Demand Visibility/Forecasting Opportunities and Challenges

Identifying the problem is the first step to finding a solution. Learn the opportunities and challenges in Demand Visibility/Forecasting in our industry.

When brought into just about any contract manufacturing or contract packaging Demand Visibility discussion, the topic of Forecasting is frequently and predictably met with skepticism by customers and suppliers alike.

The commonly asked question, “Do you get/work off a forecast?” is habitually greeted with that knowing smile and/or rolling of the eyes. There exists a production planning model, however, in which accurate and timely Demand Visibility not only exists but, through intentional trust and collaboration, is provided by customers to their suppliers.

When our group assembled at F4SS Connect in St. Pete in Spring 2016 to discuss the opportunities and challenges surrounding the topic of Demand Visibility/Forecasting, we discovered there were six key findings that, when put into practice, would prime this ideal model, they include:

  • Reduce the LAG of accurate timely demand
  • Seamless transfer of data
  • Education of people throughout organizations
  • Early release of information
  • Standardization of configurations
  • Supplier integration within manufacturer’s’ supply chain.

Now until such a model of intentional trust and collaboration exist, the group did agree on one key point: our customer’s problems are the supplier’s opportunities! Suppliers must continue to develop systems and process models that are flexible and responsive to customers’ ever-changing needs, finding ways to meet , no matter how good or bad may be.

Lauren Wilson