Planning Systems such as sales planning, cost planning or capacity planning provide the basis for performance management in an organisation. Without a plan there is little orientation, let alone clear objectives or direction. A plan represents given facts paired with assumptions about future development and suggests new goals and actions to be taken. Alignment about the planning approach as well as about the meaning and interpretation of the details contained in the plan are as important as the planning infrastructure.

  • Sales Planning: annual, rolling and long-term plans about sales quantities and revenue, combined with means to change or simulate by segment and categories
  • Cost Planning: cost driven by planned sales figures, per unit and broken down by costing groups - mix analysis and indepth mix-in-mix drill-downs
  • Capacity Planning: resource assignment plans (machine, material and labor) as well as machine or production line requirements based on sales plans, revealing resource shortages

A plan is often complemented by Calculations & Simulations, both aiming to respond to the complexity in todays business world. Scenarios, variants or models are typical approaches. As a result, decision alternatives become more comprehendable and comparable; even a high number of alternatives can be dealt with in a relative short time. A sophisticated system would even suggest the best alternatives for you.


Integrated Business Planning

Integrated planning systems have been around since the rising of the ERP systems, yet, all too often planning systems are not linked at all. Data inconsistencies, distributed data sources and time-consuming processes are the main reasons for the lack of integrated planning processes. Heterogeneous system landscapes (ORACLE, SAP, SAS, etc.) make it difficult to plan across the whole company. Subsidiaries using differnt taxonomies and guidelines may plan on the same system but using different terms, different granularity or ambiguous naming due to different naming conventions.

A well integrated system allows sales plans to feed into cost planning as well as capacity planning. A sound capacity planning provides needed details for investment and headcount planning, which in turn has an effect on cost-planning again. The disparate, unfitting or inconclusive different sources are, the more difficult is it to bring them all together.

In recent years, Business Intelligence solutions have provided a way out - although a very costly one. While the existing heterogeneous landscape could be preserved, a new layer to collect all data and transform the data to meet jointly defined structures was defined in a data-warehouse. This data was then analyzed and provided using an OLAP Database and presented through Analytical Dashboards. Bottomline: because the existing landscape was too heterogeneous, extremly high cost, highly skilled staff and additional systems were necessary to be able to report across all data.

Yet still, even though the reports where based on all systems, these systems still were not integrated. Business Intelligence turned out to be a cover-up of organizational dysfunction, showing in an unwillingness to come to terms with the need for one single system.


The age of AI

Soon there will be systems available that not only aim to report on joint data, but draw conclusions from it, make suggestions based on it and eventually derive autonomous decisions from it.

Using AI to automate processes and decision making will lead to business processes that require humans and machines to work closely together. The planning process will not only be based on the insights that a sales-person has over his/her industry, customer and market, but also on the insights that an AI derives from the data analyzed.

It´s clear that with such a scenario on the horizon, the need for data to be integrated is even greater. Nobody will want to invest in an AI based planning system, when the data is not to be trusted or not available in real-time. But also: nobody wants to be last to be able to plan better.


Your data will influence your competitiveness

The better a company will be able to plan, the better its interface to internal and external receipients of such planning data. Production floors will be able to discover capacity issues much earlier, HR will be notified of personnel shortage in advance and material procurement can leverage solid information about higher volumes to get a better price.

The better the planning data, the more competitive an organization can be.

However this is easier said than done. Too many differnent skills are needed to paint a big picture of such integrated systems, processes, communication and humans working with machines.

We have these skills and are ready to help you instantly.