Demand forecasting is basic to any business plan or budget and even to some investment analysis for your business operation. Without an accurate demand forecast of your product or service it is not possible to plan adequately for future events, moreover, to react them properly. It is therefore important for a company to have the ability to satisfy its customers and effectively manage its resources simultaneously. With this concept of a forecast as a request for any product or service it becomes critical to the proper utilization of resources, capacity planning and control of your demand planning.
Demand, as a rule, should be measured during a “typical” week in each month, for at least 4 months. There are few simple steps to do in order to measure what is and is not successful in your demand forecasting efforts
1. Examine your past sales records
The first simple step to predict your current demand is to go over your past records, which is the most frequently used indicator of current demand. You can take, for example, the last three business quarters to analyze and proportionate it with your future plans.
2. Track trends over time
This step is very popular because it is inexpensive. Following trends is a key for determining success. When you track metrics over time to understand your prospect-to-lead, lead-to-opportunity and opportunity-to-win stages, you can determine not only the quality of leads you attract, but also how well marketing is doing in terms of lead generation.
3. Seasonality of demand
As a smart business owner you need to forecast the costs of producing and selling your products for each period over the forecasting horizon. Consumer interest in purchasing particular products is only during a specific period within the calendar year. Using this knowledge, you can estimate what the market demand for your business will be. The market demand of your business is equal to your potential market share multiplied by the total market demand.
4. Forecasting current demand
This is one of the essential steps not only measure an item’s seasonality and past sales but also current demand. In business the current demand is considered as the extent of market willingness to pay the rulling prices of good s and services. Forecasting current demand salespeople should measure the expected level of company sales based on a current marketing plans and an assumed marketing environment.
5. Forecasting future market demand
Demand forecasting for the future sales operations is the last step and we have two components here to measure: forecasting total demand and forecasting area demand. First forecasting total demand, we can measure area forecast using the same principles as with the current demand. A demand analysis would entail determining current demand and using assumptions for demand build up to predict future demand over the time period of the financial model.
To sum up all business owners would like to know the current as well as the future demand of their sales operations using the data of past sales records, following the trends and analyzing the seasonality of demand.