are Increasingly Sought-After
As companies leverage Big Data and enter the world of predictive analytics, forecast analysts and demand planners are in especially high demand. The discipline is both growing and evolving; the advent of machine learning and predictive analytics, combined with increasingly volatile market conditions, requires companies to invest heavily in forecasting functions. Forecasters and demand planners have the opportunity to enjoy a well-remunerated career at Fortune 500 companies, and be at the forefront of the practical application of cutting-edge technology.
“It’s difficult to envision the world without demand planning. At Amazon…you are expected to have the right volume of products in inventory which in turn implies pretty darn accurate forecasting methods and supply chain structures.”
“I think demand planning is the hub of the organization that will make all other departments more efficient and effective if done correctly. Organizations without this function will be inefficient and will lose money.”
“I've found demand planning to be a field that has a lot of career growth opportunities. In my experience, ambitious demand planners get lots of chances to interact with senior level management executives, which in many cases leads to management level promotions.”
“Being more than just a data person is important to be good in demand planning roles. Being able to work collaboratively is important. Historically understanding statistics and forecasting techniques were probably enough to do a good job. That’s no longer the case.”
A positive, can-do attitude is required to communicate insight gleaned from forecasts, as is a problem-solving approach that looks to turn insight into practical solutions. Being comfortable with presenting findings to senior management is important. A collaborative approach is also required to deal with different functions across the business and reach consensus for forecast figures.
The goal is to create a forecast based on relevant market information that allows a company to accurately gauge demand for its products, and effectively organize resources to meet this demand. The desired outcome of an accurate forecast is improved inventory, satisfied customers and the ability for Sales and Marketing to shape demand.
A strong analytical and quantitative mindset is required to handle and interpret large amounts of data. Experience with databases and statistics is a basic requirement, although the academic background of many successful analysts is broad, including the arts.
- Create statistical forecasts by collecting and analysing data with historical models
- Error analysis to improve forecasts
- Review demand drivers, sales, and trends with Sales and Marketing
- Maintain relationships with Sales and Marketing to access latest information
- Reach consensus for operational demand forecast with Sales and Marketing
- Work with Supply to ensure effective inventory management and customer service
- Manage and maintain forecasting software
- Suggest adjustments to operational forecasts
to Forecasting and Demand Planning Jobs
To Make yourself attractive to employers, demonstrate an understanding of statistical modelling and predictive analytics, and understand how they relate to supply chain and wider business goals. Keep up to date with developments in the field, and take advantage of free courses and webinars. It is important to understand Big Data and predictive analytics, and how these relate to the forecasting role.
- Reading online resources like www.demand-planning.com
- Read the Journal Of Business Forecasting
- Following industry LinkedIn groups
- Taking advantage of free forecasting and demand planning webinars
- Gaining forecasting certification
- Network with people in the industry at IBF events
- Jobs in Forecasting & Planning
- Follow our Linkedin Jobs Portal for more Job opportunities