The Time Has Come for Digital Enterprise Planning

Jeff Ashcroft
3 min readMar 24, 2018

Over the past 30 years I’ve been witness to the development and use of a number of methodologies intended to improve operations, planning, service and costs in the Consumer Goods and Retail supply chains.

Whether it was Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP), Just In Time (JIT), Just In Time II (JITII), Quick Response (QR), Efficient Consumer Response (ECR), Distribution Resource Planning (DRP) or more recently the very popular Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) I’ve pretty much seen them all.

Don’t get me wrong, all of these had their place and drove significant benefits in solving for and improving upon the supply chain problems on which each were focused, but in my view the time has now come for Digital Enterprise Planning aka DEP.

My initial development and introduction of the concept and methodology around holistic Digital Enterprise Planning is a logical extension of my recent thoughts shared in The Digital Elevation of Planning and the Planning Executive.

Even more interesting is that Digital Enterprise Planning is simply a more complete construct to embody and bring to life The SCM Company vision I’ve been incubating over the last several years.

There are many other flows within and around organizations which can be managed in the same way as the physical product supply chain and those firms which recognize and embrace this concept to implement Digital Enterprise Planning will no doubt take their business performance to an entirely different level.

Specifically, the other flows in the firm I’m speaking of are people, leads or potential sales, actual sales, cash flow, new products/revenue sources, even ideas and innovation. All of these can be better managed through the application of supply chain management concepts and methods with measurement, forecasting, metrics, visibility and full resource and performance planning incorporating actual results to develop the ultimate high performance firm.

Also encompassed by the Digital Enterprise Planning framework are my preliminary efforts to develop the Matrix Commerce concept and several previous years of work on both the Supply Chain Network Process and Projects to also fully integrate the supply chain.

What is Digital Enterprise Planning (DEP)?

“A systems platform and methodology incorporating digital information from all sources, on all aspects of a business, including potential demand sources, customers, sales, people, products, supply chain, cash and innovation extending from a continuous planning process, into master activity scheduling, through to actual activity monitoring with results then directly integrated back into the future planning cycle.”

As asserted in the title, the time has now come for Digital Enterprise Planning due to the growing ubiquity of several enabling technologies including mobility, cloud platforms, Internet of Things connectivity and cognitive tools to automate processes for effectively managing the reams of associated data.

Successful implementation of Digital Enterprise Planning will result from all internal and external parties responsible interacting and collaborating on the DEP platform including Sales, Finance and Supply Chain planning functions.

Over the next several years we see the practice of Digital Enterprise Planning evolving to support and connect all facets of the business from your suppliers, across all internal functions, and extending out to both the B2B and B2C customers of your organization.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this concept and possible interest in starting down the path of developing an initial Digital Enterprise Planning solution and capabilities for your business.

Jeff Ashcroft

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Jeff Ashcroft

Fulfillment, Supply Chain, Logistics & Marketing Agent for Green, Retail, Robots, Blockchain, RFID, Social & Airships, Account Achievement Visionary at Etail