What a Difference a Day Makes

View From The Ridge: 54

April 29, 2016

Greg White


What if you could get the Wall Street Journal for next Tuesday, or a month from Tuesday, today?  If you could know what will happen on a particular day in the future, imagine what you could do with that.

OK, so the WSJ is not coming to you a month, or even a day early, sorry.  Still, an intriguing thought, isn’t it?

Now Imagine This

What if right now you could know precisely what your supply chain will look like next Tuesday, or a month from Tuesday?  If you could know, not just what your sales look like, but also your orders, receipts, and on-hands.  I bet you really can imagine what you, and the rest of your company cohorts, could do with that.

  1. Much of what surprises you and forces you to fight fires would be prevented with advance notice.
  2. Many of the opportunities obscured by fires, or missed altogether, could be capitalized on.
  3. Advance notice for requirements of cash, labor, space, markdowns, promotions could help every department in the company improve their performance.

Why can't it be that way?

Until now, many of you have had no real visibility to the impact of your supply chain decisions on the future.  You’ve been forced to estimate, guess, and sometimes even…hope.  Your systems left you blind to what the future holds. And if you had any view at all, it was averaged, approximated, and theoretical.

Could you see precisely what an order would look like on a specific day, and what precise impact it would have on stock levels the day it arrived?  The key word here…I bet you can guess since I repeated a few times…is ‘precise.’ Sure, you could get a feeling, estimate in your head or a spreadsheet, about what would happen within a range of dates; a month or even a week…but a day?  Balderdash!

So many of you could see the estimated impact of one item hitting its reorder point, but:

  • You’ve been blind to the effect on that item of supplier ordering schedules (due to buying dozens or hundreds of items together)
  • You’ve probably felt the frustration of not seeing the effect that logistics rules have on this item or the dozens purchased with it.  Things like rounding to paid freight minimums, container or truckload quantities

Unfortunately, many of you have had your view restricted for so long that it’s been forgotten that a forward look is even possible, much less necessary to make decisions.  The technology that many of you started with- with limitations due to historic hardware cost and data availability- can’t keep up with the opportunities in today’s world and has kept you blind to the possibilities.

Truth is, you can see the future...Today

With a precise supply chain plan, one that considers daily changes and the factors or constraints that affect your company in the real world, you can get a good view of what each and every day looks like.

This plan allows you to foresee issues and opportunities, and opens the door to all kinds of options.  No, it doesn’t help you play the stock market, but it does help you play, plan, survive and thrive in your market.  You can predict, inform, adapt and respond like never before.  Just a few examples:

  • Predict how much receiving labor you’ll need on a particular day.  Say bye-bye to temps standing around with nothing to do, or trailers that wait hours or days to be unloaded
  • Identify how much space you’ll use in your warehouse or store facilities, or even know which store shelves or picking slots will be necessary
  • Advise finance to peaks in inventory, months before they occur
  • Communicate with stores or field sales about items nearing expiration or end-of-life to get in front of a profit-draining situation
  • And the list goes on...

Any of you that use the Blue Ridge Supply Chain Planning applications have the ability to get this level of visibility.  We want you to know this information so you can improve your business.  Knowledge is power, and advanced knowledge is, well…more power.