Without planning, there is no supply chain.
Supply Planning Managers oversee all aspects of supply planning, working closely with the other key areas of a supply chain, such as logistics and technical operations, to be able to meet and support customer demand. Developing and implementing a supply strategy to deliver lower costs, streamlining inventory and maximizing customer satisfaction is the end-goal to all in supply chain planning. Ultimately, like all areas of the supply chain, planning wants to get products to the right place, at the scheduled time.
Demand and supply often varies, and it is the responsibility of planning experts to also manage and maintain inventory and materials. Being able to effectively manage what is and what isn’t available within a supply chain, whether that is products being moved, to shipping containers being available to transport goods, planners are involved throughout.
Planners need to be ready for every eventual scenario, the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit both provide examples on how supply chains can be heavily impacted by external pressures, with many ‘just in time’ chains breaking. They need to maintain relationships and visibility across manufacturers and production facilities, as well as suppliers and distributors, to keep the supply chain connected at all time. The key to success according to some senior supply chain planners, are ‘partnerships’.
On-time delivery is critical, especially to supply planner specialists who are working in certain industries, such as life sciences or agriculture, as some goods can expire. This is why one of the most desirable skills is being able to develop, implement and evaluate policies and procedures to improve the supply planning process. Considering sales and operations throughout, streamlining the process to speed up supply chains is highly sought after.