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Key Features Your Demand & Supply Planning Software Must Have

You know your business needs to invest in demand and supply planning software to streamline planning, remain competitive, and increase profits. The big question is: what features should this software have to support your business goals?

Think of it like buying a car. Just as you wouldn’t purchase a sports car for a family road trip, you must ensure your planning software is tailored to your business needs. Whether you’re looking for a sleek, high-speed model for fast-paced markets or a reliable, all-terrain vehicle for complex supply chains, the right features make all the difference.

In this article, we’ll explore the essential software features that will help you create the perfect system, ensuring the right amount of stock is always available in the right place at the right time.

1The power of demand and supply planning solutions

Limitations of ERPs

You may be wondering: If I already have an ERP, why do I need a demand and supply planning solution as well? Your ERPe will tell you how much inventory you have, where it’s located, what’s inbound, what’s outbound, and what’s being manufactured. But – it doesn’t tell you how much inventory you should have!

ERPs aren’t designed for complex demand and supply optimization and lack predictive insights and advanced notifications of potential challenges. Without early warning signals, you can experience stock-outs or incur surplus inventory.

Planning ahead: Demand and supply planning solutions

Demand and supply planning software can empower you with the correct information to plan ahead for future demand, and quickly adapt to market changes. With predictive analytics and machine learning capabilities, it provides crucial insights into demand trends, supply chain inefficiencies, and areas for cost savings. These benefits improve your bottom line and enhance customer satisfaction by ensuring the right stock is available when needed. Investing in the right software supports a more efficient, responsive, and profitable supply chain.

When we started with Netstock in January 2022, we had $3,8 million in surplus orders. Eleven months later, I reduced that to under $1 million on 19 items. Additionally, our customer fill rate was 89.4%; we currently provide a 95% fill rate. We have been delighted, not only with the capabilities of the product but with the Netstock team as a whole. – Davey Textiles

2Key features to consider in demand and supply planning solutions

The right software features will unlock vast opportunities: reduce excess or stock-outs, happier customers, and more profits!

Here are a few basic features your demand and supply planning software should offer:

Features to enhance supply planning: your checklist

  • Single-view dashboard
    – Full visibility of KPIs with early warning alerts of KPIs needing attention
  • Automatic stock classification
    – Categorize stocked items based on sales volume and velocity
  • Streamline ordering process
    – Automatically generate balanced and optimized orders that anticipate demand and supply changes
  • Dynamic forecasting
    – Generate reliable sales forecasts, factoring in seasonality and trends
  • Optimized safety stock
    – Determine and adjust the appropriate amount of safety stock
  • Monitor supplier performance
    – Dynamically respond to changes in lead times. Automatically adjust safety stock levels in line with supplier reliability
  • Bill of materials (BOMs)
    – Leverage accurate data to manage the production and availability of raw materials efficiently
  • Custom reporting
    – Generate custom reports for monthly, weekly, or daily insights
  • Optimize inventory levels
    – Redistribute stock from one location to where it’s needed most
  • Predict future stock
    – Predict inventory levels 12 months in advance based on your stock data, item forecasts, and inventory policy settings
  • Extend forecasting
    – Forecast 24 months of inventory and plan for extended lead times
  • ERP integration
    – Seamless data integration between the ERP and demand and supply software to enhance functionality such as dynamic safety stock and exception management, optimizing ordering and planning processes within the system
  • 24/6 customer support
    – Daily support and ongoing learning and development assets

Features to enhance demand planning: your checklist

  • Flexible forecasting
    – Create dynamic forecasts by product, group, sales channel, and key customers
  • Collaborative forecasting
    – Gather input from sales, marketing, operations, and finance for seamless collaboration on shared data
  • Capture forecasts in different units of measure
    – Work from a single set of numbers. Dynamically jump between units and financial conversions
  • Monitor forecasting performance
    – Monitor and adjust your forecasting capabilities and processes for continuous improvement
  • Manage promotions or exception events while forecasting
    – Automatically increase your recommended orders in anticipation of a promotion or event
  • Promote integrated business planning
    – Align sales, finance, procurement, and operations by working off a shared sales and operations plan
  • Finite and rough-cut capacity planning
    – Optimize production plans in monthly, weekly, or even daily periods
  • Integration with ERP policies
    – Utilize policies maintained within your ERP system for seamless ordering and planning processes. Daily updates will adjust order recommendations accordingly, providing the most accurate and up-to-date information
  • Custom reporting
    – Create custom reports or use templates available in the software
  • Robust stock classification
    – Powerful classification capabilities with customizable parameters
  • Manage expired inventory
    – Aged inventory lot tracking
  • Scenario planning
    – Create and compare multiple demand-supply scenarios and easily share them with stakeholders
  • Continuous customer support learning materials
    – Quick access to support and learning content

It’s essential to invest in demand and supply planning software that constantly evolves its functionality and features in line with market trends. This ensures that businesses stay market-ready, better prepared to manage disruptions, and capable of improving demand forecasting and inventory management.

With the help of Netstock, I was able to assess the impact of the Red Sea issues on our lead times and quickly made decisions to reroute a container to ensure we met our demand – T2

3Future-proof demand and supply planning

The key to successful demand and supply planning is selecting software with robust, feature-rich capabilities tailored to your specific requirements. With functionalities that support dynamic forecasting, optimized and enhanced inventory management, or integrated business planning, your business remains prepared.

Investing in such software is not just about keeping up with competitors – it’s about turning potential setbacks into opportunities for growth and innovation.

Want to discuss the software features you need for your business?

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