Regular forecasting and planning meetings are one of the cornerstones of any successful relationship between a company and its fulfilment partner, says William Walker
What’s the forecast?
For most businesses forecasting involves a degree of guesswork, but it is nevertheless an essential process – particularly when it comes to managing supply chains.
Quite simply, overestimating demand will result in bloated inventory and raised storage costs but, on the other hand, underestimate the market’s requirement and you run the risk of valued customers not getting the products they want when they want them.
So, regular forecasting and planning meetings are one of the cornerstones of any successful relationship between a retailer and its third party logistics (3PL) fulfilment partner.
As with so many aspects of the 3PL/client relationship, communication is key where all matters relating to forecasting and planning are concerned and it is vital that the 3PL is made aware of anything that is likely to lead to a spike in inbound or outbound orders at the earliest opportunity if optimum service levels and pre-agreed KPIs are to be maintained.
There are plenty of things – some of them seemingly trivial – that the retailer should always strive to flag up to its 3PL partner at regular planning meetings. For example, if a company operates in the B-2-B space, has it picked up any significant contracts recently that are likely to result in an upturn in demand for its products? Has the Distribution Centre changed how product must be prepared and sent to them? Are any marketing campaigns or other promotions planned that will drive B-2-C sales or new products set to be launched that may create extra demand?
Of course, if a retailer is going to be in a position to impart the kind of useful intelligence that its 3PL partner needs, it must first ensure that its own internal lines of communication are flowing openly. It is surprising how many companies – often the biggest firms – create their own supply chain planning problems by failing to communicate between departments or across regional operations.
For example, during last year’s Black Friday peak period one of Walker’s clients experienced an increase in online orders way in excess of what had been anticipated.
It transpired that the company’s global parent had held a ‘flash’ 40 per cent off everything internet promotion – but had failed to mention it to its subsidiaries!
For fresh start-up businesses that have experienced rapid growth, accurate forecasting can, of course, be a challenge, which is why Walker Logistics’ clients benefit from the input and guidance of an experienced personal account manager. They are on-hand every day to lend support where required and offer any relevant advice that they feel may be beneficial or assist the services provided.
The saying goes ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ but for retailers and their logistics partners it might be adjusted to ‘failing to communicate your plan is planning to fail.’
William Walker is sales director of Walker Logistics Ltd.
Nov 13, 2018 Comments Off on HOIST TROLLEYS PROVIDE SAFE LOAD MOVEMENT
Nov 13, 2018 Comments Off on Jungheinrich increases its forecast for revenue and incoming orders in 2018
Nov 03, 2018 Comments Off on IMHX raises the profile of the logistics industry among young people
Sep 29, 2018 Comments Off on UKWA welcomes £8m investment in pre-Brexit customs support
Sep 02, 2018 Comments Off on Goody-two-shoes! UniCarriers forklifts in use at Skechers
Jul 15, 2018 Comments Off on Narrow Aisle achieve 23 unbroken years of ISO9001 accreditation
Oct 29, 2018 Comments Off on Imperial Logistics to operate new Volkswagen Group packaging centreImperial Logistics is to operate a new Volkswagen Group packaging centre in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, following the Group’s decision to despatch parts for Volkswagen, Audi, and Volkswagen...
Sep 16, 2018 Comments Off on Hyster Lift trucks shine with Marble movements
Jul 22, 2018 Comments Off on International companies confirm their place at IMHX 2019
Jun 23, 2018 Comments Off on Material Handling Equipment Market will hit $190bn, with 5.5% growth till 2024
Jun 03, 2018 Comments Off on Applications open for Trailer Innovation 2019
Oct 29, 2018 Comments Off on New ‘MEWP’ operator training course for safe working at heightRTITB has launched an updated Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) training course to ensure operators have the skills and knowledge to work safely and efficiently at height. The...
Aug 25, 2018 Comments Off on M GROUP SERVICES divisions earns rospa recognition
Apr 02, 2018 Comments Off on Just a scratch? FLTA clears up confusion over lift truck fair wear & tear
Feb 11, 2018 Comments Off on Lift truck driver awareness systems have changed
Nov 05, 2017 Comments Off on Electric Skyline opens new Showroom