DLT Demand Planner
The DLT Demand Planner is successful because it allows forecasters to focus on the forecast process. Nearly all off-the-shelf forecasting packages require planners to adapt their process to the software functionality. When changes in the business occur, such packages are difficult to maintain. All companies are unique, and a forecast process that complements a company’s business practices can provide a competitive advantage.

Understand Your Forecast

The DLT Demand Planner includes an intuitive ad hoc interface that allows an analyst to view measures such as actual shipments, actual orders, consumption, CRM data, collaborative planning information, and any other available dataset necessary to formulate decisions in creating a demand plan. In addition, it tracks the current forecast along with any number of important forecast scenarios such as prior forecast, month ago forecast, or even a budget. Accuracy calculations can be customized to those acceptable by the business (absolute pct error, mean pct error, MAPE, etc.). The forecast generation toolkit provides a framework to make top-down or bottoms-up overrides. In addition, users may invoke averaging, growth rates, or custom designed models. Both the ad hoc and forecast generation interfaces utilize user-defined hierarchies along each data dimension such as product, customer, DC, and channel.

Organize Your Data with Robust Hierarchies

Hierarchies are defined by the user, but are not subject to the limitations imposed by traditional forecast packages. Certain branches of a dimension’s hierarchy may be significantly simpler or more complex than other branches. Some equities may drill immediately to an SKU level while others may include intermediate levels such as product category, size, or other characteristics. Likewise, the organization hierarchy may include division, sales organizations, customer, and ship-to as well as several alternative customer groupings. Each dimension can support multiple hierarchies so various users can analyze data organized in a manner meaningful to them. For example, sales may want to view data from a sales team perspective while operations may prefer an ingredient or production resource perspective. But all points in the hierarchy resolve to layers of organization granular enough to support improvements in forecast accuracy at the levels that most benefit the business.

Let Your Data Evolve

Overrides are particularly easy to perform and execute quickly. New forecast overrides are allocated to lower levels or the hierarchies based upon recent order or shipment history, another product’s history or forecast, or another available time series. An override can occur at any product, geographic, or time level. “Freezing” designated forecasts below the override level is allowed. This is particularly useful when there is a requirement to hold a particular customer’s forecast constant while performing higher level overrides that would otherwise impact that customer’s forecast.

Use Tools and Models to Generate a Forecast

The generation of a forecast is not limited to overrides. Models can be utilized at any point in the hierarchy and the result will be allocated down the dataset as described above. Some common models include moving average, extrapolation, exponential smoothing, or Holt-Winters (linear trending with a seasonal fluctuation allowance). Models may be customized within the forecast environment. Also, a feature that provides a user with the opportunity for uploading data is available. Uploaded data can come in at any point in the hierarchies and be allocated accordingly.

Let the Business Drive the D.C. Forecast

Once analysts are comfortable with the customer forecast, business rules dictate how this data is summarized at the D.C. level. For example, most customer ship-to’s will source from a common DC (sometimes based on product type). In some instances, direct plant shipments to customer ship-to’s are planned. In addition, last minute adjustments can occur in DC overrides that complement the customer data to increase (or decrease) the forecast at a particular D.C.

Discuss Your Demand Forecasting Requirements

We are available for discussions to understand your forecasting requirements and to evaluate how our solution might address them. Please contact us to schedule a meeting and a demonstration of the DLT Demand Planner.