I “enjoyed” a rather turbulent ride on a recent flight into Denver International Airport the other day. From my days as a flight test engineer, I know that modern jets have a forward-looking weather radar to help minimize the type of exciting rides I experienced that afternoon. However, it isn’t always possible to avoid all those pockets of turbulence; which is why it is always a good idea to head the flight attendant’s warning to always have your seatbelt fastened. My E-Ticket ride got me thinking about the value of forward-looking intelligence in removing turbulence in demand forecasting and the role mobile collaboration can play.
I know from personal experience how hard it is to incorporate input from sales into a statistically generated demand plan when all you have to work with is emails, phone calls and spreadsheets. The hours spent verifying the data, entering the overrides and then deciding whether you really want those overrides to affect the resultant forecast that drives purchasing and manufacturing decisions can quickly consume all of your “spare” time. I am not saying there isn’t value in that forward-looking market intelligence; quite the opposite. In such a manual collaboration process, I am just not convinced that an analyst couldn’t spend their time on activities that generate higher value.
As a demand planner and a leader of a demand planning team, I have personally heard many reasons why the sales organization does not want to provide market intelligence. Just a few include:
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