A demand planner is like a weather forecaster, but instead of predicting snowstorms or sunny days, they use data to project customer demand and demand for each of a company’s products.
One of our clients, a high-growth manufacturing company, is currently seeking someone to fill their demand planner position, and we’re seeing a lot of other supply chain organizations looking to fill similar positions.
Our client is searching for someone with a bachelor’s degree in business, statistics or marketing, and experience with Demand Solutions, Logility or other sales forecasting software tools. The ideal candidates should also have a strong knowledge of sales and operations planning (S&OP) or sales, inventory and operations planning (SIOP) components and process. Candidates should also have experience working with Microsoft Office.
In addition to having those hard skills, our client is also looking for someone strong interpersonal skills both written and verbal, analytical skills, problem-solving skills and project management abilities.
The typical day of a demand planner involves developing demand predictions at several scales and time horizons. They must also examine past sales trends and demand drivers to formulate forecast models and assess forecast outcomes. The demand planner needs to also interact with sales, marketing, and finance to gather information. They should also be collaborating and building consensus with these departments to make sure their information is current and accurate. A demand planner should also establish inventory strategies on items in production, new products, and products being phased out.
Defining Success as a Demand Planner
Companies are in serious need of qualified demand planners, but the position calls for such a wide range of skills – it can be hard to find suitable candidates.
The job calls for solid math and statistical skills, as well as the ability to communicate across an entire organization. The ideal candidate will have a deep knowledge of the needs of production, logistics, marketing, and finance. But, they must also be able to make projections concrete for everyone in an organization, many of whom do not speak the language of demand planning.
With all of the pressures and interests among functions within a business, the most important “soft skill” necessary for a demand planner might be the ability to cope with stress.
A demand planner should also be comfortable outside an organization as they must be able to connect with suppliers and customers, to make sure that all parties are in agreement on what the demand forecast should be.
Finally, the ideal demand planner will have strong leadership abilities. They must be capable of impacting people in a positive way. Functioning on the same level as marketing and sales, a great demand planner leads the S&OP effort. Essentially, that’s a person with great facilitation skills, who understands how to talk and is driven by passion.
At ZDA, we have a wide range of open position available in addition to the demand planner opportunity. If you’re interested in the opportunities we have in store, check them out on our supply chain job board today.