Last summer, I wrote about how Practical Software Solutions formed a partnership with DemandLink to integrate its retail forecasting and replenishment tool with Grower Vertical for Sage ERP.
Even though DemandLink was born out of the horticulture industry, DemandLink’s depth of real-time data works great for any manufacturing or distribution industry that deals with seasonal influences. It’s not difficult to see why:
Let’s say you manufacture knitted wool caps* (you know … beanie, toboggan, tuque, or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods). It’s pretty obvious that there isn’t much call for one between May and September in most of the continental United States. But what if you want a more nuanced way of forecasting when you should ramp up or down production?
With more than 35,000 data points, tracking everything from weather (via every single NOAA station across the country) to housing starts to unemployment, DemandLink can weave together all this information and give a more concise forecast. Here’s a few scenarios that could help our wool cap manufacturer. (FYI: I’m making these up for illustration, so if you actually use DemandLink and get a different result, please don’t blame my imagination!)
DemandLink could spot a trend over the last few years that the first big cold snap of the year in the upper Midwest has been the third week in September. They could ramp up production and distribution enough to cover heavier sales in Minnesota and Wisconsin than in other parts of the country.
- DemandLink could spot that Black Friday falls on both a payday and a forecasted cold snap in the Upstate of South Carolina. This could mean a huge sales push in Spartanburg, S.C., that weekend.
- DemandLink could spot a trend that snow has started falling a few weeks later than average in Denver over the past few years, so holding off distribution to ski resorts for a few weeks may be in order.
This is why DemandLink has also found a home in traditional manufacturing industries that also rely on seasonal sales, such as fashion and consumer electronics. It’s ironic, because it’s the opposite about how we started working with the horticulture industry. DemandLink had a program that was born out of horticulture and can also be used in traditional manufacturing, whereas we dealt with ERP systems for traditional manufacturers and helped bridge the gap for the horticulture industry with Grower Vertical.
So take a look at the video and see how DemandLink works. If you’re interested in learning more, please feel free to call Greg Lafferty at 704-721-6800 x3019.
* I just found out today is National Hat Day, thanks to my friends over at Greenshades Software. What a coincidence!
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