Sense and Respond  

According to the 2009 CSCO Insights report by Dan Gilmore and Richard Nardone titled ‘ The Next Generation Supply Chain Management – The Integration of Planning and Execution’, a new era of supply chain management is dawning. It will be characterized by improved integration of supply chain planning and execution processes with technology as the underpinning catalyst.

In the report there are three phases outlined for pragmatically achieving the integration of planning and execution. Phase 1 - Building the Right Foundation, prescribes for the implementation of a robust Sales & Operations Planning process for achieving a ‘One Number Plan’ (see Demand Management). Phase 2 - Removing Latency in Information Flow, focuses on the importance of building ‘sensory’ networks for attaining real-time data collection capability (see RFID Defined). The benefit of this is the ability to implement dashboards which ‘provide information about what is happening right now and helping decision makers to prioritize actions and make decisions right now’. Phase 3 - Developing a “Sense and Respond” Network, describes an environment where there is total supply chain visibility spanning from supplier’s supplier to customer’s customer (see Transportation Management). ‘Visibility and information sharing will allow trading partners to simply sense and respond [achieving a true build-to-order model]’. This will ‘dramatically reduce cost and improve customer service and bring the supply chain in much closer contact to end customers’. In all the phases, technology will play a critical role and the key criterion for selecting the right technology vendor or solution is by considering its ‘current ability to support improved planning and execution processes and its vision and roadmap to help a company move through the levels of maturity [the three phases specified above]’.

Source: 2009 CSCO Insight Report: ‘The Next Generation Supply Chain Management – The Integration of Planning and Execution’ by Dan Gilmore and Richard Nardone