Level up your Demand Planning

The not-so-basics of Demand Planning

At its simplest, effective Demand Planning means reducing the gap between held inventory and actual sales. It’s about meeting demand in the most efficient way possible to help retail organisations avoid stock-outs at one end of the scale, and wastage at the other. Yet this vital role is often drowned out by louder voices in other areas of the business. (Yes, we’re looking at you, Marketing).

When businesses DO decide to elevate Demand Planning, the inclination is usually to focus on getting back to basics. But the problem with “basics” is that they are just that - rudimentary, and limited in their capability to help you move forward with increased insight and accuracy.

Stats Vs Data

Traditionally, organisations have looked to sales figures, along with consumer buying patterns and seasonal cycles, to help them make demand forecasts. This approach is always based on information that has already been generated and is retrospective in nature. Once upon a time, it was all that was available and alongside long periods of market stability, it helped businesses make more accurate forecasts.

Enter an explosion in e-commerce activity. Suddenly, consumers were leading the charge on how they researched, sourced and bought items. Next, unforeseen events disrupted the norm and put a fire under the trend away from bricks and mortar shopping. This customer-led volatility has put many businesses on the back foot, and those who continue to fall back on outdated forecasting methodology to fix the issue are never going to catch up or even better, get ahead of the curve.

consumers were leading the charge on how they researched, sourced and bought items

The good news is that this online activity provides enormous amounts of invaluable data, not just about what consumers are doing, but about what their intentions are. By correlating their activity with Big Data, we can see how changes in everything from the weather to building regulations and national sports team performance affects their purchasing habits. Apply this to your Demand Planning and suddenly, you have a system that can not only analyse information, but accurately predict activity.

Putting the right technology in the right hands

The best way to empower a Demand Planner is to give them the right tools. An accurate forecast can give any business a serious competitive advantage. But step one is aligning business units behind a solid consensus plan. The outcome will be reduced inventory holdings AND increased stock availability.


August 8, 2022
Shift from sales forecasting to demand planning

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July 19, 2022
Demand forecasting for new products

Inject the smarts into your new product planning Consumers now have more choice than ever before - of what to buy, and where to buy it. The explosion of e-commerce has driven product and competitor proliferation to all-new levels, so what worked before (i.e. analysing previous product performance) no longer serves as an accurate indicator […]

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July 27, 2022
Integrate demand and supply planning

Demand planning + supply planning = integrated business planning If demand planning is forecasting customer demand, while supply planning is managing supply according to these forecasts, you’d be forgiven for thinking that these functions went hand-in-hand. All too often though, demand planning and supply planning departments work to different agendas. One driven by ensuring sufficient […]

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July 19, 2022
Move from demand forecasting to demand sensing

Demand forecasting is always wrong. Thankfully. If demand forecasting was a precise science, we would be out of business. Organisations would apply their tried and tested formulas, and would emerge from their endeavours armed with 100% accurate predictions to take into their next phase of demand planning. Their wash-ups would show an exact correlation between […]

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July 19, 2022
Demand forecasting by store

A formula for accurate demand planning at store level (Hint: it doesn’t start with “=”) Technology is the biggest enabler of people in the digital age. Yet arguably, it’s also the biggest threat to the modern day workforce. When it comes to using technology to enhance demand planning in business, harnessing digital tools in a […]

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July 19, 2022
Revolutionise your demand forecasting

Forecast.  To predict or estimate a future event or trend. Let’s start with a forecast we’re all very familiar with as an example - the weather. Once upon a time, forecasts were based on historical data captured around certain dates. Then, with the invention of telegraph networks, weather conditions could be observed and shared across […]

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July 27, 2022
Optimise your SKU productivity

Not all SKUs were created equal Many businesses are so focused on building revenue, their profit suffers as a result. Organisations worth their salt know that selling at all costs doesn’t make good business sense. A more sophisticated way to measure and drive success is ROI (Return On Investment). What is the business cost of […]

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July 27, 2022
Enhance your demand pattern analysis

Understanding demand patterns in the Data Age Demand pattern analysis is becoming increasingly valuable in business, as a way of predicting and preparing for future fluctuations in market demand. The problem is that the “best-practice” models that are still taught and employed today rely solely on historical patterns to make predictions. In reality, looking backwards […]

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