Over the years, Amarr has grown into a national and international leader in the manufacturing and distribution of residential and commercial garage doors. Amarr operates over 70 Distribution Centers in the US, Canada, and Mexico, and also exports to over 40 countries. Amarr’s success has been due in part to its culture and vision to develop people, products, processes and services that outperform the industry.
One key initiative that Amarr has focused on over the past 18-months is the formal development of a Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) team. During the initial assessment of the supply-chain process, Amarr’s VP of Supply Chain and VP of Sales & Marketing hosted a series of meetings with key staff members representing sales, marketing, manufacturing, engineering, purchasing and finance. Once the group understood the overall goals, objectives and benefits of a fully functional S&OP process, both teams – Supply and Demand – set out to improve collaboration and build their models. In this case, like many companies, Amarr’s management chose a conservative approach by utilizing MS Excel to implement the S&OP process.
For Amarr’s Demand Team, the objectives were clear; develop a demand plan framework that encompasses:
1. A Forecasting Tool
2. Analytical Metrics for Multiple Time Frame
3. Measures for Forecasting Accuracy – MAPE
4. A User-Friendly Interface
During the first six months, the demand plan was in a state of constant change. Each month brought improvements not only to the forecast, but also to the analytical tools that help improve the forecast. It was almost like continually cleaning your glasses and gaining more and more perception each time you wipe the lenses. During this stage, feedback from the supply team was critical. After all, the Demand Plan is basically a customized report to service the needs of the supply and finance teams.
Over the past five months, the forecast accuracy on the Demand Plan had improved tremendously. At this very moment, Amarr’s Demand Team is forecasting 90% of the total door products sold each month with a MAPE% of less than 6.5%. However, even with these results, the Demand team continues to strive for further process improvement and consistency.
As Amarr’s Demand Management leader, I will be presenting at the IBF Supply Chain Forecasting & Planning Conference in Scottsdale, AZ in February to further share my experiences and insights that I have gained over the past year. We will talk further about the tools, methodologies and the processes that have been integrated into Amarr’s Demand Planning Processes. We will share:
• How to organize essential data and develop a Demand Plan
• What time frame should be forecasted and measured?
• How to improve forecast accuracy using trend analysis and analytics.
I hope to see you there!
Director of International Sales
Amarr Garage Doors