What is Demand Planning Software?
You’ve probably had to plan a birthday party before. Back in the days before Covid when we had birthday parties, of course. And to plan this party, there are a few things you need to know to be able to be successful. How many people are going to be there? How much food, cake, and drinks are you going to need for everyone? Will you have party favors? Enough chairs? And soon. There are a lot of things you have to take in account if you want to have a fun, smooth, and stress free party. Not having enough of the things you need can lead to disappointed party goers. Having too much can lead to waste offood, supplies, and money.
Running a business has very similar needs. What are you selling? Do you have the tools you need to market correctly? Do you have enough quantity to be able to sell? Do you have too much? In short, what does your business need to smoothly run with the least amount of waste or excess?
Being able to plan for demand is essential in a business. Demand planning tools are not often the first thing you think about when thinking of a company, but they are intricately part of every business model whether you realize it or not.
Like a meteorologist uses data and special software to give a weather forecast, businesses often use their own data in a demand planning software tool to help them forecast how much of each item they should have to sell, how many employees they need to have for best service, or how much space they should have for their stock. A weather forecast allows people to plan for their day, how warm they need to dress, if they will need an umbrella or not, or the type of activities they will be able to do. A demand forecast allows businesses to plan for their day, month, sales period, year, and help them understand what they need to do to accomplish their company goals. Using their own historical data, a company will input their different areas of business in to the forecasting software. The software will use said data to give projections on each different area. This is extremely helpful for businesses to be able to plan well for how much they need and how much they need in each specific area for each specific time.
In retail, there are holiday periods and back to school periods where they must plan for higher demand. If they are unprepared for this increased demand, they will miss out on valuable sales. In a grocery store, if demand isn’t managed during these holidays or back to school periods, and certain foods that are eaten during the holiday or special school supplies that are needed aren’t there, there will be many unhappy customers. This is what makes demand management and demand management software so important. It allows for the best possible planning to ensure the happiness of both the customers getting the things they need and the companies being able to sell and increase their business.
There is more included in demand forecasting and planning than just having enough product or supplies. It’s more than just figuring out the best way to sell the most things. It’s also helpful in allowing companies to set goals and be able to create an achievable plan. It helps a company see where they need to hire in order to succeed or where they may need to let go. If in using their demand management software they see they are lacking in a certain area, they may need to market that area better. If they need to improve their marketing but they don't have someone to do that, they need to hire someone to do that specifically. If they find out that they have marketed a certain area well and now need to adjust their forecast to find where they can improve next, they are now able to do that. Demand forecasting allows for progress in every part of the company. Progress then makes room for more progress. And progress is what most companies want for themselves!
So what is the best demand planning software? Well, the best demand planning software will be one that is catered to your business. One that allows you to put your own data in. One that is adaptable and able to change with your needs and progression. It will be one that takes sales goals into consideration and incorporates financial reports. The best demand planning software will be one that is monitored based on performance and real time analytics.
In short, the best demand planning software will be one that is catered to you. Just as you cater your business based off the needs of your customers your demand forecast should be catered around your own needs. Adjusting whenever your needs adjust. Striving to reduce error and give you specific, tangible things to do to be able to improve your business.