Dupré Logistics


Demand Planning

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

When it comes to supply chain logistics, you rely on your team at every phase of your operations. It’s essential that you work through the hiring process meticulously, and that you continue employee development through training and support.

Whether you’re in retail, distribution or manufacturing, proper demand planning is critical to the smooth functioning of your organization. Therefore, you can face significant challenges when you need to hire a proficient and qualified demand planner to oversee your supply chain. You should prioritize certain factors in order to focus on competent potential candidates during the interview process.

Make sure they can crunch the numbers

Probably the easiest factor to vet is to ensure that your demand planners know how to analyze the important financials, so education and experience in applied economics or other mathematics field is necessary. A successful candidate will have a strong math and statistical background, especially with projects that entail complex analysis and financial forecasting.

Strong leaders appreciate the importance of a team

While a math guru has a lot to offer in the way of supply chain logistics, your ideal candidate should recognize the value of team effort. As such, you need a demand planner that has robust leadership skills and the confidence to lead as a collaborative effort with the group. Many times, this means taking the numbers they’ve crunched and translating them into language that the rest of the organization can understand. The right candidate will have to bear the brunt of competing interests within the company and deal with conflicting forces. A qualified demand planner must be able to influence the stakeholders in different sectors, which requires assertiveness and a cool head.

It’s just as important to be customer-centric

In addition to a math background and team-focused drive, the right demand planner for your supply chain logistics must also balance the needs of your customers. At times, they need to possess the ability to step back from the numbers and see a situation from a perspective that’s outside the company in order to identify improved efficiencies. This can be a challenge for an individual who sees the absolute nature of numbers, as they might only see black and white. A qualified candidate will appreciate the shades of gray that customers see and respond accordingly.

Encourage engagement with sales and operations planning

Having a better understanding of the other components of supply chain logistics can help a demand planner become more well rounded. Therefore, it’s wise to get them involved with planning from the sales and operations side. A great demand planner has the skills to function on the same level as all links in the supply chain, and knows how to facilitate communication among the various groups. Just as with being a team leader and focusing on the customer, the ideal candidate will be wearing several different hats to assist with group collaboration.

Depending on the needs of your company, there may be more specifics that define your perfect demand planner. Basic requirements include a strong statistics background, broad analytics skills and sufficient communication abilities to ensure that other team members will respect his or her input. In addition, the right planner for your business should possess an appreciation of the interconnection of the manufacturing, logistics, sales and finance departments within your organization.

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