Why 80%-fit solutions provide 0% value

Posted: 21 August 2018 | | No comments yet

It’s all or nothing ― especially when it comes to planning software. And here’s why…

When considering a new planning software, be wary of a solution that is anything less than a 100%-fit. Anyone who tells you an 80%-fit is acceptable is not telling you the entire story. A planning system that does not follow your business model or fails to include all your rules will nullify the business benefits of optimisation, as this leads to plans that violate rules and ignore constraints.

Many solution providers develop 80%-fit solutions that are partially configurable, but ultimately are one-size-fits-all for their industry. In this situation, solutions quickly lose their value as unique organisational rules are left out in favour of scalability and quick fixes.

Nowhere else is a 100%-fit more critical than in the aviation industry ― an industry of processes, rules and union agreements that are highly complex and often changing.

For example, pilot career paths including specific rules about category freezes, CBA inclusions and the detailed training that is required for a transition. These rules are critical when creating effective pilot plans. Leaving out even the smallest detail will result in a plan that cannot be used.

Here are more reasons why there is no value in anything less than a 100%-fit solution:

1. It does not fit your unique business rules and constraints

When a cookie-cutter approach is used to create a planning solution, the result is unfeasible plans that cannot be executed in reality. When an organisation’s core business rules and constraints are not modelled accurately, the plans generated may be optimal in theory, but not in reality. These mistakes at the creation stage cause ripple effects across the entire plan. There is only one way to fix this: Your planners will have to resort to extensive manual planning to correct mistakes, potentially leading to more work in the long run. Ultimately, this erodes trust in your system and results in poor end-user adoption as your planners go back to their old tools and processes.

The goal of a planning and optimisation solution is to find the limit of optimising your business goals.”

2. It forces you to change your operations to fit the system (instead of fitting the system to your operations)

The planning system you use should take into account the unique operations that have helped make your organisation successful. You should not have to change processes and workflows to conform to it. When a planning system is not modelled exactly to your environment, it leads to haphazard shortcuts or workarounds that sacrifice operational efficiency. The goal of a planning and optimisation solution is to find the limit of optimising your business goals. If this requires undoing some of the organisational and process-oriented changes previously made to improve efficiency, then a major part of the effort is lost without payoff.

3. It costs more in the long run

Price can be a powerful motivator when deciding on a planning solution for your organisation, but price isn’t everything. When going with a cookie-cutter industry solution, the costs can stack up over the lifetime of the solution. Change management to bring the user base onto the software increases when the software doesn’t fit. Customisation work needed to accommodate your organisation’s unique approaches and strategies lead to additional costs. Software upgrades in the future will also be difficult ― instead of being positioned to benefit from continuous technological improvements, you find yourself trapped in today’s technology. Software that doesn’t fit 100% with your business can end up costing much more than the money saved on the initial investment.

Scenario: Change in union agreements

Let’s look at an example that shows the effects of a less-than-100%-fit solution. A workers’ union and company agree on a slight change to the workers’ compensation structure. The intricate rules that determine the hours considered as overtime no longer fit within the parameters of the company’s off-the-shelf solution. Planning and optimisation are no longer aligned to real-world conditions because the optimisation is still using the old (read: wrong) rules. At this point, two things can happen:

  1. Best-case scenario: Projected cost and actual cost don’t match, and the optimization engine is no longer able to find the optimal solution to the company’s planning problems.
  2. Worst-case scenario: Plans that are produced become unfeasible and fail to deliver the value the company should be getting.

A 100%-fit solution means that the system adjusts to rule changes without custom coding so that technology and rules stay current at all times.

What should you look for in a 100%-fit solution?

1. Flexibility

Your organisation’s growth should not be constrained by your planning system. Choose a system that adapts to your changing needs, business rules, regulations and KPIs.

2. World-class optimisation

Use world record-breaking optimisation technology to unlock hidden efficiencies in your plans. Optimisation that is configured to your organisation’s unique business rules will balance process constraints and competing KPIs, allowing you to solve puzzles regardless of scale and complexity. Heuristics can improve manual planning, but true optimisation beats heuristic by large margins in every planning problem. This will help your organisation achieve its goals and sharpen its competitive edge.

3. Aligned to your business goals

Every organisation has its objectives. Your planning solution’s optimisation should align to your organisation’s business strategy and budget. Drill down to specific KPIs to gain the insights needed to predict and manage demand, and drive better business performance.

Organisations with complex planning requirements across the aviation industry have found the 100%-fit in Quintiq. It suits all business models and supports future growth. Its flexibility and configurability allow for easy modification to the system to reflect changes in the business model.

All planning decisions reside on a single platform, from long-term strategic plans to short-term schedules and disruption management. Plans are updated in real time, thus fostering company-wide transparency and collaboration. It’s the 100%-fit that delivers 100% value.

Read how customers in the aviation industry are using Quintiq to transform their operations.

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