Demand Planning In The Cloud

NetSuite Inc. has extended its cloud-based business management suite with new demand planning features. Demand Planning improves inventory forecast accuracy, reduces excess inventory or risk of stock outs, and minimizes manual restock processes.

Demand Planning enables companies to forecast peaks and troughs in demand and minimize capital tied up in inventory. It bridges the gap between the front-office and back-office − allowing companies to tightly align sales forecasts with inventory replenishment plans. This supports businesses with minimizing excess inventory, eliminating stock outs, and improving customer satisfaction.

Combined with the ease of deployment of cloud computing and integrated business suite, NetSuite puts the power of completely integrated demand planning into the hands of companies of all sizes and geographical locations.

It provides flexibility for building an operational demand plan. Businesses can use sales forecasts to build an inventory plan and even augment the plan with special predictions, such as marketing input on new product launches.

Alternatively, inventory plans can even be built using statistical forecasting models such as linear regression, moving averages and seasonal averages, based on historical sales data. As part of a fully integrated supply chain, these projections can even be automatically delivered to upstream providers, ensuring that the entire flow from raw materials to end customer is managed with minimal disruption and optimal inventory levels at each step in the chain.

Only one in five companies has adopted a demand planning solution, according to Gartner. It demonstrates the weakness and difficulty legacy ERP tools have had in addressing this key business concern. Businesses have struggled with legacy disconnected ERP, inflexible tools, and out of date spreadsheets to try and management demand. The result has meant high IT overhead, and infrequent, inadequate and out-of-date plans.

According to the Gartner study, intelligent, integrated demand planning can increase inventory availability up to 30 percent, reduce obsolescence by up to 15 percent and boost gross margins up to 5 percent.