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People, Process and Technology: The Keys to Demand Planning and Forecasting

People, Process and Technology: The Keys to Demand Planning and Forecasting

In late July, AspenTech hosted an excellent webinar presented by our customer J.M. Huber Corporation and their supply chain process improvement and demand planning manager, Deborah Morris. The topic, “Transform Your Demand Planning and Forecasting Process Using Aspen Collaborative Demand Manager Software,” was a rare and privileged view into the ways a company utilizes AspenTech’s sales and operations planning (S&OP) tools to drive improvements in their processes.

The feedback we received from customers who viewed the webinar was universally positive, with many finding it to be approachable, concise and impactful. One customer informed us that they gathered as a team to view the webinar and followed it with a long discussion on their experiences in forecasting, forecast accuracy and demand management, as well as their key learnings and takeaways. These types of illuminating discussions are exactly what we here at AspenTech strive to cultivate!

The webinar also had me thinking back to my recent experiences in forecasting, and what the forecasting and demand management process means to organizations. Early in the webinar, Deborah introduced key themes that really resonated with my experiences — that people, process and technology together are the key to a best-in-class forecasting and demand management process. 

Let’s look closer at these themes and why a holistic view has been so important to J.M. Huber’s success.

  • People. First, an organization needs an appetite for change. This “buy-in” from key stakeholders and leadership is crucial for forecasting, demand management and S&OP improvement. Second, the right people (talent) need to be in place to execute the process and leverage the technology. 

  • Process. Once you have buy-in and the appropriate talent in place, it is important to have a process that works for your organization. Deborah did a great job of laying out J.M Huber’s “efficient, effective and sustainable process” — which builds on people and technology without over-complicating or reinventing the wheel. Many organizations are in a nascent stage of forecasting, in that they have a process but no talent, buy-in or technology to execute it.

  • Technology. The right technology not only leverages an organization’s talent and processes, but it also augments them. In the words of Deborah Morris, “You have to have a tool that complements the business process.”

Technology can be an incredible advantage, but as I learned early in my career, there is no “silver bullet” in forecasting. Only with the proper people and processes in place can the technology have the impact that the business envisions when selecting an advanced forecasting and demand management solution like Aspen Collaborative Demand Manager™.

These are just a few of my thoughts on the J.M. Huber webinar, which you can view on demand. The webinar lasts for an hour, with about 15 minutes of questions and answers. There’s a lot of great information in there — give it a look!

I would be interested in your thoughts and comments about the webinar, so please leave your feedback on this blog post. If you would like more information about how AspenTech can help you achieve your organizational goals, please explore our website or email supplychain@aspentech.com.

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  • one year ago

    great post