<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-59J25K" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">
Insights on Business Management Software and ERP
SYSPRO Smarter ERP Blog

Subscribe to Email Updates

Using Forecasting to Streamline Sales and Operations

Posted on 13 November 2014 by Steve Bassaw

Find me on:

Forecasting_to_Streamline_Sales_and_OperationsThe disconnect between Sales and Operations in manufacturing companies is so common that it is almost a cliché. I’ve experienced it myself and I’ve met plenty of people at other companies going through the same struggles.  Maybe you see some of this in your own company.

Sales perceives Operations as incompetent, unable to deliver the right products at the right time. Operations perceives Sales as unpredictable, overly demanding, and unreasonable. And customers are unhappy because they're being shorted.

I lived through this when I worked in Operations at a food manufacturing company. Life was reactive and chaotic. Our production schedules were constantly and unexpectedly changing, which was really inefficient. Purchasing was always expediting purchase orders. Paradoxically the plant and warehouse were jam packed with inventory and yet we were still shorting customers - because it was the wrong inventory.

Eventually we evolved to a better situation where life became more predictable and happier for everyone.  Sales and Operations actually got along with each other and worked together to fulfill customer orders.  Imagine that!

How did we do it?

One of the tools we used in SYSPRO to bring Sales and Operations together in a way that made everyone happy, including Finance, was Inventory Forecasting.  The system can generate forecasts based on past sales, and Sales can easily review and edit the system-generated forecasts if desired.

These forecasts give more predictability to Operations departments such as Production and Purchasing.  Thus they can produce the products that customers require more efficiently and less reactively.

How does a forecast help Operations? 

SYSPRO passes the forecasts through Requirements Planning which crunches lots of supply and demand data and recommends what Production and Purchasing should make and buy.

By using SYSPRO's inventory Forecasting and related modules better, it eventually dawned on Operations people that if we produce to the forecast, Sales (and customers) will be happier. This resulted in fewer last-minute production schedule changes and enabled us to do longer production runs and work more efficiently.

It also dawned on Sales that if, with SYSPRO's help, they provide a half decent forecast, then Operations can fulfill more customer orders. With fewer orders shorted, the Sales team were cashing bigger commission checks.

Finance was happy too because we carried less inventory and did less expediting.

One day, a senior Sales manager was in my office and gazed through the window into the plant, where the workstations were running very smoothly - predictably, and almost boringly.  In a nostalgic voice he said "I remember the exciting old days when we were always fighting fires and I would go into the plant and give orders to change the production schedule like a General on a battlefield!  Sometimes I almost miss those days."

I laughed and said, "I don't!"

 

Learn how to apply inventory optimization to your business

 

Topics: ERP for Manufacturing


Steve Bassaw

Steve Bassaw has been with SYSPRO for over 17 years, starting as a Support Analyst where he learned the SYSPRO product in depth. Before joining SYSPRO, Steve was a SYSPRO software user at a manufacturing company in the role of production planner and materials manager. To paraphrase a well-known TV commercial, Steve says “he liked the software so much he joined the company."

One of Steve’s core talents is the ability to translate software jargon and concepts into layman’s terms. This makes Steve a natural at training SYSPRO partners and customers on fitting SYSPRO manufacturing modules to their business processes.

Steve has been a member of APICS for 15 years - APICS is the global leader and premier source of knowledge in supply chain, operations management, production, inventory, materials management, purchasing, and logistics. He has also achieved the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designation.

Steve also works closely with one of Canada’s leading technology schools, BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology). Steve helped develop curriculum to train students on ERP/manufacturing concepts for the Operations Management program. Steve is also Chair of the Advisory Committee for BCIT’s Business/IT program, contributing his knowledge on how Information Technology is actually used to support real world business requirements

 

Subscribe to Email Updates