For people who work in supply chain, one silver lining that came out of the past two years is the widespread recognition that, when it comes to achieving business goals, a well-run supply chain is mission critical. But the ability to leverage the supply chain to drive revenue and achieve other key metrics is only growing more difficult as the global marketplace grows more complex and volatile.  

According to EY, “As disruptive events increase in both frequency and severity — a trend we expect to continue — companies face an imperative to get a clear view of what’s most likely to happen next and what they should do to prepare.”  

Getting a clear view of “what’s most likely to happen next” and figuring out the best way to respond to those signals is a big part of demand planning. Working steadily toward an advanced level of demand planning maturity [Read: Guide to Evolve Your Demand Planning Maturity] and developing plans that optimize opportunity is key to achieving this clarity, while reducing risk.

When You’re Ready to Accelerate 

These signals often indicate that it’s time to accelerate your demand planning to an advanced level: 

  • Your supply chain organization is increasingly being tasked with contributing meaningfully to expanded business goals, including reducing risk and attaining key social, economic, and environmental metrics.  
  • You are amassing a lot more diverse data from across your extended supply chain, but it all needs to be cleansed, analyzed, automated, and synchronized end-to-end to deliver real benefits, such as the ability to optimize your planning and collaborate with suppliers.  
  • Your planners have become too bogged down in manual tasks, without enough time to devote to more high-value activities that also keep them more engaged.  
  • To reach the next level of value, you need to move past simply understanding and responding to what’s happening, and instead actually sense and shape demand. 

Advanced Planning’s Must-Have Capabilities 

Advanced planning capabilities open up a lot of new opportunities, but there are a few that are important to focus on. Keep these in mind as you chart your goals, particularly if you’re seeking a new supply chain planning partner to help you advance your demand planning maturity: 

Deriving greater value from all that new data. This includes taking in more diverse and longer-term demand sensing signals, uncovering deeper insights into demand drivers, and synchronizing planning activities end-to-end. 

Automating forecasts with AI/ML. Applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to your data opens powerful new capabilities, such as optimization or identifying root causes. It also helps you create more granular and long-term forecasts, and consider new risk and environmental factors to support those emerging business goals. AI/ML also suggests predictive and prescriptive actions to help achieve optimal results. Learn More: The Practical Role of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in Supply Chain

Shaping demand, such as modeling operational and financial implications to maximize profitability, reduces risk and boosts customer service. Other key capabilities include attribute-based forecasting.  

Extending collaboration by linking planning activities to the extended supply chain network, so you can reap the value that comes from others’ perspectives on demand. 

Competing With Supply Chain Requires Advanced Capabilities 

Understanding what’s happening in the markets you serve and planning an optimal response requires savvy demand planning skills. Smart organizations are recognizing that their demand planning maturity must evolve, and investing accordingly. The best way to ensure you can continuously evolve your demand planning maturity is to choose a platform partner who not only offers advanced demand planning capabilities today, but invests in innovation. At John Galt Solutions, our well-funded R&D budget is focused on enabling us to lead the market as visionaries, and then using what we learn to future-proof our end-to-end supply chain management software. This means we not only partner with you as you accelerate toward advanced demand planning maturity, but we continue serving as your partner as new needs evolve in the years to come.