Demand planning is a long-term strategic approach to minimize inventory costs, anticipate shifting buying patterns, better inform suppliers, and most importantly, meet customer demands at just the right time. It allows the close coordination of manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, and marketing to be driven by customer demand. But this foundational, forward-facing element of supply chain planning requires a very deep understanding of buying patterns and preferences.
APQC has conducted research into the key challenges and core goals and practices in optimizing demand planning. This article describes demand planning challenges, imperatives, and best practices.