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Visual Control - Supply Chain
Thursday 24th May 2018
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Visual Control for the Supply Chain (VCSC)

A full featured mirror on your supply chain using your demand (corrected for shortage or 'spikiness', if necessary), through your chain, at your chosen settings.

VCSC simulates and animates any supply chain as an aid to diagnosis, design or learning. It drags real demand data through a fully featured electronic reconstruction of the supply chain.

Huge fun when played as a competitive game between rival, mixed ability and cross functional teams

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VCSC simulates and animates any supply chain as an aid to diagnosis, design or learning. It drags real demand data through a fully featured electronic reconstruction of the supply chain. Your demand, through your chain, at your chosen settings, if you will. But with an answer in risk free seconds, not risky months (an early run was on NZ wine with a 13 week lead time)

Settings include forecast method and smoothing (also forecastless) seasonality method and smoothing (including on/off), ROP (or similar) method and setting.
Within ROP or BTL are the SS and EOQ and variants. Then there's re-order review frequency, lead times, and the penalty costs of overstock, understock and out of stock.

That there are ~20,000 possible combinations of input settings[1] puts the logistics task in perspective. Optimisation is a red herring, a complete pipe dream.
Success is about understanding cause and effect, and managing the big causes. VCSC helps users, managers and directors understand the supply chain, the dangers of hindsight, and the need to reconcile conflicting objectives - often in different departments.

The product is its own best advert, just call for a demonstration.

VCSC takes the customer's own demand data (or any other data) and shows how a supply chain would react under a range of about 20,000 possible input settings. Users very quickly learn which settings work for their situation. As important, they learn which inputs are actually trivial - quite often the ones they have kept under closest scrutiny!

The inputs might include:-

  1. Forecast method and smoothing, including forecastless
  2. Seasonality method and smoothing, including switched off
  3. ROP (or similar) method and setting. Within ROP or BTL are clearly the SS and EOQ and variants (including, e.g., the additional costs of emergency lead time sourcing and or buying at less than EOQ)
  4. Review frequency. Note this is new order (order none or some; if some then how many) review. It is not the expedite / de-expedite review, which is not worth modelling because there's a much simpler health check available. It's this:-
    If there are far fewer de-expedites, then you're actually making matters worse!
  5. Lead times.
  6. Penalty costs of overstock, understock and out-of-stock.
    Until companies can balance these, they are juggling apples vs pears. See our Value Chain Thought Piece for more detail

More details …


  1. More recent examples include 708 million, 1,186 million and one I haven't counted but suspect exceeds 1 billion (1 million million) possible combinations of settings
    Because the Tools approach makes such complexity digestible, the team on this last project coined a useful catchphrase. "This (additional) insight alters no principle" Each further option cemented our view of best practice and further strengthened the case against status quo.
"Amatuers practice until they get it right; pros until they can't get it wrong" Do we encourage professionals?
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