What Sets Vanguard Apart
In multi-user setups, Studio is used with Vanguard Server™ to create a Web-based, collaborative modeling environment where you build models with Studio and make these models available to others using Server. Studio and Server are delivered together as a pre-configured application when you purchase the Vanguard System.
In single-user setups, you need only Studio to build models and perform high-end planning and analysis functions.
Studio and Spreadsheets
A good way to understand Studio is to compare it to spreadsheet applications. Studio and spreadsheets are similar in that both are desktop applications for building a wide variety of planning models. They are different in that Studio is more visually oriented, offers greater analytic capability, and provides an infrastructure for enterprise-scale collaboration and modeling. Studio does not replace spreadsheets; rather, it provides the functionality that spreadsheets cannot when shifting from simple, one-off analyses to enterprise-scale models. In fact, spreadsheets are an integral part of the Vanguard System. You can use existing spreadsheets as components in Vanguard models and Vanguard will roll-up the separate spreadsheets into a consolidated, high-level model. This way, you get the best of both tools.
Studio’s hierarchical tree interface makes it easy to apply the Divide and Conquer concept to problem-solving. That is, to solve a complex problem you simply divide it into two or more simpler components. To solve these component problems, you apply the same process again, breaking them down into still finer elements. The result is a hierarchical tree.
Like spreadsheets, Vanguard trees are essentially networks of user-defined formulas that can be built for almost any purpose. Unlike spreadsheets, Vanguard automatically constructs a diagram that matches the logical structure of your model. This is a key benefit that makes it easier for you to tackle complex, ill-structured problems.
Vanguard’s tree structure not only provides a great way to solve business problems, it also provides a great way to present your analysis to others. With Vanguard, your models are inherently outlined. The root node represents the solution you seek, and each branch provides increasingly detailed information about how that solution is derived. This feature makes it easy for someone who is unfamiliar with your model to quickly understand its function.
Studio will help you make business decisions that are more likely to yield favorable results by providing you with a rich set of techniques for dealing with risk, planning-contingent actions, and comparing competing alternatives where future outcomes are uncertain.
The system combines all of the basic quantitative methods in management with features of spreadsheets, artificial intelligence tools, and math applications to produce an advanced business modeling system. Unlike spreadsheet add-ons and special-purpose utilities, Vanguard’s analytic capabilities have been designed right into the core product, allowing you to seamlessly combine a variety of quantitative methods into high-performance business models.
Vanguard is specifically designed to perform a wide range of tasks required in business decision analysis. These tasks include:
- General Modeling and Problem Solving – for tackling logically complex problems and communicating your ideas clearly.
- Collaborative Modeling – for building large-scale, distributed models using a client/server system.
- Data Analysis – for pulling valuable information from historical or experimental data.
- Advanced Analytics – for building models that push the envelope in state-of-the-art business analysis.
Using one or more of the Vanguard Add-in products, you can build models that perform decision analytics using methods such as:
- Forecasting – for extrapolating historical performance data to aid in planning.
- Decision Tree Analysis – for choosing the best course of action when future outcomes are uncertain.
- Sensitivity Analysis – for determining which assumptions drive your decisions most.
- Monte Carlo Simulation – for modeling uncertainty to help manage business risk and simulate complex systems.
- Optimization – for allocating resources most efficiently using linear programming and non-linear techniques.
- Application Development – for building mission-critical applications based on Vanguard.
Enterprise-scale collaboration and modeling
Perhaps Studio’s greatest strength is that of scale. In order to build realistic enterprise models, you need three things:
- Ability to involve many people in the modeling process
- Virtually unlimited capacity and speed
- Support for the full spectrum of decision analysis methods
Vanguard delivers all three of these. Used alone, Studio lets you break down complex models into a collection of smaller, linked component models that encourage collaboration and reuse of prior work. Used in a multi-user environment as part of the Vanguard System, Studio’s collaboration capabilities come alive.
In terms of capacity and speed, your models can grow to almost limitless size without becoming unmanageable or bogged down. Studio’s native processing speed is about 60 times that of spreadsheets. Used with a Monte Carlo Simulation grid, your simulations will run at 1,500 times the speed of spreadsheets.
You are not likely to encounter a situation where Vanguard does not support the analytic method you need. However, if you do, you can easily integrate calculations performed in other applications into your Vanguard model. What’s more, you can directly link core systems such as your data warehouse, production scheduling, sales management, and other systems into your Vanguard models.
The combination of these capabilities elevates Vanguard from a tool in your planning and analysis toolbox to a central, unifying application that brings together the people, systems, and analysis you need to manage more effectively.
Automate Your Supply Chain Planning
With Vanguard Predictive Planning™, most of the supply chain planning process can be automated through artificial intelligence, prescriptive analytics, a robust rules engine and extensive workflow.
Planners are left to make potential overrides and provide oversight for exceptions. Through a unified IBP platform, organizations can now understand true end-to-end implications of any sales forecast or demand change in real-time.
“Billions [of dollars] in operating margin and trillions in market capitalization separate supply chain winners from losers,” according to AMR Research. Specifically, best-in-class planners see:
Reduction in inventory
Stronger perfect-order fulfillment (complete, accurate, and on time)
Shorter cash to cash cycle times
Fewer stock outs than competitors