Here’s the latest in our series of Supply Chain skills infographics detailing in-demand skills for various subdisciplines in the field. We’ve written about skills in demand for Procurement, Logistics, and Supply Chain in general, and now we’re bringing you an infographic about specific skills in the high-impact discipline of Demand Planning.
As we’ve written about recently, Demand Planning is a crucial and difficult (but very well-compensated) function that forecasts demand for a company’s products. Demand Planners look at the factors underlying demand including seasonality, economic trends, competitors’ behaviour, marketing and promotional activity, to align themselves with Supply Planners and forecast how much product a company needs to make to meet demand without having excess inventory.
If you think about the difficulty of large-scale economic prognostication for even a second, it becomes pretty clear why this is an exceedingly difficult task. The world is a complicated place, and demand is influenced by a variety of factors are difficult to model and predict. So a great Demand Planner who can integrate and collaborate with sales and marketing is a huge asset for companies.
Companies often develop Demand Planners internally based on polish and mathematical / economics ability. As this article in Supply Chain Brain puts it, “[Demand Planners] aren’t often born, but are bred within organizations that take a multidisciplinary view of supply chain operations and train their companies accordingly.”
Still, if you want to follow a Demand Planning career path (and you should, because it’s a well-compensated fast-track to Supply Chain leadership), there are some concrete skills that you can develop to fit the profile of a born Demand Planner. It’s a mixture of “hard” analytical skills and “soft” interpersonal and presentation skills; a person who can dive into the data, yet surface to be able to speak about your conclusions compellingly and effectively. A Demand Planner is as much a storyteller as they are a data guru – at least the great ones are. But what are the specific skills that companies are looking for when they’re hiring or promoting people into the Demand Planning function?
Check out the infographic to find out!
Perhaps above all, Demand Planners need to be willing to be held accountable for things that are occasionally outside their control. Even the strongest statistical models and forecasts aren’t always right because the world of business is an extremely complex place, especially when trying to forecast demand. A skilled Demand Planner needs to be able to accept responsibility for a forecast’s inaccuracy even if the underlying model is strong.
As always, it’s worth mentioning that this list isn’t exhaustive. Dig into our archive for more info about skills that companies are looking for, and about how to take your Supply Chain career to the next level.