Consumers may be stressing about the Christmas rush this year, but it’s nothing compared to the Supply Chain team putting in the long hours to make sure your Christmas runs smoothly. Jumps in demand, stock running out and multiple promotions are some of the few challenges every Supply Chain Professional faces each year… Forget St Nick, can someone light a candle for these guys please?
No one likes to be a Scrooge, but unfortunately it is at this time of year that business critical issues choose to become glaringly obvious. First off, Christmas is never on the same day each year, so from the outset we are faced with the Ghost of Christmas Past; shifting patterns in historical data, in both days and trends. Indeed, we may have to take a daily pattern from as far back as eleven years owing to the leap year effect, but even then this data might be rendered irrelevant.
However, even armed with this data, the Ghost of Christmas Present looms and a host of other issues arise. If you are forecasting in monthly buckets, the distribution of demand throughout the month can be unclear. You might find that all your stock sells out in the first two weeks and vital customer service levels plummet. You have to manage skewed daily seasonality on shorter and longer days, depots being shut and rapid stock builds and depletion, all with constrained production capacity. Indeed, too much or too little stock and something has to give way, whether it be waste or customer service levels. Get the mix or location wrong and it could be both.
As that big day arrives, you may take a sigh of relief, but lurking in the corner of your mind, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come reminds you that it will all return next year. But don’t don’t despair, it is Christmas after all and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Throughout and leading up to this festive season, FuturMaster can help your business run smoother by not only forecasting in weekly and daily buckets, but also by integrating retailer demand data into your demand plan. This gives you the ability to view the distribution of demand and consequently produce the correct amount of stock, thus boosting consumer service levels and reducing waste. Forecasting for lighter and heavier trading days is also a great feature, allowing you to simply and easily adjust hundreds of forecasts to reflect this small but significant change.
Unfortunately, unlike Ebenezer, we can’t promise you’ll wake up and it’ll all be a dream, but we can promise that with our help, next year’s Christmas supply chain can be even more effective and profitable. Why not discover more in our Arla Foods Christmas Case Study?