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Steelwedge® Announces PlanStreaming TM Solution Enhancements for “What-If” Enabled Integrated Business Planning Decisions Across the Extended Enterprise

Phoenix, AZ, May 17, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Steelwedge, the leading provider of cloud-based Integrated Business Planning solutions and services that inform better decision-making for global organizations, today announced key capabilities in its PlanStreaming planning solutions that enhance a company’s ability to make more informed planning decisions that consider revenue, margin and service level impacts across customer and supplier networks, based on a broad range of factors, including time horizons, customers, suppliers, business units, products and geographies.

The announcement was made at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, held May 17-19 in Phoenix, Arizona. Gartner categorized Steelwedge as a leader in the 2015 Magic Quadrant for Sales & Operations Planning System of Differentiation.

Spanning across Integrated Business Planning solutions is a Revenue-FirstTM design that first considers the revenue-capture potential of decisions across time horizons, automatically translating currencies and units of measure appropriate to associated geographies to revenue and margin impacts, all normalized for a comprehensive regional and global view.

“A revenue plan is the manifestation of a company’s overall strategy. Revenue-First planning gives you the ability to connect that overall company strategy to operational decision-making,” said Pervinder Johar, Steelwedge CEO. “In addition, adopting revenue alignment removes the forecast bias from the planning process and improves forecast accuracy. Forecast bias is almost always positive, and that bias inevitably impacts inventory levels and manufacturing operations.”

Glenn Jones, Steelwedge Executive Vice President of Products, commented: “Traditionally, supply chain decisions have been considered from a cost and service perspective. While other solutions unite supply chain planning end to end, efficiently melding sales, product, and financial viewpoints with supply chain perspectives is more rare and difficult. Adding virtual ‘what if’ collaboration that unifies financial, sales, product and supply chain considerations within an enterprise and across customer and supplier networks then is able to deliver on the promise of Integrated Business Planning. We believe this cross-viewpoint accountability is essential to make planning actionable, as opposed to simply an exercise that may or may not drive actual business execution and performance.”

Jones continued: “Our solutions and their underlying algorithms are powered by what we describe as a ‘Revenue-First” orientation. That is, we think of supply chains first and foremost as revenue drivers, and then factor in cost and service tradeoffs across a company’s network of customers, channels and suppliers. This approach moves supply chain discussions from behind-the-scenes cost management to front-and-center business strategy, and supports delivering more predictable financial forecasts and outcomes.”

Jones also noted that prioritizing opportunities and issues planners is essential to accelerating planning performance. “Intelligent systems that guide planners to the most significant decisions, and make recommendations based on business priorities, will be foundational in driving future market leaders,” he said.

Jones emphasized that uniting supply and demand decisions on a common platform with sales planning, new product introduction and product end-of-life planning, and revenue and margin planning speeds “what-if” scenario exploration to foster making fully informed decisions faster.

“Historically, one limitation of planning solutions has been the speed with which decision makers could assess the revenue, margin and service level impacts of a variety of scenarios before taking action,” Jones explained. “By ‘turbo-charging’ this capability with a highly scalable and performant platform, and by giving planners a unified view of implications across the extended enterprise, we’re delivering on the promise of Integrated Business Planning,” Jones concluded.

Revenue-First Demand Planning Highlights

Key capabilities supporting advanced demand planning techniques include:

