Effective demand planning is essential. Its purpose is to predict sales/demand in terms of volume and value over products, markets, distribution channels and time. The main business processes (purchases, production, and distribution) derive their results from this fundamental information, the quality of which has a direct and highly significant effect on all the main performance parameters of a company: profitability, customer service level, level of inventory, tangible assets, production costs, etc.
As each sector has particular needs and companies operate in different organisational contexts, the sofco Demand Planning Template offers a best practice base model which can be configured in accordance with the precise needs of each company.
The various components cover demand forecasting, the definition of sales budgeting, and promotion planning, as well as the management of an efficient collaboration process that allows the sharing and consolidation of information from various internal and external participants to develop a realistic demand plan.
Allows a simple application of sophisticated statistical demand forecasting techniques in relation to the available historical data. It combines forecast algorithms, past data analyses and current sales data with market knowledge and data supplied directly from the sales network. The forecast may be constantly updated, e.g. in “rolling” mode, comparing forecasts and actual sales data.
This includes the use of Machine Learning to support ‘Hyper Parameterisation’. This functionality analyses the actual sales against the forecast, the algorithm parameter settings and user adjustments used in deriving the forecast. The system runs alternate scenarios using different parameter values and adjustments to recommend better settings to users as ‘Insights’. Insights are presented to the user alongside the existing Parameter/Adjustment settings allowing comparison. The user can then view the alternate forecast results as a scenario and decide whether to adopt the recommended Insights and resultant forecast.
Numerous participants (e.g. area and product managers, marketing and sales managers, agents) hold information useful to defining a realistic demand plan. Their involvement in the definition of a shared plan increases the effectiveness of the plan itself. The Collaborative Demand Planning element produces a simple yet effective process necessary to provide a shared demand plan via workflow. Each participant can receive the relevant section of the plan, filtered on markets/channels/products or product families of interest, elaborate it via the device of their choice e.g. Laptop, Tablet, Mobile Phone and then return it to central planning for review/approval and publication.
Allows the development of multiple forecasts with a side by side comparison view, therefore allowing the user to predict different possible business outcomes with the ability to evaluate multiple possibilities e.g. Optimistic, Pessimistic, Most Likely Case before deploying the agreed forecast.
Supports Promotions Management as part of the forecasting process, as well as the evaluation of the impact of such initiatives on volumes, turnover and margin objectives. This solution helps planners predict the uplift based on search criteria that evaluate past events in terms of Products, Markets, Fixtures, Mechanics and Event duration. The Event can then be evaluated in terms of volume and financial viability before release. In-Flight Management monitors the progress and Post Event Analysis provides the Plan v Actual Results.
Allows joint evaluation of volumes and economic values for budget definition purposes. It combines statistical forecasting tools with economic evaluation features. The sales budget definition, with the determination of macro business objectives in terms of sales, is an appropriate starting point for subsequent demand management and planning activities. Budgets can be developed and stored at aggregate levels as required, and detailed forecasts can be made bottom up and compared with the aggregate budget for tracking and decision making purposes.