Demand Planning in ERP? I’d Rather Chew Broken Glass.

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Why do demand planning teams despise their ERP? That’s an easy one. It’s totally impractical for supply chain planning in the distribution world!

Despite what some ERP vendors tout, these systems cannot be all things to all customers.

They do aid in making timely decisions around selling, accounting and purchasing. But when it comes to truly aligning supply and demand planning with Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) processes across the enterprise… no way.

No ERP system can deliver a truly integrated business planning experience without digging into all factors of supply and demand planning. And going a step further to align that to the rest of the business.

Because we did a webinar recently for Eclipse users with our partner Zerion, today I’m going to pick on Eclipse a bit. [Side note: if you want access to the recording, contact us. Pretty sure we can pull some strings for ‘ya].

Zerion blogged that there are some severe limitations within the Eclipse ERP software because the foundation of the software was built so long ago. While there have been attempts at patches to make it more user-friendly over time, the underlying structure of Eclipse is still stuck in the ‘90s, leaving users at a competitive disadvantage.

What do we mean by Eclipse (and all ERPs for that matter) not being ‘user-friendly’? Well for starters, conducting daily demand planning activities usually requires poop-tons of manual data exports and manipulation. Pretty much, there goes your whole day. You probably won’t even get past the analysis phase of your job, let alone build orders and execute on new inventory optimization strategies.

“Uh oh, the CFO wants to talk to me again.”

Even after all that, you still end up with forecast inaccuracies that rack up millions per year in overstock, stockouts and other costly problems that piss off your customers. Your CFO, too.

The Demand Planning ‘Dream Team’

Zerion points out that if a demand planning team were to build their “dream ERP” to fit today’s complex landscape, these 4 components would need to be included; then the general ledger experience would need to be integrated into the platform:

  1. Inventory and Demand Planning
  2. eCommerce
  3. Warehousing
  4. Reporting

Note Number 1! Inventory and Demand Planning…

You know why? Inventory is by far an organization’s most expensive, yet the most mis-managed asset today. It’s because when demand planning in ERP, these systems often:

  1. Try to be all things to all users. They lack deep industry knowledge to solve problems quickly and correctly, necessary to avoid costly mistakes.
  2. They look at longer-term financial plans, but do not understand the unique and challenging volatility that happens daily on the planning side of the business.
  3. They do not encompass seamless collaboration both inside and outside the 4 walls.

All of these things inflate costs and prevent businesses from achieving their financial goals. With demand planning teams being the butt of finger pointing.

Inventory doesn’t have to be your most expensive asset. Take a look at Blue Ridge’s Integrated Business Planning (IBP) solution, which extends demand planning to the broader S&OP goals and processes.

IBP solutions break down siloed walls to accelerate market agility and reduce risk through enterprise-wide synchronization. Check out Blue Ridge IBP here:

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