  • Attach Rate Planning: Enables companies to more comprehensively consider relationships among demand drivers when assessing the revenue and margin impact of various products and decisions. Among the considerations planners can easily factor into expected outcomes are:
  • Immediate Upsells, meaning the impact of accessories that are likely to be purchased with a product at the time of the initial sale, such as a protective case and a service warranty with a tablet device;
  • Follow-on Sales Over Time, which considers that a product with lower revenue and margin than another may, in fact, generate more revenue and margin over time if it sustains add-on sales attached to it over time, such as reagents for medical equipment, ink cartridges or subscriptions with printers, or blush and eyeshadow that complement a base makeup shade;
  • Sales Tied to Another Company’s Products Over Time, which enables planning for products one expects to be attached to sales of another company’s products, such as after-market car parts; disc drives or video cards for computers; or protective cases and headphones for mobile devices.
  • Telescopic Planning: Enables planning at the right “resolution” at the right time, through the ability to aggregate and disaggregate information used in decisions based on the time period for which the decision is being made.
    • Variable Length Time Horizon Planning accommodates planning in daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, single year, multi-year, or extended multi-year cycles (such as required in very long lead-time industries such as biopharma and automotive). As the horizon shortens, more finite, disaggregated information informs decisions; as the horizon lengthens, increasingly aggregated views are used. In addition, shorter time horizons consider product volume, while longer term horizons consider product mix.
    • Daily SKU-Level What-If Analysis shows the immediate trade-offs among revenue, margin and customer service levels for short term execution decisions
    • In-time control optimizes trade-off decisions within lead-times, meaning during time horizons in which supply is fixed because the time period is shorter than the time required to procure more supply. Revenue, margin and services trade-offs are assessed against company-set objectives to optimize the best use of fixed supply.
  • Custom Order Now Planning: Enables planning when the final finished good is not defined, which is typical in build-to-order and configure-to-order businesses. Companies that delver finished goods that have low commonality, but that are comprised of component parts with high commonality, use Custom Order Now Planning to reliably hit commit dates while meeting revenue and margin goals. “What if” scenario planning guides having the right components and partial configurations either on hand or quickly accessible in the right locations while minimizing inventory carrying costs and obsolescence.

Revenue-First Supply Planning Highlights

Key capabilities supporting Revenue-First supply planning include:

  • Intelligent Allocation: Enables what-if analysis for decisions in a certain time period to consider not only trade-offs among revenue, margin and customer service level for that time period, but also the “ripple effect” impacts for later time periods. For example, if you are making decisions over a three-month time horizon, you can evaluate trade-offs not only for the three months, but also for the following six or 12 months, or any time period you choose. Other systems limit impact analysis to the decision time period. A broader view enables more expansive reallocation decisions based on differing levels of customer demand, commit dates, and priorities to optimize revenue, margin and service levels. For example, if supply allocated to meet a 3-month window of demand from Customer A falls short, you can do what-if analysis to reallocate supply from other 3-month delivery commits, plus can see that you may be able to take supply allocated for a later time period for Customer B, with enough time to replace that supply without compromising Customer B’s commit date. In addition to enabling manual reallocation, the system utilizes algorithms that determine optimal reallocation recommendations based on a variety of factors.
  • Shadow Planning: Enables holding outsourced manufacturers accountable to your priorities by creating actionable plans for them based on supply network data, and having the visibility to monitor compliance with those plans. Internal teams and outsourced manufacturers use the same collaborative platform to understand trade-offs among service levels, revenue and margin, and to co-commit to customer order promises.
  • Revenue-FirstTM Response Management: Multi-tier planning visibility to components, semi-finished goods and finished goods enables companies to commit with confidence to a date you can deliver an order, taking into account supply, demand, and other order commitments. The system shows inventory available-to-promise (ATP), meaning items in the order are on-hand; and capable-to-promise (CTP), meaning the items in the order are not already on-hand, but will be in time to meet the order commit date. What-if scenario planning reveals where to stage finished goods, partial assemblies and components to most cost-effectively and efficiently respond to orders.

Steelwedge is demonstrating these capabilities, along with others, at Booth #510 at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, May 17-19 in Phoenix, Arizona.

About Steelwedge
Organizations use Steelwedge’s cloud planning platform and services to align product, sales, demand, supply, strategy, operations and financial decisions across roles, geographies, products, time horizons, channels, customers and suppliers to improve efficiency and outcomes. Steelwedge’s PlanStreaming cloud platform combines predictive, prescriptive and responsive analytics and technology to equip organizations to be ready to act in time with opportunity, especially in highly competitive markets where continuous planning is essential and efficiently responding to changing conditions is advantageous. To learn more about Steelwedge, visit www.steelwedge.com.

Will Haraway Steelwedge 404.593.8320 wharaway@steelwedge.com

Source: Steelwedge