Saturday, February 19, 2011

Advanced Planning Systems (APS) as a Supply Chain Optimization Tool?

Throughout the last decade, organizational leaders have continued to look for the best solutions to help solve many organizational procurement, production, marketing, administration, sales, etc. problems. As a result of such exploration, many technological systems have been developed to help organizational leaders plan strategically for many unknown future occurrences. In a recent article (Jonsson, Kjellsdotter, & Rudberg, 2007) discussed one such process termed “Advanced Planning Systems (APS)” (i.e. often referred to as supply chain optimization software, as it helps create near optimal organizational plans); which, in turn, helps solve some of the organizational problems and supply chain issues mentioned earlier and in previous posts. By explaining the importance of advanced planning systems and/or software (Jonsson, et al., 2007) focused their analysis on five specific variables (1) Complex planning environment, (2) Design and planning model, (3) Data planning, (4) Organizational planning, and (5) Effective planning. From the five identified variables, a framework developed and a conclusion followed, which highlighted the effects these variables played on the long-term functionality of an organization and different supply chain channels. From the empirical evidence gathered, the identified variables, their relation to supply chain optimization, and the model, (Jonsson, et al., 2007) recommended, several further directions researchers could take in expanding upon their work in order to fill any potential gaps, which are as follows. (1) What possibilities do advanced planning systems play in different organizational planning activities? (2) How does the developed model optimize organizational performance? (3) Can the data collection process effect advance planning systems, what other methods might be implemented? (4) How can an organization achieve positive planning throughout the supply chain and integrate these positive approaches into their daily structures?

It is no secret that in today’s rapidly changing business environment, organizations are continuing to examine different ways that they can grow relationships and improve efficiency with suppliers, their customers, and employees. (Jonsson, et al., 2007) purposed Advanced Planning Systems as a concept and analyzed its effects in three model companies. Although the study focused mainly on supply chain effectiveness and procurement, after the research the authors were able to conclude that this concept is easily transferable and can be used as a support tool, or help solve other issues in other parts of most organizations. Therefore, it only makes sense that when leaders discuss the different ways to enhance organizational systems (i.e. SCM, CRM, ERP, EDI, etc) that they should consider tactical or strategic systems such as APS. In turn, those researchers that are interested in a model that will help develop strategic and/or tactical planning processes in software implementation throughout an organization they should also consider APS.

APS is yet another important tool available to organizational leaders in order to make better purchasing decisions, or forecasts, while developing better ways to plan and schedule throughout the supply chain. This is my first report on APS but like the other concepts (i.e. SCM, ERP, CRM, and EDI) that I have been discussing is an important topic for me to expand upon, as I continue to seek the most effective methods for supply chain optimization through technological innovations. Therefore, in the weeks and months ahead I will continue to dive into this topic more, well reporting my findings in hopes of other expert opinions. Nevertheless, if you have some please share, as this is the best way to learn! Until then and as usual keep smiling!

Reference
Jonsson, P., Kjellsdotter, L., & Rudberg, M. (2007). Applying advanced planning systems for supply chain planning: three case studies. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 37(10), 816.

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