THOUGHTS

A Closer Look at Demand Management and Its Core Components

Apr 8, 2019

What is demand management?

Demand management, also known as consumption management or strategic spend management, involves controlling and tracking the requirements of different business units and other internal purchasing operations. Engaging in demand management practices helps organizations to avoid gaps in supply and demand and also promote better supplier relationships. Demand management techniques also play a major role in addressing external spending factors, arranging purchase orders, and eradicating waste.

Core components of demand management

A demand management process can involve a wide range of disciplines depending on the unique processes of each organization. However, on a broader level, a demand management plan generally encompasses these core components:

Forecasting

There is more to forecasting than merely loading data into a spreadsheet, forming a basic view of projected sales based on that data, and then adjusting the business plan accordingly. Including multiple scenarios in the forecasting process prepares the company for virtually any unexpected twist or turn.

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Supply planning

Irrespective of the industry, the marketplace is highly dynamic. Furthermore, there may be constant changes in the supplier landscape, wherein new suppliers may spring up in the market or an existing supplier may go out of business. But if companies are not prepared to meet these changes and only react when they occur, chances are that they may get left behind among the other players in the market. By maintaining deep visibility into the capabilities and business health of all the suppliers, organizations can be positioned for continued success irrespective of what happens in the global business climate.

Demand analysis

Basing the demand decisions only based on the sales data may be a huge mistake for companies. Most ERP systems record sales based on when a product has been shipped and not based on when it was first ordered. Only by keeping an accurate view of order history can they paint a realistic picture of the company’s demand—and then strategize on ways to meet that demand year after year.

Sales and operations planning

The idea that the supply chain organization can operate in a silo, free from the input of executives is outdated. Over the past two decades, organizations that make and sell products have embraced sales and operations to involve a wider range of stakeholders in every supply chain decision—and to incorporate supply chain information and needs into every business decision. 

Demand management

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Demand planning vs demand management

Demand planning is the process of forecasting consumer demand for a company’s products or services well into the future. It is usually associated with sales, but it is closely tied to supply planning, which seeks to ensure that a company has enough supplies to meet the market demand. Ideally, a company’s demand-planning process helps maintain supply levels that meet demand or just slightly exceed demand.

Demand management, on the other hand, is similar to demand planning, but demand management looks at consumer demand in the short term. Demand management is the oversight of current consumer demand to ensure that a business does not experience any loss of profits. Demand management is much more capable than demand planning when it comes to taking advantage of business opportunities in response to local events.

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