Now that the finality of SAP APO is a real prospect, many companies are thinking about what to do next. In this blog, rather than providing advice about specific solutions such as Kinaxis, Anaplan, O9, SAP IBP or other options from the Gartner Magic Quadrant, I highlight four considerations that you should bear in mind.
Consumer needs change over time. Speed, transparency, responsiveness and sustainability are becoming increasingly important. How does this affect what is required of the planning system? Consider, for example, granularity (from category level to store level and vice versa), integrality (horizontal, i.e. across silos) and planning flexibility (multiple planning cycles).Consumer needs change over time, impacting the requirements of the planning system. Consider granularity, integrality, and planning flexibility.
Understand where the unique value lies in your supply chain and prioritize functionality. Do you have to optimize multiple assets – such as factories, distribution centres or trucks – or is the focus on managing your finished goods inventory (and the associated risks)? It is essential to have a clear understanding of your business challenges as the basis for developing a roadmap with functionality-related priorities.
Consider how you will facilitate data exchange and collaboration with supply chain partners. Assess the complexity of your future supply chain footprint and think about how you want to manage your network of suppliers, factories, DCs and customers. Managing this manually, using older technology, had already become a challenge. In view of the increased data availability from external parties, those datasets must now also be made part of any future planning system. Moreover, many software vendors have integrated collaborative features into their solutions, so consider how these can fit into your existing communications landscape (e.g. portals).
Besides a number of technological aspects (e.g. security, cloud native, AI/ML supported), what mainly matters is the adoption of a solution. Therefore, to foster acceptance and adoption, it is becoming increasingly important that new solutions are user-friendly for planners. Check how intelligence in the system is converted into organizational insights, how easy it is to do cross-sectional analysis and exceptions management, how intuitive the solution is to use and how flexible it is to set up.
The new solution to replace SAP APO should last you at least five years, but a lot can change in that time. Therefore, remember to ‘look before you leap’. There are a multitude of possible solutions, so do your homework first to identify what is essential for your organization.
If you have any questions after reading this blog or if you would like to discuss further on this topic, please contact Victor Breugem, email@example.com