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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.

  • 01Jan

    As we are about to ring in the New Year, here is a moment to contemplate on what we have seen in 2012 and what looks like in 2013.

    It appears 2013 will be the year to shift major paradigms!

    Since I am not psychic, I am just looking at trends to see if they extend, fold or just just go no where!!

    1. The Big Data Bandwagon will get even bigger!

    Just like outsourcing was the buzzword in 2002, Big data is the current buzzword to attract venture funds, IT investments and even for job seekers to find a higher-paying job! Big Data buzz will get even bigger in 2013!

    2. Integrated Business Planning will take over from S&OP!

    More c-Level managers will start to look for a process that can effectively leverage Big Data above to make decisions based on predictive analytics! Only the thought leadership will happen in 2013. The technology and the software field is wide open with no identifiable players ready to facilitate IBP.

    3. Outsourcing Demand Planning Best practices will become more prevalent

    Companies in SMB will look to outsource their demand planning efforts, not necessarily eliminate demand planners, but the process to achieve consistency and sustainability in demand planning!

    4. We will see much higher visibility of Demand Management!

    The entire process to demand shape, sense, plan and manage demand will achieve higher visibility in Corporate America. People with such skills along with business experience will be most sought after for lucrative positions through out the world!

    5. User-unfriendly technologies will suffer a bigger blow in 2013!

    Software technologies that are not user-centric or user-focused will find themselves losing market share in 2013 with potential casualties including SAP and Apple (yes – Apple Computer has joined that camp in the post-Jobs era)!

    Let us prepare for 2013 and do the right thing and make the right moves!

    All of us at Demand Planning Net wish you a happy and prosperous New Year 2013! Enjoy a fun and safe New Year’s Eve!

    Sincerely,
    Mark Chockalingam
    Demand Planning LLC

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  • 23Mar

    Companies are rushing to upgrade from the APO 4.1 and 5.0 versions to the new SAP SCM 7.0  As the purse strings are loosening up this year, companies are spending more money in ECC and application upgrades.

    What are the big differences between the 4.0/5.0 vs. 7.0?  There are some marginal improvements that the tech shop may admire but anything for the planning community?!

    We also hear that the planners have not been using the Statistical modeling features in APO.  Will upgrading to 7.0 persuade the planners to use the Stat Models more?  Not just more, just even barely?

    IT implementation teams say that Stat models are not a priority given the budget constraints they have.  So more millions before and no stat models.  Now five years and many millions later, we have a shiny new upgrade and again the stat models are not a priority.

    I have been preaching Usability for the past few years.

    Put together fine tools  – But help the users in making the transition to the tool – give them better understanding – Make the new tool more usable!

    Give them the reports they need.  Provide them an exception based workflow!

    APO has good statistical models.  They will help you move the peanut forward but only if these models are better understood and leveraged.

    We just re-launched the marketing campaign for our Usability Consulting – Model tuning and model matching to product profiles are important elements of the Usability training. 

    Once implemented the Usability project will harmonize the use of models across planners from various geographies for the same business/product family.  There will be streamlined work flow.

    We help you answer the following questions:

    1. Am I using a Pareto Approach in my APO planning process?
    2. How can I leverage APO DP to improve our forecast accuracy?
    3. Why does APO mostly give me flat forecasts? How do I fix this?
    4. What are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Sigma and Theta? How do I leverage these parameters?
    5. What is the correct level to model so as to improve the overall accuracy at the SKU level?
    6. What are weighting profiles? How does it affect my final forecast?
    7. How can I control time trend using trend dampening profiles?
    8. Are there products and customers that are better left to APO’s automated modeling strategy?
    9. Which models to choose for what family of SKUs?
    10. What are custom modeling profiles?
    11. How is APO helping us simplify and improve the promotional planning process?
    12. How do I create Multiple Linear Regression Models in APO?
    13. Are we using the system defined error metrics in APO? Why are they different from the classic MAPE calculations?
    14. How do you conduct phase-in/phase-out of products?
    15. When should I not use the Croston’s Model?
    16. Why am I getting 9,000+ alerts every morning?

    Perhaps the stress test of your new implementation or upgrade will be to ask the team if they can answer the above questions.

    Our Model tuning and training project can be launched any time -but it is better to launch it sometime during the middle of the configuration calendar before the go-live.  This way the training to the planners can be combined with the Navigation training.

    The benefits will be substantial:  improved forecasting process, workflow and significant supply chain benefits and cost savings.

    What does it cost you?  Not much – perhaps one-fiftieth of what you paid for the APO DP implementation or some where in that ball park.  We finish everything in ten to twelve calendar weeks.

    The detailed brochure on this Model Tuning and Training service is available for download at http://demandplanning.net/documents/SAP-APO-DP_ModelTuning_v2.pdf.

    Happy Forecasting!

    Mark Chockalingam

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