One of the parts of material planning that can be frustrating is dealing with imperfect information. There can so many variables it can be impossible to stop variance, but it is possible to control and reduce variation.
Developing rough-cut planning models helps me do this. I need to quickly meld ERP data with observed data and enable intelligent decision-making, so that is the focus of the tools. Once I can model the data, I can drill into the causes of the variance and start down the path toward control.