Forecasting and Planning for a Better 2022

by Jackie Biallas

With all the changes of the last 2 years, now is the time to review and evaluate your current position and take steps to adjust future plans that will set you up for a successful 2022. Looking forward, there is still time to make significant improvement to your 2022 plans with a forecasting and demand planning process to ensure company goals are met!

You have a lot to consider-your demand has been affected-not only velocity but products, your supply chain has been disrupted, your lead times have likely expanded, your transportation and labor positions have been upset-among the many changes and challenges that you might have experienced this year.  While inventory is often the largest investment of a company, ensuring that it is optimized for best performance is most important and still possible. And a great forecasting system can help you do just that.

A forecasting and planning process will bring all your vital data together, give you the vision to focus on emerging trends, opportunities and liabilities, reveal the impact of the various challenges you must work around and then provide insights for a roadmap to achieve your desired goals.  In addition, a forecasting system provides many proven benefits for businesses: informed financial planning, minimized inventory costs, increased ability to forecast and negotiate with vendors, the ability to strategize sales plans, optimized cash flow and satisfied customers.  In fact, almost every department of the company benefits from a great planning and forecasting process.  Yet, many businesses do not have one.

Benefits of a Planning and Forecasting Process:

  • Provides a Roadmap for Financial Planning – Forecasts define the expected sales goals, inventory levels and profitability of a business. When trends deviate from the roadmap, actions can be taken to get back on track to achieving company goals.  Forecasts help businesses anticipate change, reduce uncertainty and identify the best ways to achieve their goals.
  • Fulfills Customer Needs on Time in a Cost-Effective Manner – The primary objective of a forecasting process is to ensure that consumer demand is satisfied as efficiently as possible. With the shifts in consumer behaviors of 2020-2021, cost-effective and timely fulfillment was certainly a challenge. Having demand trends at your fingertips helps you anticipate potential future demand.
  • Highlights Growth Opportunities and their Potential – An up-trending item or category is recognized very quickly. Demand can be re-projected and profitability maximized.
  • Lowers Liabilities and Markdowns – With a forecasting process, items that are not selling up to their original forecast can be addressed early. Taking action early ensures that the most profit possible can be generated.
  • Increases Turn and Cash Flow – Inventory needs are mapped out with a forecasting process. Businesses are able to save money because they can project the inventory they will need and when they will need it, thus not having to hold excess inventory.  This gives businesses better cash flow, enabling them to invest in the most successful items.
  • Encourages Collaboration between All Departments – The forecasting process requires all departments work together. With more employees beginning to and continuing to work from home, effective collaboration proves more challenging yet still as important. Production, Distribution, Sales and Marketing, and Finance must all provide input into the Planning and Forecasting Process.  Likewise, all departments will receive benefits by the information forecasts provide.
  • Guides Scheduling of the Rest of the Company – Forecasts enable businesses to anticipate staffing and production needs, throughout the year and in accordance with seasonality.
  • Provides Insights for New Product Development and Planning – Forecasts enable businesses to see changes in consumer demands and help answer why the marketplace is changing. With well-defined data, a business can determine the whitespace in a market and begin development on new products.
  • Increases Knowledge of Market to Gain Competitive Advantage – Because a well-defined hierarchy brings clarity and well-planned forecasts provide a roadmap, companies can see changes to the marketplace quickly and gain valuable insights, giving them a competitive advantage.

The SAFIO Solutions forecasting software integrates a company’s data into a single comprehensive platform, along with dashboard analytics and visualization, customized to meet our client’s unique needs. The forecasting process has already been defined & is included in the licensed application, resulting in reduced start up time and cost. This efficient process creates the vision and consistent reporting needed to improve forecasting, optimize inventory and make strategic decisions resulting in improved operational performance.

Ready to put 2021 behind you and focus on success in 2022?

For more information on how SAFIO Solutions can help your company plan for a successful 2022, contact the industry experts at SAFIO Solutions and request a demo!