Planning as a Service for the Service Supply Chain
Although most of the discussion around inventory planning is centered on the tools used to balance inventory and service levels, the skills and expertise to manage this function are also critical. Start-up companies and mid-size enterprises struggle to find resources with the required insight and experience. Even large companies may not find enough qualified people to plan and forecast their supply chain requirements.
Baxter Planning understands these organizational challenges and disparities. Working with clients of every size, Baxter offers a range of services, from traditional Software as a Service (SaaS), where your staff controls the planning process, to Planning as a Service, where inhouse Baxter experts perform planning activities on your behalf.
Supply Chain Planning Complexity
Supply chain planning is not a new concept: the function was identified in the early 20th century with the creation of the assembly line. Materials needed to be sourced and collected at a central point to start the manufacturing process. Even as Ford Motor Company, Boeing, DEC, IBM, and other legacy leaders employed supply chain planning to consolidate resources for automobile, airplane, and high technology production, supply chain planning was not a core competency. Over time, targeted solutions evolved – from MRP (materials resource planning), to DRP (Distribution Resource Planning) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) to SCM (supply chain management).
During the evolution of supply chain planning, it became apparent that skills gained in one industry or aspect of planning are not always transferable to another industry or area. “Just-in-Time” manufacturing supply chain planning processes and core metrics are significantly different than those required for retail supply chain planning or “Just-in-Case” service supply chain planning.
The nuances and intricacies of inventory planning are particularly magnified in the service supply chain, where variable product lifecycles, service contract options, part supersession requirements, defective returns and repair planning within a global logistics network must be considered. These variables along with the complex logistics networks required to make spare parts available same- or next-day to field service technicians create unique challenges for planning a Service Supply Chain.