Three Key Assessment Factors for Supply Chain Planning Solutions

Today’s supply chains continue to evolve as a result of both a continuous series of unprecedented challenges and the need to match the shifting global consumer expectations. Sustainability continues its rightful rise in the central agendas of customers, companies, and supply chains. Coupled with speed of innovation in various technologies – cloud, AI/ML, IoT, Edge – the current ecosystem presents a new set of challenges and opportunities for all stakeholders. A resilient, intelligent, and agile supply chain is the need of the hour and supply chain planning is the first step in building such capabilities.

IDC recently published a set of IDC MarketScapes focused on Holistic Supply Chain Planning, Demand Planning, Supply Planning, Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP), and Inventory Optimization*. The research is based on both a quantitative and qualitative assessment of each vendors current capabilities, future roadmap and vision, breadth of industry offering, global presence, customer engagements, and more.

Blue Yonder is recognized as a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Holistic Supply Chain Planning 2022 Vendor Assessment. In addition, Blue Yonder is also recognized as a Leader in the 2022 IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Vendor Assessment for Demand Planning, Sales & Operations Planning, and Inventory Optimization, as well as a Major Player for Supply Planning.

Selecting a new or upgrading your existing supply chain planning solution can be a stressful decision. The winning candidate needs to deliver end-to-end capabilities cutting across function boundaries and time horizons, provision AI/ML use cases in a way that are useful (and not just for the sake of it), offer an enhanced user experience, and the ability to not only anticipate but successfully manage upcoming risk and opportunities. When considering a new solution or an upgrade, here are the three key factors that should form the basis of solution assessment:

  1. Ability to deliver new digital capabilities
  2. Whole is lesser than the sum of parts
  3. Proven performance

Ability To Deliver New Digital Capabilities

A high performing supply chain is a differentiator and a signification competitive advantage. The starting point is a change of perspective that requires companies to envision supply chain as an “opportunity center” and not just a “cost center.” Deploying new digital capabilities in supply chain planning enables companies to bring to market new models that not only address changes in consumer behavior but also address challenges across the value chain. Use of AI/ML in combination with traditional statistical algorithms can provide a significant boost in accuracy where a segmented approach is failing.

In addition, cloud is central to driving digital capabilities as we move forward enterprise innovation and new capabilities are solely available in the cloud due to continuous increase in investment into cloud solutions. Companies will experience well-established benefits of lower TCO, better adaptability and simplified infrastructure. Digital capabilities in planning are required not only to manage supply chain disruptions but also to build the supply chain that power the next leap in organization growth.

Blue Yonder’s Supply Chain Planning solutions are built on best-in-class cloud infrastructure powered by Microsoft Azure and Snowflake. The solutions provide a powerful combination of statistical forecasting and AI/ML models best suited to business requirements. Autonomous scenario planning with the ability to model thousands of factors in real time and a prescriptive, optimized plan output further simplifies the life of the supply chain planner – moving their day-to-day away from firefighting and towards strategic considerations. To accelerate problem solving and innovation, the solutions provide a familiar development environment, ready access to data and a plethora of APIs, and libraries for data scientist to build and deploy at scale new and extended models.

Whole is Lesser Than the Sum of Parts

The second key consideration for supply chain executives is whether to deploy applications that are deemed to be “best in class” for a specific planning problem or to deploy an integrated supply chain planning solution covering multiple supply chain planning functions. According to the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Holistic Supply Chain Planning 2022 Vendor Assessment, “The cobbling together of myriad point solutions, even those that are best of breed, rarely results in a best of breed ‘whole’ – in other words, the whole may be much less than the sum of its parts.”

Pursuing an individual solution strategy can have a negative impact throughout the lifecycle of the application. It adds to the overall IT architecture complexity, increases the time and effort required at deployment to build integrations, increases trainings for multiple stakeholders from power users to IT support, results in higher maintenance costs, and presents unwanted complexity in data analytics and reporting to name a few. There is little doubt that to build a resilient and agile supply chain functional silos need to be broken down and data, assumptions and decisions need to move freely from S&OP, to demand planning, to supply planning and to supply chain execution. Planners across different functions need to collaborate actively to manage disruptions and solve supply chain problems, which is much easier when everyone is looking at the same of data, can bring data and scenario plans together, and collaborate openly without added complexity of data sharing or data integration.

The Blue Yonder’s Supply Chain Planning solutions provide capabilities for demand planning, supply planning, sales & operations planning, inventory planning, production planning, and network design in a single suite built on the Luminate® Platform. Allowing planners to create digital collaboration rooms where they can share exceptions, data and analytics, and collectively create plans to solve problems without the worry of emailing an Excel dump. In addition, Blue Yonder provides complete end-to-end supply chain management solutions covering supply chain planning, execution and commerce.

Proven Performance

The third key consideration is proven performance and scalability, the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Holistic Supply Chain Planning 2022 Vendor Assessment report states “Look to vendors that have experience in your market segment and have the established application scale you require.”Often, proven performance and sound fundamentals get lost in the razzle dazzle of buzzwords, jargon, and the promise of new tech solving all your problems in one fell swoop and flashy marketing. Deployment of new technology should be driven by business requirements and not for the sake of showing adoption of a new technology, which often leads to solutions that aren’t scalable or aren’t viable in the long term.

At Blue Yonder, we put customer success at the center of our strategy. Following is a representative sample of value delivered to our customers:

Disruptions and market evolution continue to be the only constants in today’s supply chain world. The only way forward is to build a resilient, intelligent, and agile supply chain that not only successfully manages disruptions but powers the next phase of growth for your organization. Supply chain planning capabilities are central to building a high-performance, winning supply chain, so selecting the right solution has never been more critical. When evaluating solutions for a new implementation or an upgrade of current capabilities, always consider:

  • How it can help you introduce new digital capabilities that assist with creating new market models.
  • Avoid chasing narrow-focused point solutions that leave you with siloed planning functions and increasing TCO.
  • Lastly, seek out proven success that can support the scale of your business.

Visit to learn more about the 2022 IDC MarketScape Supply Chain Planning Vendor Assessment (requires purchase):

*IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Holistic Supply Chain Planning 2022 Vendor Assessment, Doc #US49578717, September 2022

*IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Supply Chain Supply Planning 2022 Vendor Assessment, Doc #US47620822, September 2022

*IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Supply Chain Inventory Optimization 2022 Vendor Assessment, Doc #US49568517, September 2022

*IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Supply Chain Sales and Operations Planning 2022 Vendor Assessment,  Doc #US49568417, September 2022

*IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Supply Chain Demand Planning 2022 Vendor Assessment, Doc #US47619722 , September 2022