Demand Planner Job Description
Demand planners typically work in retail or manufacturing environments and utilize forecasts and experience to estimate demand for items in a supply chain. To do so, they look at variables such as where a company’s products are in their life cycle, demand patterns, and marketplace volatility. Demand planners’ forecasts can help companies in various ways, like setting more accurate inventory goals to avoid over-forecasting product lines and prevent excess inventory. Demand planners generally work full-time hours and may report to a procurement, product, or sales manager, depending on the employer.
Demand Planner Duties and Responsibilities
Although the specific duties and responsibilities of a demand planner are determined by where they work, some common tasks exist. Based on our review of job listings, the core tasks associated with the job are:
Demand planners use statistical modeling software to analyze and validate gathered data. These statistics can be used when reporting data to sales and marketing departments or company officers.
Demand planners must always have the mindset that they can improve upon their initial forecast to better meet customer needs. The ability to review statistical forecast models and apply error analysis techniques to improve forecasting is key, as is reviewing customer sales data.
Coordinate with Sales and Marketing Staff
Demand planners meet with key account managers to discuss planned product promotions in order to produce more accurate forecasts.
Report to Key Officials Within the Company
Demand planners educate key players in a company about what appropriate product forecasts should be as well as how to track and analyze forecasts for best results.
Develop and Maintain Various Relationships
Demand planners must successfully foster and maintain solid relationships with buyers, vendors, brokers, purchasing managers, and internal sales personnel.
Demand Planner Skills and Qualifications
Demand planners are organized and methodical. Employers also desire applicants with the following skill set:
- Supply chain knowledge – a demand planner with an in-depth understanding of the supply chain and how it functions will not only be able to perform the job better, they’ll also serve as better mentors to others in the organization
- Familiarity with statistics – a solid understanding of applied math and the statistical software programs used to create forecasts is vital
- Analytical thinking – an ability to analyze and use critical thinking skills on a regular basis is key
- Creative thinking – the ability to think outside of the box and devise creative solutions to various problems can be helpful
- Presentation skills – even though much of a demand planner’s work focuses on forecasting, analyzing, and tracking, they must also explain to others why they recommend certain moves
- Interpersonal skills – although demand planners complete a significant amount of their work independently, they must also interact with others who affect the forecasting process
Tools of the Trade
To assist with their goals of planning, forecasting, analyzing, and tracking, demand planners use the following tools:
- Microsoft Office
- Systems applications and products software (SAP)
- Statistical analysis system software (SAS)
- Advanced planner and optimizer software (APO)
Demand Planner Education and Training
Employers require demand planners to have at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration, computer science, engineering, or a related field. Relevant work experience in inventory or production planning is helpful, as is marketing or economic knowledge.
Demand Planner Salary and Outlook
PayScale lists the national median annual salary for demand planners as $63,438, with a median hourly wage of $30.49. A demand planner in the 10th percentile earns approximately $44,927 a year (or $21.60 an hour), while the highest paid in the field make $92,157 annually ($44.30 hourly).
To decide whether a career as a demand planner is the right move for you, it can help to look at some industry resources. Here are some of the best for demand planners:
Institute of Business Forecast and Planning – IBF is a membership organization offering advisory services, e-learning, certifications, conferences, benchmarking research, and more
Demand Forecasting for Managers – written by Enno Siemsen, this book is good for MBA students and forecasting managers alike, with short, self-contained chapters that can be read with ease
Demand-Driven Forecasting: A Structured Approach to Forecasting – author Charles W. Chase, an expert in demand forecasting and planning, not only covers statistical methods, but also gives practical advice on how to apply them, sometimes using his own personal experiences
Next Generation Demand Management: People, Process, Analytics, and Technology – also written by Charles W. Chase, this guide provides the building blocks and rationale for advancing the practice of demand management
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