Imagine you are responsible for docking a Maersk Line Triple-E Class container ship
—400 meters long, almost 60 meters wide, and containers stacked on the deck almost as high as the pilothouse. How will you dock this huge ship within the confines of a relatively narrow harbor?
One way to handle what seems a daunting challenge is to employ demand planning that facilitates teamwork. You could meet with the tugboat captains, line handlers, and the ship’s crew beforehand to identify your common goal—dock the ship safely, without damage—and develop the steps necessary to meet the goal. As you guide the ship into port, you would then feel confident in relying on the individual specialities and strengths of the team members to ensure you dock successfully.
Whatever your business type, demand planning can help you and your company work together as a more efficient team to meet your organization’s objectives, improve customer service, reduce costs, and increase revenue. Many organizations fall into the trap of using several plans that may conflict with each other’s needed outcomes. To achieve an optimal outcome through demand planning, a company should reconcile and integrate its objectives into one consistent plan for the entire organization.
Implementing a demand plan requires many steps, including creating a consensus demand plan, establishing a forecast horizon and other structures and allocation methods, identifying forecasting inputs, and defining your demand forecasting techniques. However, demand plans can help your organization manage a variety of complex business issues with greater efficiency, thereby justifying the time invested in developing a coherent strategy.
Is your organization prepared for smooth sailing—and smoother docking? Or have you hit choppy waters as you navigate toward your company’s objectives? The Accenture Academy course Exploring Demand Planning will help you examine the implementation and operation of a robust demand planning process so that your business can adeptly chart a course that aligns to the marketplace.