Demand Planning & Sensing Software

ToolsGroup Demand Planning & Sensing software automates the creation of demand plans using machine learning algorithms. By incorporating detailed short-term demand signals and demand collaboration, it reduces forecast error and optimally deploys inventory. The result: improved service levels and inventory efficiencies, even for “long tail” items. You don’t just get a more accurate forecast, you get a winning plan that’s connected to business outcomes.
Demand Forecasting

ToolsGroup’s Demand Forecasting technology means planners don’t need to add data science and algorithmic knowledge to their long list of required skills. Behind its elegant simplicity is a powerful engine, capable of optimizing each item or your whole SKU portfolio against target service levels. Instead of planners having to pick the best algorithm for a given situation, we provide one adaptive algorithm. It automatically generates a reliable baseline forecast for every SKU, by location – from popular items that fly off the shelf each month to unpredictable slow-movers – even in complex multi-echelon supply chains.

Planners are freed from the dull mechanics of baseline forecasting and spend more time adding business insight to improve outcomes.

Demand Sensing

Demand Sensing closes the gap between your plan and what’s actually happening in your supply chain. It automatically detects changes and patterns in downstream activities by analyzing replenishment orders, POS data and EDI transactions so you continue to hit target service levels in the face of demand volatility.

Our Machine Learning Engine (MLE) further refines your baseline plan by analyzing and predicting the effect of short-term, external factors like weather and macro-economic trends. It can also incorporate data from Demand Shaping activities such as Promotions Planning and New Product Introductions.

Demand Sensing is proven to help our customers cut short-term forecast error by up to 50% and raise inventory performance by up to 20% while hitting or exceeding target service levels.

Demand Collaboration

Too often demand collaboration means simply sharing the responsibility for a bad forecast. Not here.
ToolsGroup’s Demand Collaboration Hub (DCH) is a web-based consensus forecasting platform that brings together demand and forecast data from multiple sources. In our user-friendly environment, even inexperienced or casual users inside or outside your organization can easily collaborate and participate in the forecast planning process. It supports both internal sources (such as marketing and sales) and external sources (such as partners, retailers, distributors or suppliers).

After Demand Forecasting provides the baseline forecast, multiple stakeholders add their market knowledge to refine it and reach consensus. By evaluating and comparing multiple forecast inputs, our approach mitigates forecast bias and dramatically improves forecast accuracy.

The result: a single consensus forecast that can support your S&OP (Sales and Operations Planning) or other planning processes.

New Product Introductions

Fast-moving industries from fashion to consumer technology are continually introducing new products with short and hard-to-predict lifecycles. Thriving in these scenarios depends upon being able to strike the right balance between introducing new products to attract and retain consumers while still managing inventory costs. Pressured by sales and marketing, most companies err on the side of introducing a wide range of products and holding excessive safety stocks to avoid disappointing customers. This approach, however, can lead to customer service problems.

Advanced analytics capabilities for new product introduction in ToolsGroup’s Demand Planning solution gives planning professionals added intelligence to improve their demand forecasts for new products. Algorithms weigh attributes (such as color, style and size) of sales of similar items to generate a baseline forecast. Within weeks the solution learns from the actual sales data to sharpen the forecast during the launch period.

The result: successful new product launches without excess inventory and markdowns.

Promotion & Media Forecasting

Promotions, advertising and other forms of “demand shaping” can be enormously expensive, costing more than 10-15% of gross revenues at fast moving consumer goods companies. Yet determining their actual impact or “lift” remains a daunting supply chain problem. Solving this problem is critical not only to baseline and lift forecasting but is also the key functionality required for an effective and integrated planning process between marketing, sales, account management, supply chain and finance.

To solve this problem, ToolsGroup’s Promotions Forecasting harnesses Machine Learning technology based on artificial intelligence techniques. It generates baseline and promotional lifts that you can trust to yield reliable operational planning ROIs and smooth supply chain operations. Using techniques taken from the world of unstructured “Big Data”, it cuts out the noise and can recognize the shared characteristics of promotional and media events, identifying their effect on baseline sales.

The result creates major improvements in demand visibility, forecast accuracy and customer service levels.