Executive Briefings

Forecasting & Demand Planning: The Bright Spot in the Supply Chain Marketplace

Analyst Insight: No one could miss the continued consolidation of supply chain planning applications in the last few years. In spite of the more traditional player consolidations, new firms and new approaches have emerged that have caught buyers' eyes, from demand creation and merchandising planning to richer analytic engines to help fine-tune forecasting accuracy, as well as on-demand delivery platforms for these solutions.

Demand planning continues to be the bright spot in the supply chain marketplace. In the last few years the applications for understanding markets and the nuances around customer taste and spend; merchandizing and assortment planning; demand creation and access to customers, including marketing and loyalty applications; and working through collaborative multi-tier planning with suppliers are of strong interest and concern to all industry sectors.

Within the volatile markets we had in 2009, we found that getting demand right and finding the right custom and profitable product mix to support the best markets for the firm were crucial. And we expect to see that continue in 2010. In addition, globalization is quite strong with, for example, the Asian consumer markets strong. However, reaching these buyers requires getting the numbers right: different products for different markets.

Emerging global firms have been shy on technology spending in general, but they do represent new market potential for those supply chain application and consulting firms with the ability to develop rapport in these cultures and the ability to manage the sales process.

Our research has shown that demand management-market/demand creation; forecasting; sales and operations planning; and demand collaboration projects - will be primary focus areas for the foreseeable future.

The Outlook

In 2010, we see growth in projects for demand management. Revenues will be earned from both services as well as technology. The average purchase price for technology will be low, but sales will continue for unique modules with about 4-percent growth.  But we also expect applications that make spreadsheets work well to continue to sell, as a low cost alternative to richer algorithmic approaches.

Demand planning continues to be the bright spot in the supply chain marketplace. In the last few years the applications for understanding markets and the nuances around customer taste and spend; merchandizing and assortment planning; demand creation and access to customers, including marketing and loyalty applications; and working through collaborative multi-tier planning with suppliers are of strong interest and concern to all industry sectors.

Within the volatile markets we had in 2009, we found that getting demand right and finding the right custom and profitable product mix to support the best markets for the firm were crucial. And we expect to see that continue in 2010. In addition, globalization is quite strong with, for example, the Asian consumer markets strong. However, reaching these buyers requires getting the numbers right: different products for different markets.

Emerging global firms have been shy on technology spending in general, but they do represent new market potential for those supply chain application and consulting firms with the ability to develop rapport in these cultures and the ability to manage the sales process.

Our research has shown that demand management-market/demand creation; forecasting; sales and operations planning; and demand collaboration projects - will be primary focus areas for the foreseeable future.

The Outlook

In 2010, we see growth in projects for demand management. Revenues will be earned from both services as well as technology. The average purchase price for technology will be low, but sales will continue for unique modules with about 4-percent growth.  But we also expect applications that make spreadsheets work well to continue to sell, as a low cost alternative to richer algorithmic approaches.