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Business activities in the globalized market are highly dynamic, and price and innovation pressures require flexible and customer-oriented value chains that are able to respond quickly to increasingly shorter economic cycles. Additionally, the capability of underlying business models and processes must be able to adapt to extreme market volatility. Demand planning has never been more complex. And owing to digitalization, companies have never had so many tools available to them to help with demand planning, such as big data analytics for the mass processing of customer data.

Excellence in Demand Planning

For the BearingPoint “Excellence in Demand Planning” study we surveyed 168 demand planning professionals from companies in several industries across Europe.
The results show that even though participants expect the importance of demand planning to increase significantly, more efforts must be made at their companies to deploy more sophisticated planning methods: not even half (45 percent) of respondents said that their planning process delivers a realistic plan.

Despite the mega trend of digitalization including the use of predictive methods and big data analytics tools for, i.e., the mass processing of customer data for sales planning, Microsoft Excel is still the most commonly used primary planning tool according to the study. Nearly half of respondents said their companies use either Excel or Excel with advanced functionalities through add-ins. Satisfaction with the performance of planning tools is perceived as high (55 percent are satisfied) as well as with the availability of up-to-date historical operational data (72 percent). However, only 42 percent state that their tools meet planning requirements and only 35 percent rate the usability of the tools as good.

Only 29 percent of those surveyed said that their plans are accurate, i.e., that plan and actual figures deviate only to a limited degree. The majority of participants (55 percent) stated that they do not receive demand signals adequately in advance, with only 19 percent saying that they are able to evaluate alternative scenarios. Only 4 percent of participants use statistical calculations with external indices as their first-ranked planning method, which could be a significant reason why only about one-third of respondents are satisfied with the accuracy of their plan.

The detailed study results are available for download.

If you would like to know how your demand planning compares to our industry benchmark you can still take part in our survey. After completing the survey, we will get in touch with you to share the analysis and results.