Research paper: Supply Chain Planning in the Digital Age

September 25

Supply chain planning in the digital age

With new, digital technologies entering the factories and the supply chain, the role of people in manufacturing and logistics is undeniably changing. Existing tasks are disappearing or changing, new tasks are emerging. Digital technologies can be used to automate certain tasks, yet their full power is in how they can augment and extend the human capabilities of employees. But what about the planning function? How is this function being impacted by the introduction of digital technologies – and, in particular, artificial intelligence – making the planning system more advanced?

In collaboration with Vlerick, partner in our Research Centre for People in the Smart Digitised Supply Chain, Professor Ann Vereecke, and researchers Alejandra Cabos-Rodríguez and Nicholas Vijverman, conducted a series of interviews with decision-makers in multinational manufacturing companies. The insights from those interviews can be found in the report ‘Supply Chain Planning in the Digital Age’.

 

The reports looks into the future of supply chain planning in order to answer two sets of questions:

  1. What does the planning system of the future look like for manufacturing companies? Knowing that planning algorithms are becoming more advanced, self-learning and prescriptive, will this have an impact on the different modules of the planning system and on how these modules interact with each other? And what impact will this have on the interaction between the ‘human’ and the ‘machine’ – that is, between the planner and the planning tool?

  2. Who is the planner of the future? What will the planner’s responsibility be if algorithms are doing the planning? What skills and competencies does the planner need? Somewhat controversially, one may even wonder whether we will still need a planner in the future.

 

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