After all, high levels of inventories as well as out of stock cost money, and it ties up time and resources when Category Managers and Department Managers in stores have to handle orders. It also distracts them from their primary task, which is being there for customers and colleagues. With the new approach and organization, now a Supply Chain team of experts in Demand and Supply Planning focuses on forecasts and orders in all stores and warehouses. ‘Thanks to the Integrated Planning transformation, we can now focus much more on the improvement of commercial relations with our wholesales customers in the stores,’ says Celenta.
It All Starts With the Customers’ Needs
What makes it so innovative is that the process is customer-driven. Unlike conventional systems, it approaches the entire procurement process backwards, starting from the customers’ needs. The new system is based predominantly on the understanding and planning of future sales. This requires expertise, new processes and accurate sales forecasts, powered by a new digital tool. While previously, each wholesale store placed its own orders, the new METRO Demand & Supply Planning (MDSP) software and connected processes facilitate central oversight and coordination. METRO is therefore mobilizing its key resources: METRONOM is providing the vital IT infrastructure, and an equally important element is the change management process, which the Corporate Supply Chain team is overseeing. ‘Developing dedicated training programs for our Demand and Supply Planners but also for the Category Managers as well as Department Managers at the stores will support the proper implementation of Integrated Planning,’ says Celenta.
But Integrated Planning is not only relevant to colleagues involved in the Supply Chain department. ‘It enables the Offer, Supply Chain and Operations departments to work closely together. In this sense, Integrated Planning optimizes the whole organization.’ The software in use is powered by Blue Yonder/JDA, a leading digital solution in the market.