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The Spark Initiative


The Spark Initiative is an OMP Community effort to define and test outside-in planning processes. The focus is to help companies broaden their perspective on supply chain planning.

Rethinking supply chain planning

Traditional planning

Today, companies’ processes are inside-out, basing planning decisions on historical data — shipment, orders, and sales forecasts. The traditional approach focuses on the use of enterprise data. With this approach, external or market data — crucial for reducing signal latency and decreasing the bullwhip impact — is neglected.

Future planning

An outside-in approach uses both enterprise and market data while validating business relevance. Even though companies agree that using market data is an opportunity to decrease the time to make decisions and improve outcomes, there is no industry standard definition to define an outside-in process.


The initiative aims to identify and test outside-in concepts by applying them in a set of concrete use cases using real-world data, which will demonstrate the business relevance and value add of these concepts. The results, findings and recommendations will be shared with the supply chain planning community.

Our belief is that this approach will positively impact outcomes such as shipping on time and in full, improved forecast value-added (FVA), inventory effectiveness or the reduction of the bullwhip impact, decreased demand latency, optimum stock levels, improved first pass yield (FPY), decreased scrap rates, and thus increased profit margins.


Advisory board

The Spark Initiative is supported by an advisory board to guide thinking on the design and implementation of outside-in planning processes. This board will facilitate industry sharing, structured learning, and testing of outside-in capabilities based on new forms of analytics.

As part of the work, all members of the advisory board will participate in three half-day virtual training sessions conducted by Lora Cecere, Founder of Supply Chain Insights. The purpose of the training is to align thinking and ignite ideas.

Following the training, the advisory board will meet regularly at pre-scheduled times to facilitate the cross-company dialogue and discovery.

The advisory board will be assembled by January 2023.

Testing outside-in concepts

Next, customers of OMP will be invited to join the initiative to test new approaches and technologies, focusing on a limited set of use cases. This work will be supported by the advisory board members.

The objective is to publish the results of these tests to help the industry understand the relative return on investment (value). The learnings and value realizations will be publicly shared with the industry to spark outside-in thinking and implementation.

Once the working groups are trained, they will start building and testing the use cases as of March 2023. The results will be published in the fall of 2023.

Conversations within the advisory board and working groups are treated as confidential. We want to provide a safe space for sharing and testing for a group of OMP customers interested in building outside-in processes.


OMP customers are invited to apply for a testing and learning track. If you are an agile, market-driven, and customer-centric organization or want to become one, then you are a good candidate for joining.

What is expected of you?

As a part of this work, we seek open and honest feedback in a collaborative effort to build outside-in processes. No company has the answer, but together, we can explore how new approaches in analytics can be used to yield better insights for planning. To that end, we ask group participants to:

  • Provide feedback on use cases and testing.
  • Share your insights with the group on the applicability of the test results for your organization.
  • Participate in testing of concepts as time allows.
  • Participate in Spark Initiative events.

There is no cost for the testing or training.

Testing, learning, and sharing about outside-in planning

Get in touch

Sign up to learn more about outside-in concepts, submit your business case, or keep up to date with our progress.


Do you have a specific question? We are happy to help.

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