For businesses in process manufacturing, I-Plan totally transforms demand forecasting. It reduces the workload for sales people, while generating forecasts that are accurate enough for the whole business to rely upon.
A smarter start for sales forecasting
When you compare different forecasting methods, computers are great at analyzing historical sales data and creating accurate, seasonally-adjusted forecasts, while humans have a clear edge at recognizing events in the market and acting on inside knowledge.
I-Plan brings together the best of both approaches:
- To start the forecasting process, I-Plan analyzes all your detailed sales data from recent years. It applies specialized algorithms to identify patterns and trends, then creates accurate forecasts for different products and markets.
- Each sales person is given these specific demand figures, so that instead of working out their forecast from scratch, they can focus on adjusting the baseline forecasts using their knowledge of what’s happening in the industry and in key accounts.
Collaborating for consensus
I-Plan gives sales people and sales managers a flexible, easy-to-use interface for collaborating on sales forecasts, no matter where in the world each individual is located. Each can choose to work in their own language; forecasts use the most appropriate currency for each context.
Through a secure browser-based interface, each person can see all the parts of the forecast that apply to them. They can view summaries, apply filters and click to drill down – all the time comparing proposed adjustments against the original figures. Forecasts can be passed between managers and staff for discussion and further adjustments; the system of ‘releasing’ agreed forecasts is flexible enough for managers to start work on the figures even if some people haven’t yet submitted their inputs.
Sales managers and directors can obtain more insights and clear management information through charts, including past sales trends, forecast accuracy and custom views of the figures.
Forecasting products and grades
Unlike generic forecasting products, I-Plan makes forecast adjustments simple and reliable, even when the business is forecasting thousands of different but related products, each manufactured from intermediate products of different grades, weights, etc.
I-Plan understands which end products are created from which intermediate products and can apply a sales manager’s adjustments automatically, up and down the complete production hierarchy.
In numerous production and paper manufacturing companies, through many forecasting cycles, I-Plan has been shown to make forecasting far more accurate than they had been able to achieve with other systems and approaches. As well as giving the business reliable financials to work from, I-Plan is creating forecasts that many production planners now trust sufficiently to use as the basis of more flexible, customer-responsive production schedules.