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Most Supply Chain Professionals Believe their Planning Process is Only Somewhat Effective

These are trying times for supply chain planners. The effects of COVID-19 are unlike anything we have seen in recent decades. Disruption abounds, and as Lora Cecere writes, the only constant will be surprise.” Supply Chain Dive reports that 75% of firms in the US alone have reported supply chain shocks as a result of the pandemic. Do supply chain professionals believe they have a planning process that is robust enough to absorb these shocks and prepare for the future? Back in February, we launched our Supply Chain Planning Maturity Assessment to understand how teams rate their planning maturity. Over 320 professionals have completed our assessment sinceHere’s what the research shows.* 

Most supply chain pros think they are at the middle of the road 

how effective is your planning process?54% of survey respondents said it their planning process was “somewhat effective,” regardless of the technology used. A combined 28% stated that their planning process was “very effective” or “extremely effective.” 18% said their process was either “not so effective” or “not at all effective.”  

When it comes to accuracy in long-term planning, 52% are looking to attain enough accuracy to make a resilient decision, while 22% don’t have enough time for long-term planning.

accuracy in long-term planningIn most organizations, VPs of supply chain and operations are the executive sponsors committed to planning success. To gather input for planning, more than half of professionals discuss with key stakeholders (like manufacturing and sales) and collect data. Only 22% of professionals stated that functional owners from across the business keep their planning input up to date by accessing planning tools directly. Surprisingly, a quarter of respondents stated that they receive very little input from outside the supply chain function.  

during planning, who provides input?As for the tools in use, 46% rely heavily on Excel for their planning. A combined 54% are either looking to remove their dependence on spreadsheets or are already using different tools.  

54% of supply chain pros are either looking to remove their dependence on spreadsheets or already using different tools for supply chain planning – Tweet this

excel use in planningHow much time is allocated to advancing the planning function?  

32% of organizations in the research appear to commit 5% or more of their time to advancing planning capabilities. The majority spend less than 5% of their time on this or don’t have a formal commitment towards advancing planning.  

how much time do you allocate to advancing planningWhen it comes to innovationonly 17% stated that they allocate a “great deal” of time for this purpose. 50% allocate just enough time on innovation to drive service level and margin improvements. However, 34% spend most of their time firefighting and none on innovating.  

How much time do you spend on innovationWhat does this tell us about the level of preparedness?  

Based on our results, about half of professionals believe their planning process is effective enough. These organizations may be better prepared to cope with today’s disruption and growing uncertainty. For the other half, weathering the storm of the coronavirus pandemic and preparing for the next disruption may not be as easy. We will soon launch a new quiz to uncover more perceptions on this topic. Stay tuned! You can also sign up for our Supply Chain Digest to hear about it first and get our complete Planning Maturity Research report.  

*This post was updated on April 29 with our latest findings

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