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Advanced Planning Systems - Part 8 of 8

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THE SELECTION PROCESS

Software Selection

The challenge for business is to pick the right technolo­gies at the right time. APS technologies due to their com­plexities require careful investigation in three areas: The user clearly needs to define the functionality for today's problem and how it may be extended in the future. Next, the functionality should be evaluated for it s fit to the unique idiosyncrasies of the particular business and the their physical supply chain attributes. Finally, they should understand the degree to which the APS auto­mates the intended task. All APS tools are not equal there are vast differences between them. Their high cost in­troduces that much more risk. The only way to combat the inherent risk is to carefully study the problem and understand the available technologies.

Another consideration is the difficulty in implement­ing APS. At least for the foreseeable future, APS tools require more than average maintenance and a high de­gree of skill. The cost of maintenance will be high, so factor this into the decision when selecting APS tech­nologies. I do not question the value of APS, only the continuing desire of business to provide adequate sup­port for these tools.

WHAT AND WHEN TO AUTOMATE

Integrated Decisions

There is no point in automating garbage. Poor data or a poorly define business model will just lead to the APS model moving garbage faster.

Automating a business process with APS should be done as part of the overall planning process. Look at each of the tactical planning steps and ensure that the integration between the functions is understood. Highly integrated functions should be built into one model and simultaneously solved. APS models can be built as stand­alone, onetime models or to be periodically used as part of the planning process. The former case gets your feet wet, understanding the value of such models. My rec­ommendation is to construct as many models as pos­sible that are part of a disciplined planning process.

Architecture

When the models are made part of a critical business decision-making process, the maximum value will be derived from the investment and there will be no ques­tion about the degree of support required. Further, one data model has evolved that provides the necessary ac­cess to internal and external data—a central database acts as a hub between the decision support models and the ERP/legacy business systems.

Integrated Decisions

Positioning APS models within all the layers of planning with greater visibility over the entire supply chain is a necessary evolution to business decision-making. The time requirements and complexity make this an obvious conclusion for companies that have a good business model and know they need to constantly test it.

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


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