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These latest product innovations for supply chain planning will help you make better decisions to navigate rapid change and greater complexity.

Supply chain planning is a decision-making process. Its outcomes often depend on seeing those subtle events contained in granular data, then triggering the right workflow to take action on them. These critical capabilities pay off in giving planners the most important factor: speed — from event to decisive action.  

Accordingly, today we're thrilled to launch three groundbreaking capabilities designed to help supply chain planners, like you, gain control of granularity and time to make more confident decisions in navigating the high-impact events that shape today’s complex and fast-changing business climate.

Our latest offerings include enhanced capabilities for Polaris, Visual Workflow Designer, and Geo-spatial Mapping — all capabilities that enhance understanding of supply chain data and accelerate the decision-making that turns supply chain events into opportunities. Read on to discover how these features will help you see, plan, and lead your supply chain to resilience with a better decision-making process.

Unlock supply chain data granularity with Polaris

Supply chain planners have a data problem. That problem has persisted in one form or another since supply chain planning began using technology, but today’s data problem is more about making ever more granular data useful in seeing supply chain events clearly and making better decisions on it. This type of data is granular, where the devil is literally in the details — how to manage granular data to make important planning decisions. 

Enter Anaplan Polaris, our calculation engine for high dimensionality, which is now generally available for supply chain planning. With Polaris, supply chain planners can leverage large, complex, and sparse data sets to model at a massive scale and at the natural dimensionality of their business. They can slice and dice through every facet of the business — working with existing parameters, like dimensions or hierarchies, to spot key trends and uncover actionable insights at the speed of the market. 

For supply chain planners — whether in demand, inventory, or sales and operations (S&OP) — dimensionality and hierarchies are where many important planning decisions are made, and where their impacts can be seen to ripple through their operations. A global supply chain leader, for instance, could model across geographical boundaries and time zones; across every SKU and every component required to produce each individual product; across every level of complex bills of material (BOM), and across every factory, warehouse, and facility. 

They could drill into multiple levels of specificity with precision and granularity along with a fully informed view of their organization’s entire supply chain to make the most informed and actionable business decisions. The ability to see and understand these events manifest in the granular data, in sparse data sets involved in SKUs and BOM granularity for example, is crucial to supply chain planning decisions. For supply chain planners, granular details can have the biggest impact on decisions — especially when seen across their dependencies, such as BOM subassemblies at plant locations, SKUs and bin, shelf and/or store location.

Polaris adds the power of granularity to supply chain planning, giving planners new decision-making confidence, yielding greater agility, resilience, and competitive advantage. The ability to handle the full granularity of key supply chain decision points, at the SKU, sub-BOM (1500+ products x 15,000+ components x 10+ levels, for example), and locational levels, and to see the complex relationships among them in scenario models, is the power to change the outcomes of the planning process.

Accelerate supply chain decisions with Anaplan Workflow

Supply Chain planning is a decision-making process, where everything from course adjustments to re-planning based on new, constantly changing information is part of the job. Whether it’s a simple task like updating a forecast, or a defined process like monthly assortment planning, Workflow enables businesses to eliminate the manual intervention required to run successful planning processes. Instead, clear call-to-action buttons notify users automatically when it’s their turn to submit an approval or rejection or to work on a task. Anaplan Workflow adds greater automation to supply chain planning processes, notifying users automatically when their action is needed, and automatically designate the next-in-line reviewer/approver in case the original designee is out of office, which speeds the time from events to decisions. 

Our new Visual Workflow Designer simplifies collaboration within Anaplan across a growing number of supply chain functions and stakeholders, data, and needs for more frequent planning. Supply chain planning is shaped by events — many, such as demand signals, supply shortages or logistics, are external to your organization — so the ability to capture these events into a workflow that automates stakeholder-specific actions accelerates critical decision-making.  

If you are a retailer, using merchandise financial planning (MFP) to make daily inventory, assortment, and allocation adjustments, often based on new demand signal events, got a lot easier with Visual Workflow Designer. Merchandising is about visualizing demand signals versus inventory positions and channels in scenarios and guided resolution, and Workflow automates much of the process of building, evaluating, and making decisions on different demand signals. Now retail planners can gain further automation and standardization of their adjustments, scenario planning, promotions and other critical processes using Visual Workflow Designer. 

In sales and operations planning (S&OP), which is often the function for risk assessment and mitigation, Workflow automates many of the tasks around alerting planners to risks, creating repeatable best practices for escalating risks to key stakeholders across the organization, then putting in place decision procedures and follow-ups as needed. An event in the data can trigger the workflows, and they can be tailored specifically to the organization’s planning and decision-making processes for fast resolution. Workflow can turn events into opportunities by automating the process of reviewing impacts and options — which enhances the effectiveness not just for S&OP but for Demand, Inventory, and Procurement Planning. 

Effective supply chain planning requires teamwork, and Workflow is a facilitator of team collaboration. According to customers and analyst research, connecting the right people, data and processes together inherently speeds decisions and creates agility. When the processes are automated with connected planning, decision makers gain both speed and better outcomes that can include 100% ROI in a year, 2–3x improvement in process speed, and better customer service. Anaplan Visual Workflow Designer extends these benefits a step further, adding speed to these processes with the ability to create event handling and decision processes with greater levels of automation. 

And now there’s more visualization

As the business landscape has become more complex, with new risks with greater impacts happening frequently, visualization is a critical capability for assessing the overall health of your supply chain plans and making necessary adjustments in real time. Whether it’s introducing new products, expanding into new markets, or looking for ways to drive cost out of your supply chain, all have the common problem of making sense out of mountains of data and making the right decisions from it. That’s why we are thrilled to introduce Geo-spatial Mapping, enabling you to visualize, plan, and lead your supply chain with location intelligence. 

Our customers can now design geo-spatial, hybrid, or virtual locations for their supply chains with interactive maps. Mapping allows planners to gain insights from demand signals, for example, by mapping them to specific locals to help identify the events unique to time and place that are shaping them. 

Similarly, S&OP planners can spot patterns of risk more easily through visualization, enabling them to send alerts (which can be set up using Anaplan Workflow Designer) for decision makers to assess their impacts (and opportunities!) and take more decisive action. Inventory planners can be alerted to delays or shortages with visualization, also enabling them to make faster decisions and adjustments. 

Plan with Anaplan 

With the addition of several new capabilities around analyzing and visualizing data granularity, together with new workflow automation, the ability for supply chain planners to see, understand, and make decisions on the events that shape their business is the power to lead their markets. Together with the introduction of Anaplan Applications for Supply Chain earlier this year, these capabilities show why Anaplan is moving the needle for decision-centric supply chain planning. 

With Polaris, Anaplan turns data granularity into power for supply chain planners, giving them greater ability to drill down into SKUs, BOMs, components, locations, and time. With Anaplan Visual Workflow Designer, automating event-handling and decision-making processes becomes easier and faster. And with Anaplan Geo-Spatial Mapping, visualizing supply chain operations, their risks, and opportunities, has never been easier. Learn more about how to turn these new supply chain capabilities into your competitive advantage. 

To see these new capabilities in action, don’t miss us at the Gartner Supply Chain Summit, London October 30–31 and Phoenix November 29–30.  

Unlock end-to-end supply chain visibility