Getting your demand forecast as accurate as possible will lead your company towards informed decisions and profitable outcomes. With many companies, demand planning involves manual data and analysis in Excel, which can limit insights, accuracy and productivity. This is even more important for a specialty CPG food manufacturer with perishable items requiring strict inventory and customer service levels. When the demand forecast is so crucial to a company’s success, why allow the process to have any errors or delays?
Accelytics enabled Anaplan and guided this company through a digital demand planning transformation, taking them from manual Excel forecasting and analysis, to a state-of-the art planning tool and demand planning process. We wanted to share some key insights from the demand forecast comparison and analysis that has decreased their planning time, given them deeper insights from a customer and item level, and eliminated the tedious manual effort.
By implementing Anaplan for Demand Planning, this CPG company transformed how they plan and analyze their forecasting results. In the past, the company would have different plans and forecasts saved in Excel sheets and the planners would try to compare those manually, or bring one plan from Excel into another workbook and compare from there.
With Anaplan, their demand planning is all in one screen, with all data sheets merged into one platform. Planners can click a button to store versions or snapshots from what is in their current planning screen, and break it out into multiple views. The company saves over 2.5 days of productivity when it comes to the analysis, with the ability to take snapshots and compare snapshot to snapshot for variance analysis, as well as actuals to snapshots for forecast accuracy.
The Anaplan Demand Forecast Comparison capabilities saved us 2.5 days, going from a 3 day process to just half a day.“ - Demand Planner
With this time savings, this CPG company’s demand planning team is now spending more time enriching the statistical forecast with intelligence from various areas of their business, which creates a more detailed and accurate plan. Their Anaplan model includes adding enrichments to the forecast, such as high-level trends from marketing, events from sales, effects from media and advertising, and risks / opportunities.
Demand Forecasting Capabilities
Anaplan is truly customizable for client goals. For this client, Accelytics focused on developing two main views for their demand planning model.
One view is forecast accuracy. The demand planners have the ability to view actuals and compare that to any snapshot they want, showing variances (by item and customer and week), as well as forecast accuracy to show how close their actuals came in to what their forecast was, with the ability to go back to 1 month forecast, 2 months, 3 months, etc., so they can see how their accuracy changes the closer or further out they go and how close they are truly getting to hitting their forecast.
The second main view is snapshot comparisons. Throughout the forecast cycles, they are taking multiple cuts of the forecast or applying “what-if’ options (aggressive forecast, conservative, etc.). When there are so many pieces going into the forecast (new distribution, innovations, stat forecast changes, etc.) at granular level detail, it’s tough to know what is changing from one date to the next.
Accelytics created a snapshot comparison process that allows the team to select which two they want to compare, and it will identify/flag any differences, across all pieces that make up the forecast, to easily identify why and where numbers are changing. For example, if one of their major retailers decreased new distribution assumptions for Organic Eggs, or the team changed a stat forecasting method to include more seasonality in this cut of the forecast vs. the last.
I would say the ability to layer our assumptions has been huge and track the changes from period to period. – Demand Planner
Not only did this client save 2.5 days of work every period, but they have the ability to track changes, scenario plan and gain deeper insights on their forecasting – without the manual effort. When it’s crucial to have an accurate demand plan, why leave any possibility for mistakes? If you’re looking to lose the Excel sheets and digitally transform your demand planning, Anaplan could be the cutting-edge, high-value tool your organization is looking for.
To learn more about how Accelytics can help transform your Supply Chain Planning with Anaplan, email email@example.com.