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-May 7, 2009


Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: An Airline Analogy for Integrated Supply Chain Planning and Execution

  The Aircraft always Drifts off Course, but Monitors Help it Quickly get Back on Plan  

By SCDigest Editorial Staff


In the landmark report on Integrated Supply Chain Planning and Execution recently released by Chief Supply Chain Officer Insights, the process of integrated supply chain planning and execution is compared to that of making a successful aircraft flight.

"The captain and flight crew have a “flight plan” that includes the destination and how long the trip should take (the objective) and the basic path (the plan). However, as the plane moves towards its destination, wind, weight, and other factors will cause the airplane to veer off course," the report says.

It adds: "The captain knows he is getting off course in realtime, because of the aircraft’s instrumentation systems (execution results). The plane is put back on course, and the system confirms that the correct path has been regained (plan adjusted). Key to optimizing the trip and achieving the objectives is making frequent course corrections, rather than only correcting occasionally, meaning the plane could get way off course and as a result add significantly to the time and cost of the trip."

The full CSCO Insights report can be downloaded here: Next Generation Supply Chain Management: The Integration of Planning and Execution.

This analogy is illustrated in the graphic below.

Source: CSCO Insights Report


The longer it takes to get a plane back on course, the more costly it is to the company and its customers.

The report says that currently, "Most companies today do not have highly robust “closed loop” systems that are structured to ensure integrity between planning and execution."

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