Right Excel use in IT Strategy to support S&OP

Posted on July 11, 2012



A comment on Linked-In discussion on pros and cos of Excel for S&OP



Upside on Excel is it allows for value add by various analysts and explaining results

Downside is if various analysts start with different data and then cannot reconcile their plans

We at DCRA we think have created a very powerful approach that allows for back in coordination of the supply chain execution data to be coordinated to all. We also check all the data and the plans out to analyst who does analysis using a spreadsheet user interface but the algorithmic work done outside the spreadsheet in patented algorithms (for speed and accuracy). The S&OP planner then can check in the results and the back end system coordinates and makes various plans available to anyone in the supply chain with permissions

We feel this approach is advantaged as it
1. provides a simple user interface Excel .. all users are comfortable with

2. coordinates the input and output data so not starting with wrong data

3. Is asynchronous allows for offline work like Excel and then checking back in to collaborate. This supports outsourced supply chain partners etc…. really support collaboration

4. approach scales to run very very large environments

5. Is much lower cost to deploy and maintain then some totally proprietary system

6. scales down to very small firms (bascially Excel). Also allows small contract mfgr’s to input attainment (Excel) and publish back into central repository

7. Allows planners to go offline use the Excel results of plan to modify, change, update, create new analysis that can be shared, even added to the approach as a new template for others to check out and use

Just a few of the benefits of the approach. Unfortunately, large software or Cloud players HATE this approach as it does not “completely control” and lock in the client for revenue generation. Thus they bash Excel and push to put all the data in a controlled synchronous IT environment.

A single system controlled approach maybe ok for other functional solutions but for S&OP is is our opinion it is not only sub-optimal it generally kills the S&OP effort and users go back to doing analysis in Exel without acknolweldging that is what they are doing. You would not believe how many times have met with senior management teams you say they use SAP or other ERP for planning but then work with “doers” who do it all offline in Excel… with little or no IT support. That is a real mess. Our approach lets them do both and check results of S&OP back to SAP or Oracle ERP but yet have freedom to add value to analysis and do offline

This collaborative, asynchronous, collaborative approach we use at DCRA is by for the correct and best IT strategy to support, scale, maintain and create S&OP support solutions. It also is much much lower cost to get started .. generally a good thing – don’t you think ?

We would put this approach up against ANY competition and will win based on
1. speed of deployment
2. agility to meet current and future processes
3. cost
4. source code availability and companies control of their future
5. scalability… yes this scales higher then a totally synchronous approach
6. use in the outsourced supply chain… collaboration… no other approach really works
7. compliments ERP, compliments logistics systems, compliments partner systems does not try to say my way or the highway

Challenge us to a comparison with the “big guys”… you will be pleased you did



Posted in: Uncategorized