

Technology is an enabler of a more responsive supply chain because you can put various scenarios into a tool and access the outcomes of those scenarios at your fingertips. However, without basing those scenarios on clean and accurate data, implementing new planning technology will be fruitless.

Geoff Coltman, Senior Vice President at Catena Solutions

#3: Without change management, the future of planning is impossible.

Comprehensive change management is a step that can’t be skipped when moving towards the future of adaptable planning.

Introducing a new tool may sound like a simple endeavor, but it’s anything but. An implementation often requires complex organizational transformation. Not only will employees have to learn a completely new tool, but they must also un-learn old ways of working. Without proper change management plans in place from inception to go-live and beyond, the chances of employee adoption are slim.

Additionally, organizations should utilize change management partners to ensure employees understand the entirety of a tool. Supply chain planning tools won’t live up to their capabilities and help transform an organization’s planning methods if stakeholders aren’t properly trained on how to get the full functionality out of new technologies.

Read: 4 Common Barriers to Change Adoption

It’s a complex process to achieve ROI with a new planning tool. This includes analyzing the current state of planning capabilities, identifying what resources are needed, empowering change champions, and embracing organizational transformation. Organizations need to get the right people in the right seats to drive the implementation towards success.

Stacy Johnson, Consultant Engagement Director

Facing supply chain planning challenges? We can help.

Catena Solutions specializes in supporting supply chain-based organizations with their business initiatives with an emphasis on value creation and cost optimization. We do so by connecting you with our network of experienced professionals to advise and execute on client-managed projects. Contact us to learn more.

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