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How Many SKUs Could a Planner Plan if a Planner Could Plan SKUs?

How Many SKUs Could a Planner Plan if a Planner Could Plan SKUs?

February 02, 2016

As a classical and jazz musician I understand the need for both structured and artistic abilities when performing. In its basic form music is a mathematical language. What sets a professional musician apart from an amateur often is the ability to express oneself artistically through the instrument and make that special connection with an audience.

Art and science come together in supply chain management, too. While many aspects of supply chain planning are ruled by well-defined mathematical relationships, many areas rely more on “artistic” application of experience. The duality comes into play when addressing the question of how many Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) a demand planner should be able to manage. Like a professional musician, a supply chain professional must use both supply chain expertise and experienced-based artistic ability to answer the question.

The number of products a planner can manage is heavily dependent on how easy or difficult it is to develop a reasonable forecast for those products. Improving a planner’s efficiency depends on a number of industry and company variables:

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In the US, Fall means one thing: kicking off the new football season. Of course, since I am a true supply chain geek, when I think about seasons I immediately think of supply chain planning, as I’m sure you do too!? After a particularly difficult football weekend, I pondered the similarities between the struggles of my favorite NFL team and the difficulties of implementing a winning Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) process.

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