The art and science of demand forecasting: Why psychic pets aren’t the answer!

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Although achieving 100% forecast accuracy is likely not a realistic goal, thanks to increasingly unpredictable consumer behavior, poor data, and outdated processes, when it comes to demand forecasting, many companies are consistently–and sometimes spectacularly–missing the mark.

As a demand planner, your desk is a mess of color-coded spreadsheets and sticky notes–a daily reminder of the challenges you face. Your days are consumed by the relentless pursuit of forecast accuracy and seemingly endless consensus demand planning cycles. No matter how hard you work, with traditional forecasting techniques, accuracy is still way below par. Forecasting feels like navigating a maze, and the marathon of meetings during consensus cycles have yielded only incremental improvements. You’re stressed to the max and thinking of looking for another job.

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Now, imagine your company decides to organize a Psychic Pet Day in a desperate attempt to enhance forecast accuracy. All employees are encouraged to bring their pets to work, in the belief that your furry friends possess an innate ability to predict market trends.

Throughout the day, proud pet parents engage in activities, such as talent shows and psychic pet parades. The grand finale involves all the pets making ‘predictions’ by choosing between different food bowls labeled with potential sales figures or market scenarios. The company even goes as far as awarding the title of Chief Forecasting Officer to the pet with the most accurate predictions!

While this may be far-fetched, in a world where a single tweet can change everything, it serves to highlight the struggle faced by many companies when it comes to the art–and science–of demand forecasting. Organizations are scrambling to find better ways to solve their demand forecasting dilemmas.

A small dog against a background of swirling numbers

But, if a psychic pet day isn’t the solution, what is?

ML-based solutions drive precision and efficiency

While your dog may (or may not!) have the cognitive capacity to choose between two bowls of food, to keep demand and supply in lockstep, companies need the ability to rapidly recognize shifting demand patterns and quickly iterate their forecasts as new information becomes available.

To navigate demand volatility, leading companies are turning to ML-based demand sensing and forecasting solutions to drive significantly improved forecast accuracy, efficiency, and collaboration.

Instead of making predictions based on the predilections of pets, through continuous learning from vast datasets, historical patterns, and real-time market insights, advanced ML-based solutions break the shackles of traditional forecasting techniques, introducing a level of sophistication that adapts to the ever-changing dynamics of consumer behavior. The result? Forecast accuracy that transcends the limitations of conventional methods. All without a four-legged fur baby in sight!

Automated data processing and analysis cuts through the noise to the signals that matter, simplifying processes and enhancing the quality of decision-making by providing a robust foundation built on reliable data.

With real-time insights and accurate forecasts, stakeholders can make informed decisions quickly and confidently, minimizing the need for prolonged consensus planning discussions. This streamlined approach enhances the overall efficiency of the planning process and allows organizations to respond more effectively to market dynamics.

Elevating demand planning

All of a sudden, your demand planners are freed from manual data crunching, giving them the time and headspace to focus on high-impact decisions. They’re more strategic, more productive, and much happier. Their achievements have garnered recognition from senior management, positioning your demand planning team as critical contributors to the company's overall performance. Your forecast is more accurate than ever before. And, best of all, your office isn’t overrun with a menagerie of animals!

But don’t just take our word for it. We put our newest demand sensing and forecasting solution to the test with one of our large CPG customers. Using Demand.AI, they achieved a >100% improvement in forecast accuracy, a 7% reduction in forecast bias, and a ~50% reduction in manual planning activities!

While psychic pet day sure sounds like a lot of fun, by bringing new levels of intelligence, adaptability, and efficiency to demand forecasting, ML-based solutions offer real solutions to today’s demand forecasting challenges.

Learn more about Demand.AI


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