Inbound Logistics | January 2022

Turn data into intelligence. GE Appliances began its digital supply chain journey in 2017, says Kent Suiters, executive director, lean enterprises with the company. Visibility to supply and demand became a priority, as the availability of big data and rapidly maturing digitization tools offered the opportunity to boost responsiveness. The pandemic highlighted the wisdom of this approach, as GE Appliances had to quickly connect limited supplies of certain parts and components to rapidly growing demand, while also meeting customer expectations. The control tower they implemented “identies issues days and weeks in advance so they can be resolved with little or no customer impact,” Suiters says. (A supply chain control tower is traditionally dened as a connected, personalized dashboard of data, key business metrics and events across the supply chain.) By turning data from these systems into intelligence and insight, GE Appliances was able to create “agility and resiliency in our supply chain by transforming our business processes,” Suiters says. This allowed employees to be more forward looking and transition their work from transactional to decision-making.

To combat erratic swings in consumer consumption during the pandemic, Heineken USA took steps to improve visibility and the predictability of inbound and outbound planning.

into all of our data points and nd ways to drive insights and connect them throughout our processes,” she adds. Heineken USA isn’t alone. For most companies, the delays and shortages in the face of booming demand have created an urgent need for more effective technology for demand forecasting. To remain competitive, companies need to leverage demand planning and forecasting tools that can help them respond to changing market dynamics, optimize inventory, and provide reliable forecasts.

across pack types, while COVID shutdowns caused channel trends to shift dramatically. “These factors, along with our long import supply chain, forced us to reevaluate how we combine predictive analytics and demand planning to anticipate trend changes,” says Laura Strehle, senior director, supply chain planning. For instance, Strehle and her team often had to disregard data history and instead enrich forecasts with high-frequency sales and operations planning data. And because the marketplace was shifting so rapidly, they needed to put off some planning decisions until as close to the last minute as possible. To take these steps, Heineken USA rst needed to “improve our visibility and the predictability of our outbound and inbound planning,” Strehle says. That meant moving from static to dynamic parameters, and proactively creating new logistics routes to move stock to customers. They also integrated and digitized their end-to-end supply chain data to boost agility. “During extremely volatile periods, we had to dive deep

Create a digital team to tout domestic operations. Companies that source domestically have been able to avoid some of the supply chain delays impacting those with more global supply chains. It only makes sense for them to market this fact. Dusty Dean is founder and chief executive ofcer of BITCADET,

Figure out new ways to forecast. Over the past 18 months, beer company Heineken USA experienced erratic swings in consumption

116 Inbound Logistics • January 2022

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