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About Demand Planning LLC

Demand Planning LLC, based in Boston MA, is a consulting boutique comprised of seasoned experts with real-world supply chain experience and subject-matter expertise in demand forecasting, S&OP, Customer planning, and supply chain strategy.

We provide process and solutions consulting, as well as customized training across a variety of industries.

Through our knowledge portal DemandPlanning.Net, we offer a full menu of training programs through in-person and online courses, as well as a variety of informational articles, downloadable calculation templates, and a unique Demand Planning discussion forum.

  • 14Jun

    In the post jobs-era, Apple has even grown bigger in terms of the accolades and the lime light it is enjoying.

    • iPhone 4S launching SIRI your voice slave.
    • iPad3, just launched after I bought my iPad2.
    • Tim Cook becoming the new jobs-like cZar of Apple company.  Supply Chain Pundits should take pride in the fact that he started as a humble supply chain manager in Apple.

    I only remember reading it in my MBA courses how Apple became prey to the open architecture of the WINTEL computers.  Microsoft supplied the OS, Intel made the engines and anyone can put together an IBM clone computer.  It so ended up that everyone other than IBM started making the PCs – remember IBM sold the PC business in its entirety to Lenovo.  Apple Stock went to the single digits in the mid-eighties.  Barely survived until the return of Jobs and the launch of the iMac and the iPod.

    Then it flourished.  Jobs magic created a variety of iProducts – iPod, iPhone, iPad and iWhat………….  The company is the most valued in the world at $535 Billion dollars as of June 2012.

    The valuation represents the sum of all expected future profits or what the investors are perceiving it can make in profits in the future.  Another way to say it is the company has boat loads of iMagic up its sleeves to make more money not just from the iProducts it already has but also the new iPotential it has in its pipeline and to be released.

    Just in terms of size comparison, the following statements reveal how valuable the company is:

    1.  It has $28 Billion dollars in Cash

    2.  The second largest company Exxon Mobil is $200 Billion smaller in market cap.

    3.  The Value of the company at more than half a trillion dollars is one-thirtieth the GDP of the United States.

    4.  The company’s Market cap exceeds the Gross Domestic products of most countries and just as large as the economy of Saudi Arabia or Sweden.

    Now it strangely feels like Deja Vu again.  However, WINTEL is not back to unseat Apple.  Perhaps something similar.

    There is a company called Google that has an OS called Android.  It makes it available to any handset maker that wants to use it.  HTC, Samsung and LG are happy to make those phones and sell it on the cheap.  And Google has decided to buy its own handset maker in the form of Motorola, so it has a captive unit that also turns out DROID phones.  Sleek, futuristic, and just smoothly and rapidly evolving.

    And Apple is starting to make mistakes……….  mostly in the OS.  Every upgrade I installed on my iPhone 4 since the passing of dear Steve Jobs has been a fiasco.  I lost my music, data and apps and other pesky issues.  Losing the music is the strangest thing.  The music all disappeared from the iPhone but the computer said it is still there……… Oh Well.  Had to wipe and reload everything.  Not fun!  Apple may say I am techy enough for the new OS.  But Jobs never made products for geeks or tech people.  He made usable products for the users. period.

    When another OS looks like the greatest threat for Apple, the company is bungling on its OS.

    I know Apple always looked to Microsoft to make office applications for its iMacs.

    Is there a day to come when Apple may potentially become a handset maker licensing the Android OS?

    Quo vadis Apple?

  • 02Aug

    Recent reports have suggested that manufacturing has been the silver lining in the weak recovery.  Growth has been stronger in the manufacturing sector compared to other sectors.

    One of the key reasons for outsourcing is the cheaper labor available elsewhere – but is that offset by the higher cost to transport goods into the point of consumption in the USA?  We talk continuously about the goodness of shortening lead times and try to stabilize lead times.

    Lead times are essentially an evil when it comes to managing a tight inventory balance sheet.  Putting this mantra into practice, one would think we are better off moving production close to the point of use.  This cuts lead times and reduces uncertainty on the supply side.  This helps you operate almost just in time and hence lower your costs across the board.

    What else could drive the change?  What do you see as trends in the newly emerging recovery?

    Demand Planning LLC is currently researching this area, particularly container and bulk movement.  We noticed in our research that most shipping companies are struggling. Their stocks have declined gradually to multi-year lows – Carriers that transport oil, dry goods and bulk haulers have all declined in value over the last few years.

