11th August 2021

How To Forecast Demand As Lockdown Eases

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Lockdown has changed the landscape for businesses around the world. An accelerated shift towards digitisation combined with uncertain supply and demand have emphasised the need for greater agility.

The general predictions for growth this year (7.8% predicted for 2021) is optimistic, but when it comes to forecasting demand in the post-Covid era, new strategies are needed. Here’s what you should be doing:

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Accurate demand forecasting is grounded in advanced analytics. Analysis of sales data brings deeper insight into consumer behaviour, directly influencing the movement of stock, marketing initiatives, and sales strategies. During times of sudden growth and economic uncertainty alike, this information needs to be received and acted upon at lightning pace. Advanced analytics can keep the information updated in real-time, removing the risks of relying upon hazardously slow physical data.

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to invest in demand forecasting and supply chain management software. Using a platform such as Reflex Planning, you can collect and analyse data in real-time, enabling your teams and supply partners to correctly gauge the market for your products and services.

Engage With Multi-Level Forecasting

Accurate sales forecasting is required at every level of the supply chain, and should be considered on an operational, tactical, and strategic level:

  • Operational levels include inventory management and transportation planning.
  • Tactical considerations include major decisions such as yearly budgets, resource planning, outsourcing strategies, and marketing spend.
  • Strategically, forecasting is related to considerations such as capital investments and recruitment.

As such, advanced multi-level forecasting is required to harmonise your sales data and produce accurate plans across the product lifecycle as a whole. Used to make precise predictions despite statistical uncertainty, multi-level forecasting gives users better control over data hierarchies, automatically selecting the most accurate forecasting model for each. Even during times of marketplace normality this is a helpful investment, but in the aftermath of a pandemic it is more important than ever.

Opt For Real-Time Alerts

Missing information can mean misjudging demand, leading to a loss in profits. While a few forecasting errors here and there don’t always cause a dent in organisational success, in periods of economic uncertainty a minor mistake can have a major impact. Misjudging demand could cause you to overstock or, worse, miss out on your share of a booming market. Often, missing a warning in the figures is simply down to the data not being analysed quickly enough, although human error can also play a role.

Real-time alert systems can monitor multiple trends and trigger notifications of important changes. This allows employees to focus their time and energy on the areas that matter rather than sifting through non-meaningful information. Real-time forecasting alerts can, therefore, improve both accuracy and agility in shifting consumer environments.

Automate And Integrate As Much As Possible

Organisations are being forced to become increasingly lean. This is a challenge when extra attention needs to be given to critical issues such as demand forecasting, strategic planning, and agile responses, things that many businesses no longer have the manpower for. With time and budgets at a premium, robust and cost-effective solutions are needed. Automation and integration can save time and reduce costs at every organisational level. When demand forecasting is integrated, it communicates with data from multiple systems, improving productivity and reducing the risk of errors and duplications.

What Next?

At Reflex planning, we provide future-focused software solutions for today’s challenges. For more information about how to safely navigate the post-Covid marketplace, have a chat with one of our forecasting specialists today.

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