Just-in-time inventory manufacturing provides huge benefits by reducing overhead, preventing overstocking, and creating a leaner, more efficient business. But this approach relies on accurate demand forecasting to ensure you’re optimizing your manufacturing business.
When demand forecasts are inaccurate, you’re either stuck with too much inventory, or not enough inventory to meet demand. These pitfalls threaten customer relationships and your business as a whole.
Thankfully, marketing technology makes it much easier to uncover and track demand fluctuations. This information makes it easier to adapt and capture opportunities with laser-accurate planning.
A demand forecasting system that reduces the chances of supply chain issues requires the ability to:
- Determine shifting market trends
- Track and utilize historical data, and
- Uncover companies most likely to purchase your goods and services
When your demand forecasting can account for these various factors, it provides a buffer against supply chain challenges by giving you real-time data on the demand for your products.
Track Your Historical Data to Reveal Trends
Many manufacturers face cycles in their business whether it’s due to the seasonality of their products, changing needs for their customers throughout the year, or because of the cycle of contracts.
The unique history of your business can reveal when and where your demand spikes throughout the year. Closely tracking this information makes it easier to forecast which of your products might see an increase in demand.
An ERP system is helpful for collecting and sorting this information, making it easy to see which products see an influx of demand, when it happens, and which customers are driving the increase.
A manufacturing company that can accurately predict where demand will come from and when, can bypass potential supply chain issues with more proactive planning.
Spot Demand Trends Early
One of the most important factors that goes into a successful demand forecasting system is the ability to uncover trends within your target markets as they’re occurring.
Historical trends can be a great starting point for your planning, but they don’t account for future shifts in buyer behavior. This leaves you at risk of being left with too much inventory or utilizing your supply chain incorrectly while your customers are showing a preference for a different product.
An effective way to track your audience’s shifting preferences is by uncovering the topics they are researching the most. Today’s buyers do the vast majority of their research online and account-based intelligence tools can capture data on the topics your target audience is researching.
Success Story: FARO Technologies Increases Account Engagement 5.32x
Monitoring the topics most relevant to your business will reveal how consumer preference ebbs and flows over time — and leads to better demand forecasting. You’ll also be at the forefront of emerging trends and can quickly pivot to new products that meet customer expectations.
With this information at your disposal, you’re able to fine tune your production schedule and inventory management to ensure that you’re in line with what the market is actually demanding.
Find the Buyers Most Likely to Purchase
When you combine data about…
- The topics consumers are researching the most, and
- Historical context about your previous deals
…you also unlock the ability to find the companies (aka accounts) and buyers that are in-market for your products.
The best way to protect your supply chain and optimize its usage is by focusing your efforts only on the accounts and buyers you know are willing and ready to buy your products.
AI-powered platforms combine the signals your buyers are giving off — like the topics they are searching, or content on your website they’re reading — with data about your historical performance to reveal which accounts are actively in-market.
Instead of relying on static models or solely on past performance, your company can use real-time data to inform your forecasting.
With this information factored into your demand forecasting, you can:
- Optimize your sales and marketing tactics
- Focus your production on the products and services that will make the most impact
- Engage with buyers at the right time with the right messaging
- Shift resources to the appropriate products lines at the right time
Without this information, your supply chain is vulnerable because you’re spending more time and resources chasing accounts and buyers who you’re not sure will purchase from you. Suddenly, you’re shipping too much of one product and not enough of another, resulting in costly delays and missed revenue targets.
Modern manufacturers need accurate demand forecasting to ensure they’re providing customers with the products they need at the right time — and optimizing their production to reduce the effects of any supply chain disruptions.
Learn more about how manufacturers are using 6sense to uncover demand