Demand planning is a process that every supply chain manager must perform if they want to ensure the company’s success. By analyzing historical sales data, they’re able to predict future demands and sales. Demand planning doesn’t only benefit supply chain managers: it also influences sales operation, marketing initiatives, inventory management, capacity planning, product development, customer service capabilities, and many other departments.
In the past, performing demand forecasting wasn’t easy because the process was entirely manual. But with the introduction of demand forecasting software, the process has become effortless and quick.
If you have a tight budget, a simple processor like excel may help you predict future requirements. But if you can, it would be best to invest in complex planning software because it’ll offer you several benefits.
Here are some things you should consider when selecting the right demand planning software:
- Your Business’s Requirements
Before investing in demand forecasting software, your company should go through an extensive planning process and identify its objectives and needs. A planning software that works for another company may not work for your company because businesses have different intelligence capabilities.
Your forecasting and demand planning professionals should analyze the software features that you require for your business to gain from the investment. Though most forecasting software contains cloud-based accessibility, integrated business planning, and real-time updates, not all of them have the same machine learning capabilities and advanced analytics levels.
The compatibility of the software with the company’s pre-existing software should also be considered. The software will only be good for your company if it’s compatible with your system and can be customized to serve various business processes.
Your company should also find out the features of various demand planning software and how they’d benefit the business. For example, a large company with branches in several countries may require software offering different customer service capacities.
Your company may also have other management software programs that you may want to integrate into the demand planning software. If you purchase one that’s compatible with other systems, your business operations are likely to be more efficient, productive, and effective.
As you think of the software to select, you also need to consider your company’s future demand, growth, and expansion. The software you choose could be scalable and usable in other locations. It should also enable users to revise and replicate forecasts easily. Don’t forget that demand planning software should simplify and benefit demand forecasting but not complicate it.
- Demand Streams
The software you buy for your company should map demand drivers and streams while factoring in input and output. With a process map, you’ll visualize the association between demand drivers and streams.
Remember that internal users of this software may need to access the program from different points to best complete their responsibilities and roles. The software you select should promote accessibility.
After a process map is created, you can use it to plan forecasting strategies. Information and requirements such as the solutions that demand forecasting will develop and the demand planning techniques will help your business achieve optimal accuracy levels.
The right demand planning software can impact your business operations to a great extent. It not only simplifies processes but enhances accuracy in the demand planning process.