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NetSuite Demand Planning – Supply Chain and Inventory Management should not feel like a balancing act

By April 29, 2021No Comments

How is your demand planning process working? If you’re like many companies, your answer is likely: “Not great.” Demand planning is vital for your bottom line efficiency, but it is a process that’s fraught with errors and miscalculations.

Fortunately, NetSuite can help with that.

Unless you’re just starting in the journey to make your business more efficient, you probably already know that NetSuite is the #1 cloud ERP business software solution in the world. It gives companies the ability to make the right decisions, right now, with their data all in one place. It’s got built-in flexibility to scale up, adopt new business models and upgrade seamlessly. It’s also commerce-ready if you need a customer-facing system. And it gives you real-time analytics in the user interface. That data helps businesses make critical decisions, automate business processes and streamline functions.

NetSuite is your powerful ally in the vital process of demand planning. Let’s look deeper into demand planning, how NetSuite can optimize it for your business, and how GBS can help.

Demand Planning and Optimization

It’s all about optimizing your supply chain. Demand planning is a process in which businesses forecast the demand for their products based on data about what’s happened before. You want to make sure you have enough inventory to meet your customers’ needs. But you don’t want a surplus on hand. Demand planning is about finding the delicate balance between enough and too much. It’s like walking a tightrope and it can be affected by many factors that you don’t necessarily control. Supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, changes in the economy, even the weather (in some areas, especially the weather) can all knock you off that tightrope.

How are demand plans typically constructed? The truth is, the process hasn’t been very accurate. That’s where NetSuite comes in.

How NetSuite Supports demand plans

For many businesses, demand planning involves spreadsheets and data from your sales teams, inputted by hand. There are two problems with this approach. The data isn’t accurate, and it isn’t current.

The answer? NetSuite’s Demand Planning feature. It helps businesses accurately forecast demand based on historical data. It helps you optimize your inventory to strike that delicate balance between enough and too much. This will reduce your costs and create productivity improvements, too. According to NetSuite, the feature’s key capabilities include:

  • Leverages historical data to predict future demand.
  • Uses current demand, insights and sales trends in forecasting.
  • Supports future planning by modeling how expected sales and purchase orders will affect inventory in the future.
  • Allows you to select the timeframe of historical data to analyze and account for seasonal changes.

Supply plans

Part of the Demand Planning feature, the whole point, actually, is to allow you to create an accurate supply plan. A supply plan is your schedule for purchasing or manufacturing your products or inventory, based on what your demand plan shows will be your projected need. It incorporates lead times and expected demand, giving you an accurate schedule for your production or purchasing.

How NetSuite supports supply plans

With NetSuite, you’re not left to calculate that on your own. NetSuite will generate work orders and purchase orders based on your demand plan. With the features on the Calculate Supply Plan page, you can maintain an optimal level of inventory and better support items with fluctuating demand.

Demand and supply plans are your roadmaps to efficiency, optimal stock and ultimately, profitability.

Common issues

Demand planning can run into common issues and problems along the way, including:

  • Purchase order are not generated by Supply Plan
  • Work Orders are not generated by Supply Plan
  • Demand is not generated for components of finished goods
  • Supply plan doesn’t account for seasonal changes in demand
  • Buyer not properly using “order items” page

If you’re having any of these issues, GBS can help you customize the program specifically for your needs. The bottom line: NetSuite demand planning gives you flexibility and accuracy in forecasting, allowing you to achieve that delicate balance between enough and too much inventory. It will ultimately make your business more efficient and profitable.

At GBS, we’re dedicated to customizing, installing and implementing NetSuite for our clients. If you’re looking to automate your demand planning, we can help you with that and also provide training to your staff so you can keep on running optimally for the future. Contact us today.