It takes a significant amount of courage for companies to break with traditional ways of working. While advanced technologies have offered up the opportunity for businesses to conduct their operations with greater speed, reliability and efficiency than ever before, old habits die hard. Rather than risk the unknown, many companies continue to rely on siloed data and other outdated systems of management that greatly slow the pace of innovation.
But the advent of connected planning, where data from all parts of the business – supply chain, finance, procurement, and so on – are brought together into a single system, is now seen as the most effective way for a company to move forward.
“When you can’t bring those different business functions together within supply chain management it creates real inefficiency,” says Ross Perkins, Business Development Manager at Olivehorse, which offers expertise in supply chain management.
“Industries are becoming more individualised and need to react with greater speed than ever before. Take Nike for example – it now offers the ability to customise its trainers in incredible detail. Its customers expect these ‘lot size of one’ items extremely quickly – if they couldn’t deliver on this, the business would not be effective. Connected planning helps companies like Nike join the dots and surpass their competition through better supply chain management.”
Olivehorse is a specialist supply chain planning consultancy focused on helping clients navigate their digital transformation and get the strongest ROI from their current and future supply chain planning investments.
Perkins says that with the correct tools, the transition, in theory, shouldn’t be a difficult one. However, some companies do find it difficult to plan and adapt to the new systems that connected planning platforms such as SAP and Anaplan provide.
“Typically, large companies, although hugely successful, often divest internal resources to more generalist consultancies, and so the specialist knowledge just isn’t there. They don’t have to skills to effectively show them where to turn next.”
“Despite advancements in technology, when it comes to supply chain management, so many companies still rely on the simple spreadsheet. There is little chance of them transitioning to the latest generation of technology and processes overnight without specialist support.”
Olivehorse helps companies navigate these waters due to the depth of experience its specialists have, some of whom have been in the supply chain industry for two decades or more. They understand that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work – companies are simply too idiosyncratic for a generic blueprint for the transition to connected planning.
The first stage of any service Olivehorse offers is the drawing up of a roadmap, which enables each company to understand the most valuable technologies for its business and the most efficient path to implementation. Implementation then follows, at which point Olivehorse’s advanced system support service gives the client access to flexible, reliable and cost-effective expertise whenever it is required. A bespoke programme to upskill planners in the use of their existing supply chain management planning tools completes the package, with options for optimisation later down the line.
The emphasis on a custom-made package for companies is a crucial part of Olivehorse’s work. “A lot of companies get a templated approach thrust at them and it doesn’t work,” says Perkins. “We will step back and look at each challenge individually.”
“Companies struggle, but if we link our USP to the methodology, which is an individualised, customised approach, then the process becomes that much more effective,” says Perkins. “Companies have to know how to walk before they can run, and we’re there to steer them through it.”