The ability to quickly provide customers with the products that they purchase is a key component of customer satisfaction. Many an order has been lost as a result of the inability to ship products efficiently. The primary factor in the ability to ship product on time is to have the right stock levels of the right product at the right time and at the right location. This is the challenge of today’s demand planner and is no easy task unless you are using a demand planning tool for inventory management.
If you are using complex spreadsheets or out dated systems it may be time to upgrade to a better solution. Today’s demand planning systems provide sophisticated forecasting capabilities with easy to use functions and many are specifically designed for the wholesale distribution, e-commerce, manufacturing, and retail industries. Here are five ways that you can improve your demand planning with a cloud based demand planning solution:
- Improve Your Baseline. Your baseline is the initial forecast that is used to compare all subsequent versions. If your initial baseline isn’t accurate, your future forecasts and your base line variances will suffer. To improve your base line make sure your system is integrated with your ERP and CRM systems so that you get accurate historical data.
- Exception Based Forecasting. Advanced forecasting tools allow you to better anticipate future customer demand. But, having the ability to perform exception based forecasting lets you prioritize and manage key products.
- Dynamic Time Frames. The ability to switch between time frames, such as weekly or monthly, gives you a better view of the safety stock levels needed.
- Eliminate complicated spreadsheets. Having disparate systems and spreadsheets creates silos of data that are not integrated or related to each other. In addition, there is a limit to the sophistication of the planning models that can be developed in a spreadsheet and they are prone to errors.
- Define Strategic Customer Service Levels. Service level requirements are impacted by many factors including promotional campaigns, special events, and the type of products customers want. For example, service parts may move in waves and need to be managed differently than regular moving products.
The benefits of improving demand planning are undisputable. They include a reduction of excess inventory that reduces the investment requirements of holding inventory. Proper levels of product will reduce stock outs that improve customer service and, as a result, customer satisfaction. Revenues and margins are improved due to the better management of inventory purchases. And there is a reduction of planning cycle times.
Looking for more information about how to improve your demand planning? Contact Business Solution Partners to speak to an implementation expert today!