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Good Data is a Key Challenge in S&OP Initiatives and in Dock Scheduling

Is lack of data your biggest obstacle towards implementing a continuous improvement initiative?

I recently attended a Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP) seminar whereby all the
participants were professionals in the field of logistics, supply chain and operational excellence. As with all these seminars, the objective is to regroup 30 to 50 professionals interested in the topic of continuous improvement in the supply chain while networking and exchanging best practice ideas.


The organizers invited two industry executives to tell their story – their S&OP success story. Excellent presentations from both: an executive from a pulp & paper manufacturer and another from a pharmaceutical manufacturer specialized in generic and private label products. When it came to listing the biggest challenges they faced when implementing their plan, they both talked about the lack of data. I’m continuously amazed how companies, big or small (these have sales over $500 million), are unable to extract data from their operations!

They say ‘’when it rains, it pours’’. For some reason, I’ve been hearing this same discourse recently from different sources. Last week I was speaking to a recent customer of ours about his ‘’Best Practice’’ initiatives and the impact C3 Reservations will have on his business. Despite all our nice features, the application’s efficiencies and great technology, all he cared about was being able to measure the number of trucks that arrived, the time to unload, who unloaded them and so forth. He didn’t care whether our product would give him greater efficiencies – that was for much later. Right now, all he cared about is to be able to measure his current activity in order to drive business decisions on data rather than on hearsay.

This week, I was in a meeting with a prospective customer to address their concerns about our product’s ROI. I began by asking if he could provide me the number of minutes his schedulers spend on the phone booking appointments. What was the percentage of phone calls and emails that internal customers such as buyers make to the schedulers per day? Ultimately he couldn’t answer these questions but he did indicate that above all the nice features and productivity gains which C3 Reservations will provide him, he is most eager about the ability to get data on his dock scheduling and receiving activity. He explained how his 800 + retail store operation is moving at a faster pace than ever before; where special promotions used to be planned months in advance, today everything is decided within 3 weeks. His distribution center is not only busy, but reaction times are several times faster than a few years ago. However, he still cannot pull out any activity report with measurable KPIs on his dock activity!

So there you have it. If you’re frustrated because you lack data in order to base business decisions, you’re not alone. Big or small, the majority of companies we meet can’t get good KPIs on their dock activity. Folks, the tools exist. They’re out there and they’re not expensive. I suggest you read our recent white paper on understanding the value of dock scheduling to get more information.

Download White Paper