I suffer from a recurring dream. In that dream, I am standing in front of 300 Stock Controllers explaining how an external baseline will work alongside causal forecasting. The results of this will generate a Simple Exponential Smoothing forecast which in turn will produce auto sourced algorithms over your Bayesian plan. “Don’t worry though,” I can hear myself saying. “You will be alerted when this happens!”
We all know what always happens next. The business users are left baffled, confused and disengaged throughout the entire process because the benefits of forecasting were not clear, and were not credible. Most importantly the benefits of forecasting were not understood. You can’t take people with you unless they understand the vision and what it will do for them and their business.
At Morrisons our approach to the introduction of advanced forecasting has been focused on engagement. That is engagement in the process and the people, not just the calculations. Forecasting for us is not a dark art, it is an art of the possible.
We have come to believe that the best ideas are often the simplest. Being able to take something complex and make it appear simple without dumbing it down takes more hard work than one might imagine. It is a process that relies on building trust, credibility and scalable results towards a shared end goal. That end goal being one version of the truth across planning and execution.
Go back to that dream for a minute and imagine you were sitting in the audience. You hear me talking about automatic promotional flagging, which would allow you to improve promotional forecasting by 75%. You then hear me talking about the ability to roll up demand to any level of the business in order to allow better visibility across longer horizons. You also hear me talk about true management by exception, giving you time to plan ahead on events that really matter at that moment. These are all the same things that I described earlier, but this time I focused on demonstrating the business value and on building the capability in the teams that maintain our world class Supply Chain.
I look forward to taking you with me on our journey from ‘Baseline to Frontline’ and sharing best practices across industries at the IBF Conference in Orlando.
Morrisons Supermarkets PLC
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