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About Demand Planning LLC

Demand Planning LLC, based in Boston MA, is a consulting boutique comprised of seasoned experts with real-world supply chain experience and subject-matter expertise in demand forecasting, S&OP, Customer planning, and supply chain strategy.

We provide process and solutions consulting, as well as customized training across a variety of industries.

Through our knowledge portal DemandPlanning.Net, we offer a full menu of training programs through in-person and online courses, as well as a variety of informational articles, downloadable calculation templates, and a unique Demand Planning discussion forum.

  • 01Jan

    As we are about to ring in the New Year, here is a moment to contemplate on what we have seen in 2012 and what looks like in 2013.

    It appears 2013 will be the year to shift major paradigms!

    Since I am not psychic, I am just looking at trends to see if they extend, fold or just just go no where!!

    1. The Big Data Bandwagon will get even bigger!

    Just like outsourcing was the buzzword in 2002, Big data is the current buzzword to attract venture funds, IT investments and even for job seekers to find a higher-paying job! Big Data buzz will get even bigger in 2013!

    2. Integrated Business Planning will take over from S&OP!

    More c-Level managers will start to look for a process that can effectively leverage Big Data above to make decisions based on predictive analytics! Only the thought leadership will happen in 2013. The technology and the software field is wide open with no identifiable players ready to facilitate IBP.

    3. Outsourcing Demand Planning Best practices will become more prevalent

    Companies in SMB will look to outsource their demand planning efforts, not necessarily eliminate demand planners, but the process to achieve consistency and sustainability in demand planning!

    4. We will see much higher visibility of Demand Management!

    The entire process to demand shape, sense, plan and manage demand will achieve higher visibility in Corporate America. People with such skills along with business experience will be most sought after for lucrative positions through out the world!

    5. User-unfriendly technologies will suffer a bigger blow in 2013!

    Software technologies that are not user-centric or user-focused will find themselves losing market share in 2013 with potential casualties including SAP and Apple (yes – Apple Computer has joined that camp in the post-Jobs era)!

    Let us prepare for 2013 and do the right thing and make the right moves!

    All of us at Demand Planning Net wish you a happy and prosperous New Year 2013! Enjoy a fun and safe New Year’s Eve!

    Sincerely,
    Mark Chockalingam
    Demand Planning LLC

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  • 23Nov

    This has been a recurring challenge and a potential land mine when it comes to the raw number crunching in demand planning.  Zeroes and Nulls……….

    Is the Null the same as a zero?

    Although excel formatting can code a zero as a dash, can a zero be interpreted as a Null?  If so when and when not?

    Similarly, including some may also be bad for the health of your demand forecast.

    Leading zeroes – Will you include them in developing a statistically modeled forecast.

    How about nulls in the middle of the data? These either show up as nulls, .dots, or some times as zeroes.

    Ok.  Now that I have asked too many questions, I will also propose some answers for you.

    Generally Nulls can never be treated as zeroes.  They are different things.  Nulls mean nothing, the absence of anything.  Nulls mean no data or no observation.  If you average a series with nulls, the nulls count in either the numerator or the denominator.  Zeroes are different.  If you average them, they will have no contribution to the numerator but will count as an observation in the denominator so you will have your average reduced with the presence of zeroes.

    At least in demand forecasting, we can coin the following rules:

    1.  Leading Zeroes can be interpreted as Nulls. 

    At times a product may be slated to launch in a specific month and hence the system may start recording zeroes as data if the launch is delayed.  Leaving them in may result in a poor statistical forecast.

    2.  Nulls in the middle can be interpreted as zeroes.

    Some systems may record nulls if there is no demand activity.  However if the nulls occur in the middle of a time series history, I would recommend they be treated as zeroes.   Most intermittent demand data is characterized by zero sales volume frequently.  If you leave them as nulls, this will inflate your average and generally result in a upwardly biased demand forecast.

    Imagine this scenario:

    90 Null Null 90 Null 90 Null Null 90 Null Null Null 90.

    If you ignore the null, then your demand forecast will be 90 per month if you use the average as the model to forecast. If you interpret the null to be zero, then your average will be 30 units a month.  If the customer has a three month requirement of 90 units and orders only once in every three months, then 30 per unit seems more likely as a forecast.

    3.  Trailing zeroes and Nulls

    Exclude or include?  What do you do with these?

    They look harmless to me if you have a decent exponential smoothing engine. Do you agree?

    We will discuss our approach in detail in our Demand Planning and Sales Forecasting Tutorial workshops scheduled for Feb 2013 in Dallas, TX.  We go into the nuts and bolts of many practical challenges that demand planners face.  This is why our workshop is considered to be the most practical and hands-on when it comes to Training for Demand Forecasters.

    Ignoring these nulls and zeroes can be perilous and lead you down the wrong path.  This may affect both your forecasting and inventory setting.  More dangerous to ignore these if you are calculating safety stock parameters.

    You can see more info on our workshop at http://demandplanning.net/demandplanning_tutorialCA.htm. I am told that we have just a handful of seats left for the early bird quota.

    Have a great holiday!

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