Manufacturing continues to evolve, creating new challenges. According to John Barcus, group vice president, Oracle Discrete Manufacturing Industry Solutions, these challenges include how to meet the demand to launch new products faster, support rising customer expectations and requirements, keep costs in line, and manage the increasing complexity of global operations. In an interview with representatives from Oracle customer Juniper Networks and partner Trinamix, the three discussed real-world evidence of how integrated business planning (IBP) can help manufacturers respond to this continually evolving landscape.
To do a better job of planning, business systems across the supply chain need to be fully integrated. The reality is that IBP as a process is supported by multiple systems integrations, making it difficult to get the right information at the right time to support decisions. The integration challenges can be thought of as both end-to-end across the enterprise (often including suppliers and customers), and from the top- down from planning and to execution—including the systems that manage manufacturing, logistics and order processing. The result of these integration shortcomings is that planning often becomes more challenging instead of less.
In practice, most manufacturers still struggle with disconnected systems that introduce decision latency and errors into the planning process whenever data needs to be transferred among systems. To make integrated business planning a reality, it’s critical to combine supply chain planning, execution, and enterprise performance management (EPM)—yet barely half of respondents to a Supply Chain Insights survey say it works successfully in practice.
Integrated business planning—sometimes called sales and operations planning—is a complex, enterprise-wide activity requiring timely data from several internal (and sometimes external) systems. Oracle’s Integrated Business Planning and Execution solution (IBPx) integrates capabilities from Oracle Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Oracle Cloud Supply Chain Planning, and execution systems such as Logistics, Manufacturing, and Product Life Cycle Management (PLM).
Successful integrated business planning and execution requires the ability to forecast effectively for everything 3-5 years out to support strategic planning, provide effective demand management for near term materials requirements, and balance those requirements with supply options at both the product family and component levels. Planning needs to be combined with event detection and performance management—including execution data from manufacturing and logistics systems— to provide the most accurate view for executive approval and plan signoff. True integration requires this end-to-end, planning- to-execution closed loop system. The ultimate goal, explained Barcus, is to know sooner, act faster, and adapt to change.
During the interview, representatives from Juniper Networks shared their evolution toward IBP. Juniper is a maker of high-performance networking equipment like routers and switches. Mitch Haynes, Juniper’s vice president of supply planning and operations, noted that the manufacturing process is highly complex; it requires planning synchronization between the supply chain and finance teams, as well as across their supply network of contract manufacturers and ODMs.
For example, Haynes explained that the MX2020 5G Universal Routing Platform has 80Tbps capacity and supports up to 800 100GbE interfaces, 320 200GbE interfaces, or 160 400GbE interfaces in a single chassis. To put that in perspective, it can download the printed volume of the Library of Congress in about five to six seconds. The manufacturing process involves advanced techniques and test processes, and thousands of components—many of which are unique. Adding to the complexity, there’s intense pressure to lower costs; market dynamics are volatile and constantly changing; and the products are highly customizable.
As Haynes described it, planning is the basis for Juniper’s promise to its customers. By moving to IBP, Juniper has reduced inventory costs 15% while raising its customer service level by about 20%. He explained that the cost of inventory is a major factor, but the company needs to balance that with having the right inventory to meet customer needs. With IBP, the company is now able to run what-if scenarios to make decisions based on accurate data.
Anantha Ram Rudrapaka, solutions lead at Juniper Networks, emphasized the importance of having everyone up and down the supply chain share the same accurate data, the “single version of truth.” With the implementation of IBP, he has seen more cross-functional efficiencies, greater integration between planning and execution, and an improvement in the supply chain. He also noted that the integration of systems and the ability to have everyone look at the same data give the company a feedback mechanism to uncover issues and continue to make improvements.
Why did Juniper choose Oracle for IBP? Haynes noted that the connection of planning and global order processing was compelling. He further explained that the intangible benefits of the partnership offered by Oracle was a major factor. Other factors included the completeness of the solution, which makes the customer experience seamless, as well as the cloud infrastructure and the ability to integrate with Juniper’s ERP solution.
What’s next for Juniper? Haynes laid out his vision: Moving even faster between planning and execution, and automating what they can with AI and machine learning. He noted that Juniper still has lots of planners doing forecasting, and he wants to add more efficiency and accuracy to the process with these advanced tools.
Oracle partner Trinamix is helping to speed the evolution of IBP. Trinamix is a leader in implementing end-to-end supply chain, supply chain planning, and Industry 4.0 solutions. Prantik Chakraborty, practice director at Trinamix, explained that his company focuses on IBP as part of a cloud-based portfolio offering. The entire solution is built on the Oracle Cloud.
Chakraborty emphasized that any IBP implementation must begin with accurate data. And all data across the enterprise needs to roll up to the integrated business plan. Without this single source of data, businesses cannot effectively build a framework that allows them to run simulations to increase the accuracy of decisions.
In providing IBP services to its customers, Trinamix can tie together all planning and execution processes required for a complete product and process solution. Chakraborty summed up the benefits of integrated business planning: reduced lead times, better on-time delivery of goods, and reduced costs. Most importantly, these process improvements enable manufacturers to put the emphasis back on their customers.