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Demand Planning Consulting - Excess Inventory

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I provide Clear Analytics into your demand planning process. 

I isolate the root cause of inventory planning issues through a detailed review of product-level data.

I then lead your team in building a best-in-class planning cycle that keeps inventory under control in the future. 
My Process >>

I Provide Clarity Into Demand Planning Issues

Are your warehouses overflowing with unsold inventory?
Do you stock the wrong products, resulting in lost sales?

Many businesses store excessive amounts of  inventory, yet are unable to fulfill even routine customer orders. The demand planning process remains a mystery in the organization, and no one can explain why they never seem to have the right inventory in stock. I find the root cause of inventory problems and communicate my recommendations through Clear Views that drive action:

Deep Analytical Approach

There simply aren’t any shortcuts.

To isolate the root cause of inventory planning issues, you need to analyze SKU-level detail.

I am an expert at managing big data, and can Rapidly Summarize data from thousands of distinct SKUs.

  • Order Pattern Analysis. I review sales history for each SKU, in total and for each channel
  • Prior Demand Forecasts. I calculate historical forecast accuracy, and identify key drivers of forecast bias and forecast error.
  • Plan Process Review. I review all inputs from sales and marketing – Are process gaps contributing to forecast error?


Most organizations simply lack the personnel to do this critical analysis. As a result, they Never Understand the true drivers of inventory in their business.

Enterprise-Level Reporting

It’s not about charts. It’s the messaging.

I create Compelling Views that clearly illustrate the root cause of your specific planning issue.

Unlike large consulting practices, I don’t recycle canned charts for each client. Rather, I build reporting views specific to your unique business issues.

  • Expert Reporting. Most finance teams simply lack training to generate effective decision support. You will be astonished at my business intelligence.
  • Fact-Based Conclusions. As an independent consultant, I am completely unbiased. Everything I share is 100% data-driven.

Stop guessing about what is creating your inventory problems. Allow me to provide Unbelievably Clear insights and recommendations.
Schedule a free consultation with me today!

I Help You Deploy Best-in-Class Planning

Sales and Operations Planning Process - Best PracticesUnderstanding the cause of excess inventory is Useful. Preventing problems in the future is Transformational. 

I apply the learnings from my data-driven analysis to help you Re-Imagine your planning cycle and Prevent Excess Inventory in the future. Guided by best practices, I lead your team through the exciting project of re-inventing a true plan cycle. Together, we define a simple plan cycle that ensures you always build the inventory you need, at the right time.
  • Lightweight Process. I avoid complex processes, and prefer to keep the plan cycle clean and simple. 
  • Transparent. Often the organization doesn’t even know how the forecast is created. I ensure everyone is clear on the inputs and outputs of the demand forecast. 
  • Shared Ownership. We define clear roles for sales, marketing, business leaders, and of course the demand planner. Everyone has a part to play. 

How I Compare

Typical planning consultants are expensive

Typical Consultants

  • Complex, lengthy engagements
  • Large and expensive team
  • Intimidating style
  • Templated one-size-fits-all method
  • Upsell you on other services
People First Planning provides demand plan consulting personalized for your business

My Approach

  • Clear insights
  • Small team (it’s just me here)
  • Dignified demeanor
  • Personalized solution tailored for you
  • People-Focused approach
Demand planning software automates forecast, but does not fix people and process issues.

Software Vendors

  • Algorithm based
  • No support for people / processes
  • Technical solutions only

Common Demand Planning Errors and My People-Focused Solutions

Inventory Growth is a Mystery

Building excess inventory due to poor demand planning processWarehouses are Overflowing with unsold inventory. The business disposes of expired inventory every year, yet somehow they are still running out of space to store all the inventory. No one knows why the business keeps generating inventory. The planning process is not well-understood, and everyone blames supply chain for not producing the right products.

fpa solution iconSolution: Clear Analytics and Transparent Planning

I examine product-level detail to understand the origin of the excess inventory. I present Clear Views to explain exactly what is happening, and how to correct it.

Poor Communication With Planning Team

Lack of sharing between sales, demand planning, and supply chainA product manager just got news that a large competitor announced a product recall. As a result, he expects a surge in demand for his own product.

