5 diagnostic demand planning questions

  • February 08, 2023
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Selecting the right demand planning solution depends on your organization's current level of demand planning maturity. This five-question checklist will help diagnose where you are on that progression.

Is there a demand planning solution that can take you to a higher level?

Here’s what maturity, in this context, means. If your organization uses a simple moving average for forecasting with only a year of historical data, then your maturity is at a lower level.

However, if you use seasonality and trend to categorize shipments, you’re at the next level of maturity. Teams that use advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), along with first-flight collaboration platforms, are recognized as being at a top level of maturity.

It’s imperative that you choose the right solution for your specific needs. The prudent thing to do is start with a solution that corresponds to the maturity of your processes, planners and data.

These five questions will help gauge where you are along the maturity continuum:

  1. Does your demand planning process depend on a spreadsheet?
  2. Do you believe you employ sophisticated forecasting techniques, but simply aren’t using them now?
  3. Are you relying on emails to collaborate with sales, commercial and other supply chain partners?
  4. Is your team not entirely ready for a run at working with an advanced planning system?
  5. Do you feel ready for a pilot program? One that explores how technology can increase efficiency and accuracy in demand planning before committing to a large-scale transformation?

If you answered “yes” to three or more questions, your organization may be at a low- to mid-maturity level. However, you can reach a higher level of maturity with the right technology enablers, collaborative planning and analytics-driven insights.

SOLAR is the answer

No, we’re not trying to take you off the grid. SOLAR stands for Sales & Operations, Live and Ready. This application from NTT DATA has the answers to your planning technology questions. Using our accumulated expertise in integrated demand and supply planning, we created SOLAR to help upgrade your demand planning process.

Loaded with features, SOLAR isn’t your typical demand planning tool. It includes:

  • An advanced, completely integrated statistical forecasting module that addresses your time series and other advanced forecasting needs
  • Model hierarchies that meet your specific business demands and levels of reporting
  • Easy-to-use, role-based access and a highly configurable interface with reporting options
  • A simple, built-in alert mechanism that runs a demand planning control tower
  • The ability to delegate tasks for effective management of the demand planning process
  • Seamless integration with upstream and downstream systems
  • A quick ramp-up to implementation and going live — not months, but weeks!

Checkout this screenshot of the web-based interface for NTT DATA’s SOLAR Demand Planning application.

— By Radhika Agarwal

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