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Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: +1 844 746 1795

by Daniel Harris,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: January 21, 2017

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Supply Chain Planning and Optimization Software?
Common Features of Supply Chain Planning & Optimization
Evaluating Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Software
Deployment Models and Pricing

What Is Supply Chain Planning and Optimization Software?

Supply chain planning software helps organizations manage and replenish their inventory through sales and demand forecasting. As part of an SCM system, planning solutions like sales & operations planning (S&OP) serve an important function in the ongoing effort to reduce waste and increase profitability.

By offering a tool like demand planning software or S&OP, SCM software providers give organizations the ability to take a glimpse into a number of possible futures. Based on an analysis of historical market trends and an awareness of the organization’s upcoming promotions and product rollouts, demand planning systems allow organizations to simulate potential demand and adjust their incoming inventories accordingly.

Common Feautres of Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Software

Optimization software handles capacity planning as well as sequencing and scheduling. Beyond simply providing demand estimation data, it allows organizations to act immediately on any pertinent information gathered from the data by altering delivery schedules, shifting stored inventory loads and adjusting revenue and expense projections. These actions ensure that the buyer does not purchase too many or too few supplies to match demand.

Specific features of this software include:

Cost & capacity modeling This essential feature provides the quantitative tools to model future and anticipated supply and demand activities.
Customizable planning goals A good system will allow you to create plans based on your individual business priorities. This should include the ability to capture and compare multiple versions of a forecast based on different “what if” scenarios.
Problem detection Ensure that the software will help you identifies material shortages in any plan and suggest solutions to those problems.
Data synchronization This describes the ability to connect to a data source, facilitating delivery schedules, inventory loads and expense/revenue projections.

Evaluating Supply Chain Planning & Optimization Software

Recent advances in networked solutions have made possible a series of collaborative solutions that allow buyers and suppliers to share the burden of planning and reduce the amount of non-productive inventory. Vendor managed inventory software is one of many planning systems that takes advantage of e-Kanban technologies, alerting the vendor when the buyer has run out of supplies so they can send new batches.

When selecting your software, cost will be an obvious concern, as will the features and functionality. Consider order consistency, hands-on management activity and inventory levels as part of your decision-making process.

Deployment Models and Pricing

Planning and optimization software is typically available in one of two deployment models, which tend to have different pricing structures:

Web-based. Web-based planning and optimization software is hosted on the vendor’s servers and is generally priced under a “Software-as-a-Service” (SaaS) model, which means that users typically pay a monthly or annual subscription fee that is based on the number of users.

On-premise. On-premise planning and optimization software is hosted on the user’s own servers. Typically, on-premise deployment costs a flat, upfront fee to use the software indefinitely, though there may be recurring support and maintenance fees involved. The upfront fee is also generally based on the number of users on the system.

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