The demand forecast is the key driver of food supply chain operations, from field to fork. Forecast accuracy impacts shareholder value, as well as the amount of food that is wasted along the complex journey to the kitchen table. In our conversations with leading retailers and suppliers of produce, seafood, dairy and meat, we heard nearly universal dissatisfaction with existing forecast accuracy, processes, and tools. At the same time, they expressed reluctance to change driven by fear of even greater inaccuracy, complexity, difficulty and/or cost. As a result, manual spreadsheets, historical sales and shipments, multiple manual overrides, and lack of transparency continue to rule the day.
Pushing past this inertia requires objectively assessing your current situation, understanding current and evolving best practices, and developing a plan to move towards, or even leapfrog to, forecasting excellence. It’s an opportunity to create competitive advantage, particularly for those in fresh and perishable foods categories.
Below is an assessment to help you understand where your company is today on the racetrack of demand forecasting efficiency and effectiveness. For each factor, rate yourself as either 1, 2, or 3 based on the description that best describes your current situation.
Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with all the terms in the assessment…you’ll find them defined on the final pages of the assessment for ease.
Calculate your total points and see where you fall using the key below the assessment!