Supply Planning is an important function in every industry which tries to achieve a balance between customer service, inventory targets and resource utilization. A supply planner’s primary role is to deliver a tactical plan which meets the demand on time, covers safety stock targets at the distribution centres in the supply chain network while also ensuring that resources in the factories are utilized efficiently. A supply planner basically works on integrating the manufacturing and sales side of business and aims to optimize both ends.
The Manufacturing or Production function always prefers to produce according to cost effective lot sizes, minimal changeovers, production cycles and sometimes other constraints like labour or semi-finished material. On the other hand, Sales or Customer Fulfilment functions have different priorities which mainly include meeting customer demand in full and on time, and meeting inventory targets without going below or above targets significantly. These two sides of business often contradict each other and achieving a plan which has been optimized from both angles is challenging.
Usually, a medium term tactical supply plan is generated periodically (weekly, fortnightly or monthly). This plan is normally capacity constrained and contains decisions regarding production, sourcing and distribution of products through the supply chain.
A lot of companies who purchased SAP’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) application use the Advanced Planning and Optimisation (APO) Supply Network Planning (SNP) Optimizer as a tool to generate the capacity constrained mid-term plan. It is a powerful tool which delivers a plan that respects resource contraints and optimizes the supply chain within a given cost framework. If implemented correctly, it can result in big cost savings for any organization. In this blog, I will try to cover several aspects related to the SNP Optimizer.Read Article