Adrian Wood Part 5: Preventing Supply Chain Disruptions

In the conclusion of our Adrian Wood interview, we discuss using advanced planning software to prepare for supply chain disruptions AND outlines three things to look out for when selecting APS software.


Special thanks to Adrian Wood and the Delmia team for making this interview possible!

Gene: While doing research for this interview, I stumbled upon a webinar that you did with regards to supply chains. It seemed to me like a subject that you are quite passionate about.

Gene: During the webinar, you put a lot of focus on supply chain disruptions. In a post COVID world, people are a lot more aware of the effects of disruptions on manufacturing. As you stated during the interview, disruptions can happen at any given time BUT that scheduling/planning software (such as DELMIA) can help you be prepared for those unforeseen loss of productivity.

Gene: Can you just talk a little bit about some of your concerns regarding a supply chain disruptions and their potential risk in the future of manufacturing?

Adrian: So, when you think of supply chain planning, typically you’re thinking of planning across the entire network of your material suppliers, your manufacturing facilities, your assembly operations, your distribution facilities, all the way out to customer channels – whether that’s in retail or whether it’s to, customer warehouses.

Adrian: So it’s a much bigger problem and, one that we’re also expert in solving with other Delmia applications.

Adrian: But I think -what’s interesting is – very often when you think about supply chain disruption you might have a material supply that impacts one particular plant but that plant might have might be producing products that then feed multiple different channels or different assembly facilities or, going to different parts of the world.

Adrian: What happens within one manufacturing facility can have an impact on the entire supply chain or, a big part of the supply chain and vice versa. If we have disruption in one part of the world due to geopolitical conflict or whatever it is, that can have significant impact on what we need to manufacture at different locations.

Adrian: And so – if you think about it – these problems are all connected. The way we plan and schedule in one facility is often, we’ll have an impact on how we develop a more strategic plan and how we develop a more strategic plan will determine what we need to manufacture and schedule at individual facilities.

Adrian: And so, we don’t think about the problem as different silos; to us, it’s a continuum of planning and optimization.

Adrian: And so, as I said, we have different applications that plan across facilities for master production scheduling and supply chain planning.

Adrian:  And the important thing is that these applications are orchestrated so that, as we make changes at one level, we can bubble those changes up to higher levels and see what the impact would be.

Adrian: And again, we need to do that in as near real time as possible so that, strategically, we can evaluate the impact of low-level changes very quickly and see if that has a larger impact than we think.

Adrian: And like I said, very often when you talk about the impact that disruption has, it can often come from a very isolated material challenge or a production challenge or one plant goes on shutdown or there’s a worker strike or something, that one facility can have a big impact on the bigger picture.

Adrian: And so again, when we think about planning and scheduling, we think about it as a continuum so that we can see how can we orchestrate these different plans together, so that we can evaluate changes across the entire supply chain, not just within one single facility.

Gene: So, in closing, do you have any additional thoughts, any additional value points per that you may want to highlight?

Adrian: If you look at what we feel is important in planning and optimization, what makes a difference?

Adrian: I think there are three key things that we all tell companies and customers to think about.

Adrian: The 1st is, it’s important to be able to model the facilities or the scheduling problem that you have. If you’re making assumptions about the schedule, for example, if your plant has painting operations or furnace operations where there’s a lot of change over in time but you can’t model that or replicate it in your schedule, then you’re not really developing an accurate schedule; you’re sort of aggregating.

Adrian: So, we’ve always had a philosophy of making sure that -whatever the environment is – you can actually represent it as part of the plan. If you can’t represent it, then you can’t plan for it.

Adrian: So, to conclude, the first thing to think about when you’re looking at new technology, can it actually create models, what do your facilities look like and what are all the unique constraints – because those things seem to make a difference.

Adrian: The second is, does it bring together all of the stakeholders and all of the KPIs that each of those stakeholders have importance for, and can you actually provide a planning environment where you can do a tradeoff, between those and represent, what’s important to the company, what’s important to different divisions, and how do they impact each other – whether those KPIs are, very standard KPIs or unique business KPIs. It’s important to be able to solve those specific problem that are important to you.

Adrian: And then finally the ability to do everything very quickly. And so, the optimization technology that Dassault has and Delmia has built into its applications has always been a cutting-edge feature that can make those decisions very quickly.

Adrian: After all, there’s nothing simple about planning; even a small job at the shop or assembly line or production lines, the number of different possibilities and the number of different potential variables that go into play – mean that there are literally millions and millions of potential different plans you could make. So, you need a software application that is able to cope with that complexity and come up with a plan in minutes versus 4 hours, because in production, if you have to wait 4 hours to get a new plan, then by the time you’ve developed it, the plans changed again. When that happens, you’re constantly chasing your tail.


Adrian: And so, those are the 3 key things; make sure you can actually accurately model what your facility needs are, make sure you can actually model what the business needs are and then bring the stakeholders together and then, once that’s complete, what’s the application of optimization technology to fundamentally be able to solve for those problems and give you the decision support that’s so critical because every company is looking for this level of agility and resiliency, to cope with the changing demands of today’s manufacturing world.

D4M is a privately owned company specializing in leveraging digital technologies to accelerate manufacturing clients to their transition to Industry 4.0. With long tenure and hundreds or successful projects, we are confident that our approach and experience provides the roadmap to help bring clarity and efficiency to your manufacturing operation.

To find out how we can help with your SAP environment, or to learn more about how we rolled out SAP to 60 locations in 60 months, reach out to us today. Contact form and office numbers listed below. 

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