    Is this a forecast of continued weakness in the global economy or shrinking international trade or just move to making more production happen domestically in their respective countries?

    Companies that own Oil tankers have suffered the most – Frontline, General Maritime Corporation etc.  The latter is trading close to multi-year low of $1.  The other bulk carriers have also been hit with excess capacity and declining demand.  This could be the classic boom-bust scenario where the carriers have invested in excess capacity during the boom and get caught when the slow down hits them.  However, there are other possibilities.

    Stay tuned for the results of our research study.  Please drop me a line if you are interested in an abstract of our findings.

    Tags: , , , ,

  • 11Aug

     

    Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), a member of the Dow Index, has gone through a tough time in the market lately. The stock has been beaten down, though there is some relief rally in the last week thanks to an analyst upgrade.

    Are things that bad for the Santa-clara and Chandler, AZ based chip maker? Are the glory days over for this PC chip giant? I feel like I am back to the late 90s since I had seen these questions being asked then with the Intel bears citing a mature PC market.

    Computers are certainly not going away…….. But not so sure about PCs. Is it possible for another appliance to take over the role currently served by the PC? Perhaps the role may be much more diminished and diluted by say, a cell phone or a PDA device for lot of the common things like email and internet surfing. Will they totally supplant the PC?

    The migration of the roles would certainly slow down the growth of the PC market and perhaps rapid advances in the PDA or cell phone technology will definitely make a dent into the PC market share. Newer technology is definitely in the application chips that drive devices through out the home and office, the set top boxes, cell phones, PDAs, black berries, and perhaps a little device on your fridge, and washer and dryer and your oven, and your telephone.

    But you do need a central device that hooks up and communicates with these scattered devices through out your home or the office. It is much easier to surf the web on my PC or laptop than on the TV through my set top box. Even if I want to know about a movie before ordering the PPV, I don’t like the four line description on the TV guide available after several presses of the remote control buttons. Hop on your laptop, google the movie, ……….. there you have it; the rating, the reviews, the cast, the director and every thing that is ever written about the movie.

    So would that central device that connects my Ipod, my set top box, the refrigerator, my calendar, be the PC? Perhaps. If not a Wintel PC, may be something similar? Will that be a small PDA or a blackberry?

    May be this central device is not a windows device, but perhaps a device controlled by Linux or the Apple OS. A device that does not crash often, does not ask you to download updates every working hour of your day…….. Even in such a world, it seems Intel is the natural processor on such a computing device.

    May be Mr. Jobs thinks so. With the new alliance with Intel, Macs and Ibooks are going to be powered by Intel processors. There could be four possible scenarios that could develop. And in reality, it could be a combination of these scenarios that may actually thrive.

    Scenario 1: Microsoft and Intel dominate this space and the central computing device is a Wintel PC…….. Perhaps Microsoft discovers the magic OS that cleans up most of the current ills, and continues to rule the home and the office.

    Scenario 2: The central device is an open source OS controlled computer with an Intel Processor.

    Scenario 3: The central device is an “IHub” from Apple powered by a new MAC OS and a new Intel Processor for the MAC.

    Scenario 4: Oh wait……. it is a Gdevice from google in alliance with Oracle. Just a dumb device with a keyboard and Mouse with access to google online appliances and home gadgets. All your home devices are centrally linked into your Gmail account.

    Of all the above possible scenarios, only scenario 4 smells trouble for the Intel empire. You don’t need powerful processors to run a dumb terminal device………… most of the brain is supplied by google.

    Given Intel has the first mover advantage, its chips have a better than fair-share advantage to dominate the first three scenarios.

    The above scenarios summarize what will happen to the home PC market. However, what fraction of Intel’s PCs are sold to the home market versus the business market? Even if Intel loses its dominance in the home PC market, it has a major presence in the business market and the server market.

    There has to be radical shifts in technology and corporate thinking to move away from windows based workstations into something different. With Dell and other PC makers churning out low cost Wintel PCs, it is hard to think of a substitute with similar computing power.

    So you wonder about the pessimism behind Intel…….. is it priced for the temporary hiccups in processor upgrade releases in its race with AMD? Mostly that and also the halo effect from Microsoft…….. its much awaited but ever delayed new version of Windows.

    However, wall street is waking up to the strong fundamentals of the company with a series of upgrades in the past two months. The opinions state that the fundamentals have some what improved but the selling is somewhat overdone.

    Disclaimer: The above is not an endorsement of Intel or a recommendation to buy INTC.