Demand planning (forecasting) is a process that enables the devising of operational and strategic plans for your company. It also facilities crucial management processes such as decision making, company expansion planning, performance evaluation as well as resource allocation in small spaces. For you to make correct business assumptions like risk assessment, mitigation plans, you should follow the steps below.
Conduct In-Depth Demand Analysis
You should first ascertain your demand expectation using quality data. Ensure you have a precise data set by removing expired or inappropriate data. Clean data sets will give you the most accurate results. You can also use your retail inventory to get a clear view of your stock across channels. This information is crucial for reliable demand analysis. It will enable you to plan accurately for demand and reduce costs for doing so. When you leverage inventory data with accurate sales data, you will understand the variables and factors influencing demand, such as transport access and reliability. You should also ascertain if you have a steady or seasonal demand to make accurate demand planning.
Track Your Business Progress
With demand forecasting, you have to remember everything that you sell by conducting a regular review. This will minimize errors in forecasting, improve service delivery as well as keep inventory holdings and costs closer to the maximum level. Ensure your firm’s stakeholders are participating in forecasting routinely; for instance, your advertising staff should upload details on expected promotions, and the sales team should update client information. When you keep records on the forecast and update changes in your inventory unit, you will have an excellent planning outlook.
Measure Data Accuracy
Using historical data is an excellent way of discerning future demand. You can utilize a plethora of models for analyzing your sales history from advanced to average regression techniques that precisely measure trends and cyclic data characteristics. Before you select a model, you should first understand if your sales history is coherent with the demand for a specific product.
Managing Data Spikes
Like most businesses, you might notice spikes in your sales. They could be data errors or may reflect real transactions. However, spikes pull demand distributions towards their direction, and that messes up inventory planning. It would be prudent to conduct your research on conventional forecasting separately.
Ensure you conduct an online time clock and scheduling software accurate and thorough analysis of your data. You should also concentrate more on the context of the data to comprehensively understand your business situation. You should also keep records of everything that you sell to avoid spikes.