ERP for Demand Planning
If you are a manufacturer, no matter the size, location or product, accurate and thorough demand planning should be one of the first objectives you strive to achieve within your organization. Knowing just how much product you need (and where that product needs to go) in the future is invaluable. With that information, you can engage in an efficient lean manufacturing and pull-planning strategy, whereby you create production workflows backwards from necessary demand. This means that your business will only be ordering and paying for exactly the amount of raw materials you need, scheduling production lines and employees when they need to be running, and shipping out product that you know will be bought. This is the art of ERP demand planning, and it is totally possible for any business currently using or looking to implement an ERP system.
With enterprise software and the power of predictive analytics, you can gather and manage the information needed to become a master at ERP demand planning, and harness the functionality of an ERP system to give yourself a peek into future demand and piggyback on that knowledge to new heights of revenue and company growth! Keep on reading to learn more about the fine art of ERP demand planning, and how you can become a wizard at it.
Historical Data = Future Knowledge
One of the greatest assets of a robust ERP system is data collection and storage. Historical data about your clients can be drawn and correlated in totally new and powerful ways. Just think—if you’re able to log client purchasing habits and cross-reference that with product life cycles and seasonal demand changes, you will know when your customers will need more product, where to ship new stock in line with increased demand, and who to approach if a scheduled maintenance for one of your items is coming up. What’s more, your historical data will hold great power when it comes to ERP demand planning, and one of the major ways in which you can extract it is with the help of predictive analytics software, which will take a 360-degree view of past transactions and build that information into an authoritative ERP demand planning tool. Keep reading for more on predictive analytics and ERP.
With the help of your historical data, your ERP system can make use of a predictive analytics module or function that will look back on all your past transactions, clients, shipments and sales and leverage that information to see into your business’ future. By mapping geographic, demographic and seasonal trends over a long period of time, your ERP will be able to project this data into the future and have you ready for whatever demand you might have coming your way.
Your software’s predictive capability will help your business build a thorough and precise ERP demand planning strategy that factors in not only the past, but your present production levels, revenue flow and future growth to forecast what product you will need to produce, how much of it to make, and where to ship it. This means less time and raw material wasted on products that won’t be bought, and less space in your warehouse being taken up by unsold goods. ERP demand planning is a fast-track to helping your facility achieve a totally lean shop floor.
Achieve Lean Manufacturing
One of the most enviable benefits of an accurate demand planning strategy remains the opportunity it provides for businesses to work towards a lean manufacturing facility. Lean manufacturing principles strive to cut down on waste, unnecessary costs and extraneous effort on your shop floor and throughout your entire business. Excess production and inventory can often be one of a company’s largest sources of waste, and ERP demand planning is one of the most effective ways to reduce them. If you know how much to produce every day and which markets to ship to, you know exactly how many manufacturing lines need to be active, how many employees to schedule and how much raw material needs to be ordered. This form of pull-planning will reduce your inventory to zero when combined with the refined predictive analytics of an ERP module.
Less Waste = More of Everything Else
It stands to reason that once you cut back on waste within your business you will increase your revenue flow and free up space and time for your employees, facilities and production lines. This means innovation and mission critical work will take priority, rather than rote work or tasks that would be more efficient and less time consuming if automated. The result: extra money for investment into new ventures or greater efficiency on the shop floor, more employee time to drive growth and change within the business, and a happier workforce as they know that every minute of their time is going directly towards productivity for the company. ERP demand planning will be a boon for your customer service department as well; you will have exactly the right products they are looking for at the right time, meaning happier clients that keep coming back.
Utilizing enterprise software to master the art of ERP demand planning is pretty much a no-brainer, and is totally possible no matter the size of your business or the horizons you are looking to grow the company towards. With the help of your historical data and the power of predictive analytics, businesses can lean down their manufacturing floor and reinvest those savings into generating all new ROI and improvement in the company.
As an Epicor Platinum Partner, Datix understands ERP demand planning tools inside and out. We've transformed countless manufacturing and distribution businesses with our ERP, CRM and eCommerce solutions. We also built Unity, a landmark integration platform that can connect your ERP instance with a variety of systems to power even more robust demand planning strategies. For more on how to take advantage of ERP demand planning within your own business, contact an expert at Datix today!