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Advanced Planning Systems - Part 6 of 8

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Customizing Software

A daunting problem for APS practitioners is the need to customize models so that the model fits the business problem. Every business and industry has many unique attributes that have to be considered as part of the model. Customizations are hard to maintain, requiring highly skilled psople to run and maintain the model. This limits their usefulness. Future models will be more capable and require none or a minimum amount of cus­tomization.

Automated Processes

New technologies, like the Internet, will provide more timely status information about all aspects of the sup­ply chain and demand. The greater integration of infor­mation also provides online decision-making that is directly available to the people doing the job and ulti­mately to the customer.

Forecasting and Customer Service

Forecasting is directly related to customer service via lead times. If your business wants to make product available faster than the physical supply chain is capable, the only way to accomplish this is with forecasts. Future APS tools will apply varying business policies to forecasts, inventory management, and customer service objectives.


Forecasting will improve by automated statistical mod­els selection and historical data selection to improve accuracy; greater direct input from customers, as in point-of-sale information; selection of a method or com­bination of methods to achieve a better forecast; and the use of a tracking signal to indicate when forecasts should be updated.

Customer Relationship Management

APS is about integrating information in unique ways to better serve the customer and make supply chain opera­tion and planning more efficient. Customer relationship management is a subset that takes customers' special needs and anticipates these needs and demands, to help them react to the marketplace better and better serve those customers' needs.


Part 1  Part 2   Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  Part 7  Part 8

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