August 21, 2023

It goes without saying that demand planning plays a crucial role in ensuring success and profitability. However, as companies grow and face new complexities, they often find themselves hitting a wall with their current systems, resources, and processes.

The reality is that as your business evolves, so does the demand for more accurate forecasts, agile planning and cross-functional collaboration. What used to work seamlessly in the early stages of a business's journey may become a significant barrier to growth and efficiency, as the organization expands. The growing complexities of operations, the scale of data, increased user scope, and intricate calculations required to meet business objectives surpass the capabilities of Excel spreadsheets and homegrown systems.

When planners find themselves in a constant state of firefighting, grappling with data discrepancies, and struggling to meet service level commitments, it's a clear indication the processes and supporting technologies are falling short. The journey from ERP systems, homegrown solutions and spreadsheets to a more capable demand planning solution is far simpler than you may think.

How do you know when you’re ready to upgrade to a more advanced solution? If you find you or your team uttering any of the following statements, it’s time.

1. We Are Stuck in Firefighting Mode.

If your team is constantly reacting to unexpected events, scrambling to meet demand, and resolving crises, it's a sign that your demand planning process is not proactive enough.

While spreadsheets may have sufficed when the business was more predictable/the demand signal was steady, as complexity increases, basic tools become cumbersome and get in the way. Transitioning to an advanced demand planning system allows you to anticipate issues, mitigate risks, and make proactive decisions.

2. We Can’t Agree on Who’s Data is Accurate.

When key stakeholders start questioning the accuracy of data and debating who should drive the demand planning process, it's a clear sign that your systems are not providing a single source of truth. Outdated methods and spreadsheets often lack the necessary governance and transparency to ensure data integrity and ownership.

With advanced demand planning implemented as part of a comprehensive supply chain planning software solution, you can establish a centralized data source, streamline collaboration, and ensure everyone is working with accurate and consistent information.

3. We Struggle with Visibility and Understanding Our Demand Drivers.

Limited visibility into demand drivers and a lack of understanding about what influences customer behavior can hinder effective demand planning.

Conflicting data sources and a lack of visibility into demand drivers create confusion and uncertainty among key stakeholders. Decisions become fragmented, with different teams relying on different data sets, ultimately leading to inefficiency and missed opportunities. If your team is grappling with this challenge, it's time to consider an upgrade.

A robust demand planning system provides powerful analytics capabilities, leveraging real-time or near real-time data from various sources and internal and external enterprise systems. By harnessing this wealth of information, you can gain valuable insights and empower your team to make better data-driven decisions. 

4. Unexpected Events and Disruption Catch Us Off Guard All the Time.

In today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment, unexpected events are bound to occur. If your team consistently finds themselves caught off guard and unsure of how to respond, it's another sign of inadequate demand planning.  

An advanced demand planning solution equips you with advanced forecasting algorithms and scenario planning tools that enable you to model various what-if scenarios and develop contingency plans – so you can be prepared for the unknown.  

This proactive approach helps you respond swiftly and effectively to unforeseen events, minimizing disruptions and maximizing results.

5. We Need Better Planning.

If you’ve heard someone on your team say something like “we should have planned better for that to happen,” take it as a wake-up call to reassess your planning capabilities.

These statements are a result of gaps you may not be aware of, due to the limitations posed by outdated methods. These flags serve to raise concerns about your ability to effectively execute demand planning and to acknowledge that your current systems and resources have reached their limits. It’s crucial to consider an upgrade to break free from the constraints and explore an advanced demand planning solution that can handle the complexities of a rapidly evolving business landscape, enabling accurate forecasting, streamlined processes, and informed decision-making.

Recognizing the challenges is the first step towards overcoming them. By acknowledging the limitations of current systems and embracing the need for more capable forecasting and planning, demand planners can position themselves for growth and success.

Are you ready to embrace the right technology to support the expanding needs of your business? We’ll help you adopt a powerful solution that will evolve alongside your company, empowering you to enhance accuracy, optimize operations, stay ahead of the curve, meet customer demands, and drive long-term success.