“Demand Planners Are Storytellers Who Use Numbers As Their Language”

A Demand Planner is a person responsible for facilitating the Demand Planning process. They use data, forecasts, and experience to estimate demand, answer questions for various business needs, and enable orchestration of demand to achieve desired goals. The Demand Planner is responsible for the Demand Plan, the Demand Planning process, understanding their customers and markets, key drivers of demand and variability/volatility, and who is providing the additional information required to ensure an appropriate Demand Plan.

Demand Planners Need A Range Of Skills

Of course, depending on the individual company or industry, there may be additional characteristics that need to be addressed. The Demand Planner helps make the business more successful and brings three very different skills to the table:

  • Art: Has rational skills and sees the bigger picture. Deals well with ambiguity and is at ease filling in the blanks based on their experience and intuition.
  • Science: Has strong analytical skills with the ability to scrutinize and break down facts and concepts into their strengths and weaknesses. They can apply logic to solve problems and get the job done.
  • Management: Has people and process management skills. Developing a statistical base-line and adding inputs to create a Demand Plan is only two-thirds of this job. Managing the process and output is an equally important skill. Collaboration, building consensus, and communicating effectively are critical components of a good Demand Planner.

Demand Planners Manage And Grow Demand

Whether it is planning or forecasting, it is about effectively managing and growing demand and supporting the marketplace while meeting organizational goals. This requires prioritizing demand, gaining input on demand from all key stakeholders, reaching cross-functional agreement on the Demand Plans, executing and monitoring plans, and taking action as required.

Demand Planning and forecasting are not stand-alone processes. Forecasting is a key process and Demand Planning is a critical driver to business processes such as Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A), Product Management and Marketing, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) to name just a few.

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