How Manufacturers are Improving Production Planning Using 'What-If Analysis'
If there is one thing the past year has taught us, it is to be prepared for the unexpected. The COVID-19 pandemic threw businesses off guard: the supply and demand dynamic went for a toss, as companies ran helter-skelter to minimize the uncertainties of the market. Although proper planning has always been a significant component of supply chain operations, most manufacturers take a very reactive approach to respond to changes – and eventually end up struggling to recover.
The significance of what-if analysis
The main objective of any manufacturer is to be able to deliver products of the right quality (and in the right quantity) to customers at the most economical price. But achieving this is not as easy as it seems. In my 25+ year professional career, and as the co-founder and CEO of Delpheon, I have witnessed manufacturing organizations struggle to achieve these goals because of the lack of ability to create production schedules that are efficient and optimized.
If you want to predict real-world scenarios (and adjust to change), you need to be proactive in how you plan your production schedules. And that’s exactly why you need to rely on the right analysis – so you can improve the accuracy of your production planning efforts. Scenario planning via what-if analysis can help manufacturers optimize their planning process and make informed decisions – both for the present and for the future.
Let’s look at a real-life scenario, where a manufacturer has arrived at an accurate prediction of demand for the upcoming holiday season. Based on this predicted scenario, what-if analysis will allow the manufacturer to efficiently plan activities to meet the projected surge in demand: right from adding additional resources on the line, to planning for overtime capacity, and scheduling additional maintenance activities to avoid equipment failure from overuse. The analysis can also help in optimizing schedules while balancing the production efficiency and delivery performance. It can also deliver enterprise-wide visibility and enable scenario-driven decision-making to synchronize supply with demand to reduce inventories.
The challenges they bring
What-if analysis helps manufacturers
- Identify specific sets of uncertainties and make timely predictions about how they might impact production timelines.
- Revolutionize the planning processes and take the right steps towards efficient production schedules by creating different scenarios.
- Walking through potential scenarios can also help in preparing for the unexpected.
- Develop the required problem-solving skills to strengthen the business operations in the face of uncertainty.
- Compare various scenarios and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Traditional approaches for what-if analysis such as manual scenario planning using complex spreadsheets is a recipe for disaster. Such manual efforts are not only disconnected from the production scheduling process; but also carry a high risk of error that restricts manufacturers from accurately predicting their production requirements and meeting their deadlines. Moreover, since tasks are carried out by individuals in silos, there is a lack of transparency in the planning process – which could impact the ability to react and recover from disruptions and market changes.
The doors experts open
Conducting what-if analysis to improve production planning, although critical, is also extremely complex. If you want to achieve the best analysis results, it pays to adopt solutions like Delpheon which enables manufacturers to chart out accurate and timely scenarios – based on your industry type, business challenges, and market trends.
With such a new-age, ready-made solution, you can test comprehensive alternatives. Automated workflows and modern capabilities take all influences, feedback, and reactions into account, and depict an accurate representation of scenarios – along with their impact on the production planning process.
Let’s look at a list of capabilities Delpheon can bring to your what-if analysis:
- Work with the right data: What-if analysis can provide you with accurate and timely predictions, only when you work with the right data. Delpheon helps you understand what scenarios you want to predict. It can collect and aggregate data that will help you predict these scenarios, including known factors, key trends, and driving forces, and then score and rank these items to craft effective scenarios.
- Ask the right questions: Effective what-if analysis requires a lot of brainstorming; since there are several factors that influence manufacturing operations, regardless of what you would like to predict, the Delpheon experts will help you list down the right questions to ask, so you can arrive at the right results. They can also help you identify flaws or gaps in your plans, so you can revise them, and ultimately build a strategy to handle each scenario effectively.
- React with agility: Given how volatile the business landscape currently is, experts can also help you react to changes with increased agility. Tailored models, simulated scenarios, and automated workflows allow for action to be taken immediately, while also enabling you to accurately predict the consequences of events such as delayed deliveries, so you have enough time at hand to determine the best course of action, minimize damage, and maximize success.
Whether you want to plan for the future, arrive at the best schedule, or quickly implement changes, what-if analysis allows you to make changes to your production schedule based on your forecasted demand. However, instead of relying on manual approaches to what-if analysis that are extremely time-consuming, investing in ready-made solutions that have been curated by competent experts can help in automatically creating an accurate production schedule in seconds. Modern drag-and-drop functionality and simulated scenarios can allow manufacturers to have the power they need to improve production efficiency, eliminate waste, and overcome bottlenecks.
Connect with us today to know how we can help you in planning your production schedules & why you should use what-if scenarios to evaluate and compare various production schedules and increase production efficiency.