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February 06, 2017
Managing uncertainty in the world of supply chain management
By: Craig Simpkins

Imagine you are the vice president of sales and have developed a forecast for a new product being introduced to the market. The stakeholders in your supply chain network are all aligned on the sales plan and have the capacity and resources to support it. However, the product launch is a success, and you can’t keep product on the shelf. It is imperative that you figure out a sales and operations plan to support the additional sales; otherwise, the reputation of your company may be tarnished. This is just one example of how scenario-based planning will help with the development of a collaborative approach within your supply chain network.

Scenario-based planning is a structured program where executives, management or individuals working on a transactional level are looking at different scenarios based on supply, demand and inventory planning, while simultaneously looking at the ability to change those levels based on different simulations driven by customer expectations. It’s basically thinking of what future changes could affect your business, and creating a plan of action if one of those issues occurs. This is a very important strategic activity for evaluating the impact of influences and their effect on the business.

Scenario-based planning best practices will enable you to anticipate changes in your business model driven by uncertainty and variability of supply or demand. Whether it is a challenge with a supplier, such as a capacity or quality issue, or a distributor not having the capacity to store your product, a logistics provider that is faced with fleet challenges, or a new product introduction, you can approach these situations in both a proactive and reactive manner. A proactive direction, in particular, will drive success through the use of a collaborative approach within the supply chain, data analytics and technology, key performance indicators and risk analysis.

What leads an organization and an individual such as yourself to adapt best practices as they relate to scenario-based planning for supply, inventory and demand when dealing with uncertainty and risk or proactively addressing operational excellence? The Accenture courses, Factors That Affect Scenario-Based Planning, Common Scenarios in Scenario-Based Planning, Evaluating Scenarios in Scenario-Based Planning, and Technology and Data Analytics in Scenario-Based Planning, provide best practices related to scenario-based planning, and exhibit that it is a vital strategic activity an organization can use to catalyze results in the future. The success of scenario-based planning is contingent on your collaboration with partners in the supply chain, evaluation of the drivers and factors that affect supply and demand, analysis of uncertainty and risk, and the assessment of the overall results.

About Accenture Academy

Accenture Academy offers proven, cost-effective learning solutions for a more versatile workforce and a more agile organization. We provide a flexible learning approach that helps your people be more versatile and your entire organization be more agile in the marketplace. Curriculum includes Supply Chain Management, Finance, Procurement, Analytics, Leadership & Management and Specialty Skills.

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