January 27, 2014 Outi Aho
”Nobody knows anything.” This is how William Goldman, a successful novelist and screenwriter, begins his memoir Adventures in the Screen Trade. He claims that even with all their expertise, experience and focus group research, no Hollywood hotshot can predict with any confidence whether a movie will be a blockbuster. At best, you can make an educated guess.
The only certainty is uncertainty
Dealing with uncertainty is an occupational hazard that supply chain professionals can relate to. Let’s say your job is to make sure there is always just the right amount of packaging material to keep a fruit brand appropriately boxed. Your situation is maddeningly fluid, bound to change at a moment’s notice according to the vagaries of weather, demand, and life in general.
You know more than you think
With so many variables in constant flux, can you possibly make a demand forecast to ensure board availability? Yes, you can. Unlike the movie moguls, you know something. Quite a lot, in fact: the approximate yearly demand and the foreseeable cyclical fluctuation. This is a good starting point.
Perfect is the enemy of done
The trick to forecasting is to let go of perfectionism. Your predictions don’t have to be 100% accurate – you can keep adjusting the details with your supplier as you go along. The worst option is to let the fear of the unknown paralyze you into inaction. After all, a good forecast equals good price and good availability.
The future is bright for the forecaster
Delivering the right board at the right time requires agility and flexibility from the supplier as well. That is why we have been working hard to develop a comprehensive portfolio of availability services. Trying to see to the future suddenly becomes a lot less daunting when you know there are options for any kind of situation that might arise.
When it comes to forecasting, you need to go with the flow. Trust yourself. Trust your supplier. The future will be bright.
Lean Supply Chain Management