Everyone loves what-if planning because it allows you to change certain variables and see what the potential outcome might be and then pick the “best” strategy. There are millions of variables in any supply chain model. How do you know your selected scenario is the best one? It is probably the best that one can do given the limited computational capability of humans but it is not the best scenario and certainly not the optimized scenario! Systems, on the other hand, take into account tens of millions of variables and deliver results that are near-optimal. Do you really want to do what-if for every possible scenario, given tens of thousands of demand items, part numbers and customers, from weather-related issues to late arrival of supplies or temporary breakdown of a contract manufacturer? Intelligent systems can immediately offer a high quality solution when a disruption occurs!
What-if has its place for strategic planning such as losing a vendor, sudden demand increase, or new product introduction, to find out what kind of issues we run into. However, for day to day or even month to month planning, what-if analysis is truly a cumbersome and limited activity that may result in a doable plan but far from even a good plan.
At Adexa, we believe systems must be intelligent enough to offer solutions and recommendations to the end users and show what the consequences are as events occur or potential risks are evaluated on an on-going basis in a continuous planning environment. Thus, the end users can engage in much higher level and more strategic activities that add a lot more value than wasting their time constantly moving orders and supplies around. Manual planning or forced what-if planning, is akin to spreadsheet planning resulting in too much wasted time and effort and sub-optimal results.