Skip to content

Our Insights

A Brief History of Supply Chain Planning Solutions

March 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of global commerce, Supply Chain planning solutions have become essential for businesses aiming to optimise their operations. From humble beginnings to the sophisticated algorithms of today, the journey of Supply Chain planning software has been marked by significant milestones, shaping the way organisations manage demand, forecasting, supply, and production schedules across their entire supply chain.

Origins and Early Development

Supply Chain planning dates back to the 1960s when companies first began adopting computerised systems for inventory management. These early solutions were basic, relying on simple algorithms and calculations to maintain optimal stock levels. As technology advanced, so did the capabilities of Supply Chain planning software.

Rise of Demand Planning and Forecasting

The 1980s witnessed a fundamental change as demand planning and forecasting emerged as integral components of Supply Chain management. Businesses recognised the need to anticipate customer demand accurately to avoid stockouts and excess inventory. Early software solutions incorporated statistical models and historical data to enhance forecasting accuracy, laying the groundwork for the demand planning tools we use today.

Production Scheduling Enters the Scene

With the creation of Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) systems in the 1970s and 1980s, production scheduling became a key focus. These systems enabled companies to align production processes with demand forecasts, optimising resource allocation and minimising inefficiencies. MRP laid the foundation for modern production scheduling solutions that play a vital role in today’s Supply Chain planning landscape.

Evolution of Supply Chain Management Software

The 1990s marked the emergence of integrated Supply Chain management software, encompassing a holistic approach to planning and execution. These solutions incorporated modules for demand planning, inventory management, production scheduling, and distribution, offering businesses an End-to-End view of their Supply Chain. The integration of Supply Chain management systems brought unprecedented efficiency and coordination to the complex web of global Supply Chains.

The Technological Revolution

The 21st century witnessed a technological revolution that transformed Supply Chain planning. Advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning algorithms have elevated forecasting accuracy and allowed for real-time decision-making. Cloud-based solutions have further enhanced accessibility and collaboration, enabling organisations to adapt quickly to dynamic market conditions.

The Importance of Supply Chain Planning Today and Beyond

In the contemporary business landscape, a robust Supply Chain planning solution is indispensable. The growing complexity of global Supply Chains, the increasing pace of change, and the need for sustainability and resilience make effective planning more critical than ever. Organisations that leverage advanced Supply Chain planning software gain a competitive edge by optimising costs, improving customer satisfaction, and responding quickly to market fluctuations.

The history of Supply Chain planning solutions is a tale of constant adaptation and innovation. From its rudimentary beginnings, Supply Chain planning software has evolved into a sophisticated ecosystem that empowers businesses to navigate the complexities of modern commerce. As we look to the future, the importance of Supply Chain planning solutions will only intensify, ensuring that organisations can thrive in an environment where agility and efficiency are paramount.

Trusted by our clients

“Greencore is involved in multiple categories, supplying a diverse range of products with different characteristics that require very different manufacturing processes. We selected sofco as they have an End-to-End planning and execution system that can be configured easily to fit these disparate demands. Our approach is much more sophisticated and collaborative now.”

Chris Chestney

IT Business Partner, Greencore

“What impressed us most about the sofco people was they understood our business, listened, and would bring a lot of experience to the project. They brought solid solutions to the issues we presented them with. It was clear from the outset that we were going to be able to work well together as a team and deliver this project. That is exactly what has happened.”

Barbara Van den Berg

Project Manager, Van Geloven

British Bakels

Latest Insights

British Bakels to improve forecast accuracy with sofco Planning

Industry leading manufacturer of high-quality bakery ingredients to improve forecast processes and accuracy with sofco Demand Planning.

Find out more

sofco announce new long-term partnership with Carrington Textiles

sofco will optimise inventory levels and further reduce manufacturing costs in a new long-term partnership with Carrington Textiles, the...

Find out more

COP28’s Food Declaration and the Supply Chain

Food production currently makes up a third of the world’s greenhouse emissions, so reducing stock waste and obsolescence has...

Find out more