However, this information is not passed to the demand planner, so the supply chain is unable to fulfill the surge in new orders the following quarter.

fpa solution iconSolution: Implement a Formal S&OP Process

A robust Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) process provides a forum in which the sales, finance, marketing, and supply chain functions collaborate to jointly develop the demand and supply plans for the upcoming period.

Lack of Customer Forecasts

sales forecasts from large customers aid in demand planningSales to one distributor represents 25% of the sales for a given product line. Sales to this one account vary widely each month, so the business stocks excess inventory to ensure they can satisfy product demand from this account. 

The distributor has an internal forecast that is highly accurate at predicting future demand. If only they were asked, they would be willing to share with their suppliers. 

demand planning solution iconSolution: Incorporate Customer Forecasts

Your customers know more about their business than you. I identify which customers contribute to your forecast error, and will Design a Simple Procedure to collect meaningful forecast data from your largest customers.

No Statistical Planning Expertise

A plumbing supplier realizes highly volatile sales patterns, and is alternately either stocking excess inventory, or is unable to meet surging customer demand. demand planning consultants use regression analysis to improve

Sales seem to be highly correlated with new housing starts in the region, but the planning team is unsure how to incorporate this into their forecasts.

demand planning solution iconSolution: Coaching on Regression Analysis

I create Intuitive Statistical Models that help your team incorporate such factors as seasonality and industry or economic forecasts into the demand planning process.

Do You Like What You’re Reading?

I help businesses achieve Perfect Clarity in their demand planning cycle. I identify the root cause of planning issues, and provide Concise and Clear recommendations to help you better manage inventory in the future. I’m willing to provide feedback on your particular issue, with no commitment from you.  Schedule time with me today!

My Key Principles

Over my career of managing finance teams, I have learned effective financial planning relies on three key elements:
  • People
  • Sustainable Processes
  • Culture of Savings

Build collaboration with demand plannerPeople

Collaboration

All too often, the demand plan is built in silos. There is no shared ownership between the sales team, marketing, business leaders, and the demand planner.  

I build a robust meeting cadence in which Every Stakeholder Has a Voice in the planning cycle. This cadence is referred to as the Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) process. Every business needs this.

Assist in simplifying demand planning processProcess

Clear Flow of Information

The plan process requires data to be shared among functions. This is an especially challenging task, as process gaps in the planning process generate  80% of forecast error.

I identify areas in which facts are not being shared in the planning cycle, and I adopt Elegant Solutions to incorporate missing information.

Savings from sales and operations planning processCulture

Savings Mindset

Even minor improvements to the planning process can yield enormous savings. However, most organizations simply don’t have a consistent method to track savings.

I estimate the savings potential from only modest increases in forecast accuracy. I even Deploy Simple Scorecards that measure accuracy and quantify savings each month.

What Are the Benefits of a Robust Demand Plan?

Benefit #1: Reduce Inventory

I once worked with a supply chain executive who reminded us often that inventory was evil. It cost to build, store, transport, and dispose. He recognized excess inventory for what it is: A huge drag on company resources. 

He was right. In fact, it costs $20 per year to maintain $100 of inventory, as storage and handling costs are super expensive. It is estimated it costs $2 each time an employee touches inventory, and it costs even more when that inventory is transported between locations. 

"Inventory is Evil; it costs you to make it, it costs you to ship, it costs to store it, and it costs when you dispose of it"

An average of 4% of all production is scrapped due to expired and obsolete inventory. For a business with $100 million in sales and 50% gross margin, inventory waste would represent an annual expense of $2 million. Effective demand planning can nearly eliminate expired and obsolete inventory, resulting in a dramatic improvement in inventory waste. 

Components of Inventory Carrying Cost Infographic
Customer fill rate shown by industry

Benefit #2: Higher Fill Rate

Across industries, the average fill rate is 95%. Said differently, 5% of all orders are delayed due to insufficient on-hand inventory. Many of these orders will get cancelled, as customers will elect to use alternate vendors. 

A robust demand planning approach will yield higher fill rate, resulting in fewer cancelled orders. By increasing fill rate even marginally, a business could potentially increase sales by 3-5%.

A Fun Video to Illustrate the Importance of a Robust Planning Process