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Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: (844) 680-2046

Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: (844) 680-2046


by Daniel Harris,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: September 23, 2016

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Demand Planning and Forecasting Software?
Common Features of Demand Planning and Forecasting Software
Evaluating Demand Planning and Forecasting Software

What Is Demand Planning and Forecasting Software?

Demand planning software allows organizations to minimize waste by tracking trends that will affect future demand. This type of system accomplishes the task by improving forecasting governance in order to eliminate errors or biases in the data and also by reducing data latency, which makes real-time demand planning possible.

In addition to procurement software and strategic sourcing software, demand planning systems are an important, cost-cutting element of supply chain management software.

Common Features of Demand Planning and Forecasting Software

Two key objectives can be reached through demand planning tools: an improvement in demand forecast accuracy and greater control over demand shaping.

Historical analysis Cross-functional or multi-dimensional forecasting processes analyze the historical demand for an individual product with broader macro- and micro-economic trends to deliver an accurate forecast to supply chain executives.
Data separation The software gathers a wide range of data to improve past and future demand analysis. Filtering and separation occurs by product, customer, seasonal and market information.
Demand shaping capacity The software factors in scheduling data related to promotions, advertising, planned introductions of new products and upcoming competitor activity, accumulating and displaying detailed plans for future marketing campaigns as well as the projected effects on awareness, demand and revenue that will accompany them.
“What-if” analysis With all the information in the system, the software can perform a series of scenarios and simulations based on “what-if” factors. Based on the results of these what-if simulations, potential deviations from planned demand can be communicated to the necessary areas of the supply chain in order to adjust shipments or production.
Supply chain communication Demand planning systems communicates with other elements of the SCM system to renegotiate replenishment scheduling through capacity planning. This prevents unnecessary oversupply and cost inefficiencies by reducing inventory carrying costs and excess inventory write-offs.

Evaluating Demand Planning and Forecasting Software

Evaluating demand planning and forecasting software requires an assessment of the functionality and its value to the planning process. It also requires an understanding of the efficiency, accuracy, and relevance of the data that is provided, since that data is key to the effectiveness of the system.

Key considerations when selecting demand planning software include:

  • What data does it collect and interpret?
  • How often is the data collected?
  • Will it be used by itself, or in conjunction with supply chain planning or a comprehensive SCM system? Is it compatible with legacy systems?

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