Demand Forecasting and Fulfilment Planning with Algorithm Intelligence

Case study

In any business wanting to protect or grow its margins, producing an accurate picture of intended demand is key. It’s not only a basis for meaningful conversations with the customer – it also allows the supply chain to be managed efficiently. This means producing the right stock at the right time, avoiding over production and waste but as importantly avoiding any stock shortages and stock-outs and the risk of losing consumer loyalty long term.

Thorogood used Anaplan to help a major CPG organization integrate their statistical and collaborative forecasting processes with flexibility, control and audit.

Customer demand forecasting is challenging and requires a number of pieces of information to be brought together. A huge combination of possible future purchases comes from a large number of customers buying from a large product portfolio consisting of many variants across a lengthy future time horizon.  Historic sales patterns can be used to deduce trends and buying cycles but accommodating impacts of tax and other legislative changes as well as business changes is critical, as is the human perspective.

Our customer had a legacy SAP system which was labor intensive and complex, taking days to produce a statistical forecast that was opaque to understand – the result was a decline in forecast accuracy. They were looking for a replacement which would provide:

  • Process discipline
  • Intuitive user-experience
  • Customer and product perspectives
  • Improved forecast accuracy
  • Flexibility to evolve to meet changing needs over time

Anaplan was a clear winner in a search for a suitable tool due to its fast calculation engine and flexible user interface.

Anaplan is a cloud-based software as a service offering with pioneering technology that combines the high-performance in-memory calculation demanded by large-scale firms with an intuitive spreadsheet-like user interface for real-time collaboration and user-friendly data entry. The solution provided 4 key features:

Automation

Pulling sales and production data as well as master data from sources into a single repository for consolidating history and setting up forecasts without the need for manual intervention. Being able to see the algorithmic forecast and including it in the final forecast unless over-ridden. Having the facility to choose sub-sku and production scheduled stock automatically consumed showing depletions and switch overs to other less time-sensitive stock.

User-focus

Account Managers able to view up-to-date account information and review previous performance before updating the current forecast. Trade Directors able to oversee sales forecasts across customer and product hierarchies, adjusting at various levels and focusing on accounts with tendencies to be under or over-forecasted.

Accuracy

Anaplan’s scalability and high-performance engine able to run multiple statistical forecast scenarios to accommodate different sales patterns and thus identify the best fit to improve forecast accuracy.

Adaptability

A technology that can be administered by the planning team, empowering them to solve issues and evolve the solution to better support the changing needs of the business.

The result?

An automated, intuitive, accurate and flexible forecasting solution – mission accomplished. And there’s more to come. With the value gained from time saved, agility and insights, further ways to exploit the Anaplan platform are in the pipeline.

Find out more

Contact Howard Yates. Howard is a BI & Analytics Consultant at Thorogood.