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In competitive consumer products manufacturing, satisfying customers while keeping costs low is of utmost importance. Producing either too much or not enough of a product can have significant impact on the bottom line and cause wide-ranging effects across all functions of the business from finance through the shop floor.

To minimize these problems, manufacturers must run their organization holistically to ensure that everyone is working in lock-step to minimize costs and take advantage of any existing opportunities. Of course, this ability starts with accurately predicting demand. When this happens, the organization can integrate plans for finance, supply chain, and operations. This is easier said than done — top performing manufacturers have help, by way of technology to manage demand, supply chain, and S&OP.

Aberdeen’s ERP and Business Management survey asked manufacturers to identify their top two pressures. These pressures are particularly relevant for consumer goods manufacturers as they attempt to manage their organizations by effectively balancing demand while maximize profits.

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Not only is unpredictable demand one of top pressures today, but other pressures can be related to consumer goods manufacturers utilizing demand signals in order to manage all aspects of their organization. When it is difficult to predict demand, there is significant risk of either over/under purchasing materials, or over/under producing. Any of these scenarios can lead to increased costs and lost profits.

A consumer goods manufacturer must take a holistic approach to planning in order to maximize their resources. They must work internally to manage sales, finance, product development, manufacturing operations, and the supply chain as well as with external parties such as customers, suppliers, and regulatory bodies. Many struggle with understanding complex data to accurately predict demand and then convert that data into plans that run the rest of the organization effectively.

In order to minimize these challenges, consumer goods manufacturers must rely on technology in order to help them take a holistic approach to sales and operations planning. Leading manufacturers are more likely to have technology integrated with their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that provides functionality that helps to predict demand and resource needs and then convert that information into agile, informed, and accurate plans.

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For example, Leaders are 79% more likely to have technology for demand planning and forecasting. This technology monitors demand signals and helps to automate the actions that should naturally flow from demand forecasts. Ultimately, demand planning should have a waterfall effect across the organization as it attempts to excel in sales and operations planning. This is enabled by holistic planning, which is why Leaders are 35% more likely to have integrated applications that serve as a complete system.

To understand how this type of software environment can enhance a consumer product manufacturers ability to improve supply chain, sales, and operations planning, study the differences in the capabilities that are likely to be implemented in organizations with demand planning software in comparison to organizations without.

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Those with demand planning software are over twice as likely to have real-time collaboration across departments and divisions. Due to their ability to better predict demand, these organizations can share that information across the organization to help dictate how those functions act.

 

For a deeper dive, read the full report.

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