Written by Christopher Anthony, IFS Consultant- Manufacturing & Planning
The power of IFS Demand Planning
IFS Applications has some under used but excellent tools to help businesses. Forecasting in most organisations is critical to managing the demand through the supply chain and in ‘Made to Stock’ manufacturing organisations it is vital to allow the smoothing of demand through production whilst keeping customer demand satisfied.
In this article one of our consultants, Chris Anthony, who specialises in planning, explains how IFS Applications Demand Planning module can deliver real business improvements in this area using a recent project with a customer. The customer is a Made to Stock organisation which manufactures health food products and is based in the UK.
IFS Demand Planning can help to reduce the complexity of forecasting. It allows to you plan accurately using visual graphs, rather than leaving you to get lost in the confusion of statistics and formulas.
Operations before utilising Demand Planning
Operations before utilising demand planning used to result in peak demands at the start of each month, for this particular customer, but then cause little or no demand in the remaining part of the month. The planners then needed to manually adjust the supply orders to spread capacity across the whole month.
Originally the organisation received their sales forecasts from their distributor network. These forecasts were received on a monthly basis and entered into IFS Master Schedule as monthly forecasts.
When Master Schedule forecasts were entered for a new month, the planners would have to manually check each record for any changes from the previous month. Distributors would often send changes to their published forecasts resulting in further work for the planners at the site. They would then be required to manually adjust the IFS Master Schedule. This resulted in their Manufacturing Planning being in-effective and many people within the organisation struggled to trust the forecasts produced.
Bringing tangible business benefits to the company
To assist this company in producing an effective way of creating customer forecasts, we directed the team to start using IFS Demand Planner. The Cedar Bay team developed a data migration routine to update IFS Demand Planning forecasts, based on customer forecasts. Once a customer forecast is uploaded into IFS Demand Planner, the company is able to use standard IFS functions to transfer the IFS Demand Planning forecasts into IFS Master Scheduling. The benefits were:
Providing Flexibility and Agility
Whilst the company upload monthly forecasts to IFS Demand Planner, they can also be transferred to IFS Master Schedule as monthly, weekly or daily forecasts, giving them flexibility and agility.
Reducing Manual Checks
The planning team at the site no longer need to manually check for any changes from the previous month. IFS Demand Planner updates IFS Master Schedule records if there is a net change or a new forecast.
Creating Faster and Smarter Forecasts
The IFS Master Schedule process has provided a faster and smarter forecast management process, resulting in the company now having more time to focus on detailed production planning instead.
How we can help you
This organisation has been able to reap the rewards of utilising IFS Demand Planning effectively. From creating a more agile way of working, reduced manual entry and ultimately leaving them with smarter, more accurate forecasts. We have worked with many organisations to improve their use of IFS Demand Planner. Why not get in touch today and see how you can improve your forecasting?
Written by, Christopher Anthony, IFS Consultant- Manufacturing & Planning
I have spent over 20 years in manufacturing planning with complex supply chains, optimising efficient fulfillment, customer value and organisational responsiveness.
Chris has also hosted a webinar all about IFS Demand Planning to Scheduling, take a look at the recording here.