About 2 weeks ago we visited a conference in the Netherlands, the annual Supply Chain Day. Listening to the keynote speakers, it was clear that all these people were facing the same types of challenges and were looking for a way forward in a changing (digital) business landscape. A landscape where challenges are to get people working together in a positive environment and where innovations and advancements are embraced.
Turning everyone’s nose in the same direction is, let’s be honest, not an easy task. It was inspiring, seeing these companies do great (digital) projects and moving forward, welcoming the possibilities of the future. One of the things that repeatedly came back was the following: getting the company on a DIGITAL track and getting sales and supply chain professionals in an organization on the same line. It appears, and this has been confirmed by our experience with several multibillion companies, that companies struggle with getting different departments working together and understanding each other’s world in order to deliver joint solutions.
Now, you might think: what is the purpose of sales & supply chain professionals working together, they have different jobs and goals right? Well, experience has taught us, that to accomplish growth, you better put your heads together to create a landscape to grow.
Let’s take demand planning as an example. First of all, to put up a sales forecast, you will need information from sales people about orders that might come in, and get their forecasts for the next couple of months. We see supply chain professionals, taking that into account and comparing that with capacity requirements, inventory, etc. Now, this might not come as a surprise to you but, this often is NOT a success. Sales people are “black boxed” with the forecasting process, and supply chain professionals do not always take their input serious. Doing that process together would make a major difference! And what can supply chain do, to bring more value to sales, to better understand their markets? Currently supply chain professionals highly depend on intrinsic data to make sales forecasts. Why not use advanced predictive analytics to include extrinsic data in the quotation? By using big data like global macro-economic data to improve the forecasting process and accuracy, we have experienced enhanced cooperation and understanding of the different departments. How?
- Supply chain professionals are happy to see their forecast improve. By including extrinsic data, and not only relying on intrinsic data, they can better explain to other departments why for example they should build in more inventory in certain points in time.
- Sales people are happy because they better understand how the market they work in evolves. What is driving the demand, what happens when changes occur in these external indicators? Having that information is crucial to get the sales department more involved in the forecasting process.
- Isn’t market information THE best way to involve marketing as well in this process? By providing marketing with the relevant information they are looking for to make better estimates of the future and have them share their plans with supply chain and sales all together, this must be a recipe that can’t go wrong!
Identifying what is impacting your business internally and externally is an extensive task, where you will need to invest enough resources to do a thorough job. Take advantage of all the expertise that is available in your company and get on board of this digital improvement train. Growth awaits…
Fortune favors the bold, so… what are you waiting for?
Learn more on how we at Solventure LIFe tackle this process with our advanced predictive analytics. Scrawl through millions of external leading indicators that can help you improve your forecasting process and feed the overall business with relevant market information. Which will eventually lead to enhanced internal cooperation within your company.