The Demand Planning Function is at the heart of business operations of Binzagr Company. It sits at the core of business linking the sales with the operations/logistics team. It is integral function of the company operations as it is responsible for end-to-end availability of products across the distribution network speared over at strategic warehousing locations to facilitate sales team to execute sales plans in the market and deliver company’s sales objectives.
The core functions can be divided into four broad areas:
• Stocks procurement from principals
• Replenishment of stocks across the distribution network
• Customer Service
• Trade Marketing / Category Operations
The procurement process starts with forecasting based on existing sales trends, current stocks holding, marketing support plan, growth aspirations, stocks cover norms, historical supply variability and other key determinants. It is an extensive process called Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) which is conducted on monthly basis with relevant vendors’ commercial and supply chain teams. Demand Planning owns and leads the process and drives the discussion around forecast accuracy & bias, stocks connectivity on time and future forecast. The output of this process translates into the orders to secure sales as per aligned future forecast. Demand Planning Team procures stocks from various local and foreign sources spread all across the world. Stock procurement also involves alignment on various supply chain KPIs with the vendors, raising formal POs, trade documentation and various other steps. Demand Planners work diligently on daily basis with principal’s supply chain team to track stocks in transit. Moreover, the team operates in close co-ordination with BCO supply department to expedite the shipments cleared from port.
A dedicated team of dispatch planners takes charge of the stocks once it land at Central Warehouse. Based on the channel landscape and profile, SKU wise assortment for each branch is worked out and built in the system. Besides this, branch specific stocks norms, dispatch frequency and other parameters are used as inputs to determine the SKU wise stocks requirement, to ensure the right SKU, right quantity is available at the right location on consistent basis to facilitate team on ground to execute sales orders. The requirement of each order is translated into a Stocks Transfer Order (STO) which is shared with logistics and operations to replenish stocks from Central Warehouse. This is a continuous process and is performed on daily basis. Various state of the art dashboards have been developed for tracking of various performance KPIs.
Besides stocks procurement and distribution in the network, demand planning is responsible for customer service as well. A dedicated team is in place who has direct interface with key customers to measure and improve service level KPIs. Customer Service Team works closely with Sales and dispatch planning team to identify and track open orders and work out the plan to maximize service level. A detailed loss tree is extracted in the system to identify where the bulk of the losses are coming from. The team works out a plan to work on continuous basis to minimize losses.
Demand Planning department is also responsible for category operations / trade marketing. The Team works closely with the principal’s Trade Category team to develop Channel wise trade support plan and execute the same in the market. Once the plans are finalized, the same are updated on various systems and communicated to the sales team for execution. Category Operations Team closely tracks channel wise sales performance from category and brand perspective and brings it at top of minds of sale team and identify gaps and opportunities in terms of category / brand growth and coverage and provide them required building blocks to tap the potential. They also track performance of trade support and budget reconciliation.
The Demand Planning has forward looking approach towards business. The team has identified future potential opportunities and challenges with respect to forecasting, inventory management and replenishment model. The team working on a project to put existing processes and systems on scientific grounds to ensure better speed to action and realize better and cost efficient business performance