Yes, for those of us who have a heritage in demand management, we are used to being called “demanding.” And rightfully so! The role of a demand planner is smack dab in the middle of an awful lot: driving the key, centralized sales forecast that will be used to plan out multiple aspects of the business from merchandising to inventory management and promotional planning to transportation.
In order to wear these multiple hats and balance the amount of work, data, analysis and communication that a demand planner is responsible for, it is absolutely imperative that they have the necessary tools to get the job done efficiently.
As the role of a demand planner continues to evolve, some of the key requirements that top the priority list include:
Consolidated data – Typically, demand planners reference many different tools, be it a supply chain tool, the ERP system, data warehouses, reporting tools, spreadsheets and MS Access databases, in order to obtain information to make decisions. The ability to tie all of this information together in one place to improve efficiency in analysis is crucial.
Flexibility of Analysis – How many times do your demand planners log a ticket with their internal IT group to create a report in a slightly different format than those that are currently available? Demand planners are analytical in nature, and equipping them with tools that allow flexibility to analyze data in multiple methods with quick slicing and dicing in multiple facets (by customer, product, location, time and associated attributes) eliminates the latency of getting the data in the right format to the demand planner.
Updating the Plan – While the format of the analysis of data is critical, it’s not just about reporting. A report is the first step in the process that helps the planner understand the issues, analyze root causes and determine next steps to resolve. However, the planner must be able to take action on that information.
Consensus Building – Whether in sales, marketing, finance or inventory, stakeholders across the organization have knowledge that will affect a sales forecast. Additional information comes from external trading partners, such as vendors or customers. Demand planners act as the centralized hub to sort through this input and update the forecast accordingly.
Now! – Oh, and all of this needs to happen very quickly! Planners cannot wait hours or days to understand the impact of forecast changes across the hierarchy or across the extended supply chain. In today’s world of the always-on, connected consumer, demand patterns and buying behaviors can change quickly, and planners must have capabilities to analyze and react just as fast.
Demand planners have certainly found their seat in the center of the enterprise and must be equipped with the right tools to get the job done. As the requirements of a demand planner continue to evolve, so do the supply chain tools they leverage to develop that centralized, accurate view of demand.
Here at JDA, we have analyzed these requirements and delivered solutions to continue to support demand planners and the overall demand management process, most recently with the introduction of JDA® Demand 360, which launched as part of the JDA® eight suite earlier this year.
Watch this short video featuring John Fullmer, JDA’s senior director of product management to learn more about JDA® Demand 360 to see how this extension of the JDA product suite can be leveraged within your demand management organization.