Driven by deep retail and CPG industry expertise, Demand Intelligence is Parker Avery’s software-as-a-service demand planning platform powered by the latest in advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. But it seems like every software company in the industry touts this same story.

On a recent “Talk Retail to Me” podcast, Chief Analytics Officer, Sam Iosevich, along with Partner Amanda Astrologo, and Principal Marty Anderson unwrap the many Demand Intelligence advantages over other advanced analytics demand platforms on the market. This week, we give you the key points of their discussion.

The Demand Intelligence Advantage
  • Better Results through Better Analytics
  • Deep Retail and CPG Knowledge
  • Improved Collaboration and Response Times
  • Unconventional External Data Factors
  • Quick Implementation and Outcomes

  • Not A One-Size Fits All Approach

Better Results through Better Analytics

The underlying demand analytics platform that powers Demand Intelligence was developed over the course of two decades and has been used by many clients across multiple functional areas: planning, pricing, fulfillment, etc. On the pricing side, for example, Parker Avery’s demand analytics has helped clients improved operating profit by about 10 points. By providing a more accurate demand signal for their planners, our demand analytics platform has enabled large CPG clients achieve 15-point improvements in forecasting accuracy. Considering that a single point in forecast accuracy can be worth millions in bottom line impact, the results speak for themselves. On the finance side, our demand analytics have provided clients a better overall forecast for AOP (annual operating planning) and strategic planning.

Demand Intelligence is a combination of the best analytics in the industry driven by a team of Ph.Ds. who truly understand the underlying math, statistics, and science, along with deep industry expertise in grocery, retail and CPG. Further, the business process and change management components Parker Avery provides are key for companies to fully leverage the Demand Intelligence platform. With technology’s migration to the cloud, some software providers moved away from offering these transformational services with their products, but in our view, they are critical to take best advantage of the technology.

Deep Retail and CPG Knowledge

Many of Parker Avery’s experts have spent a lot more time in the retail and CPG space than they’ll ever spend in consulting. Another Demand Intelligence advantage is our team’s deep industry expertise that gives us a unique and intimate understanding of those different functional areas.

There is a dynamic shift to move into more collaborative, cross-functional organizations. A company’s maturity and how robust their S&OP or open-to-buy (OTB) processes are is the lynchpin to driving collaboration across the house. Parker Avery knows what those conversations should be to infuse the analytics appropriately. Further, our team helps break down traditional silos and works with our clients to design new, collaborative processes—and the organizational structure—to attain and then improve that agility.

Sam Iosevich, Chief Analytics Officer & Managing Partner

Sam Iosevich
Chief Analytics Officer & Managing Partner

Demand Intelligence’s intuitive user interface was designed to ensure different functions would not only have complete visibility to the data but also the ability to make changes that are appropriate for their business areas. As an example, where sales demand is hitting is different for supply chain vs. store operations—supply chain consumes in terms of cartons, cross dock decisions, and other elements, vs. operations is looking at labor scheduling and store-related impacts. Parker Avery can help guide the organization into how to optimize those consumption decisions.

Timing is also important. It is critical to understand the timing differences for MFP vs. allocations vs. supply chain and to facilitate conversations about when those decisions must be made. Retail and CPG agility is even more important today with a constrained supply chain. These considerations were not as prevalent prior to the pandemic, but now these quick-response collaborative capabilities driven by analytics are a “must have” for any retailer or CPG.

Improved Collaboration and Response Times

Demand Intelligence unites retailers and CPG teams around one demand signal and gives them access to the data the way they need to consume it for their specific function. The way a company’s planning team needs to see a demand signal is very different than how finance, fulfillment, and other teams view and use it. Demand Intelligence provides a single, AI-driven demand signal, where each functional area gets the proper units of measure and time increments they need to make business decisions for their areas. By unifying the signal and giving all functions access to their data in the way they consume it, the response times decreases dramatically.

This reduction in response time means agility. Agility is key: acting on a trend two months afterward is too late. The response time needs to be almost immediate. And it involves all functions of the organization that need to be connected to one signal. Further, each one of these functions pulls different levers that impact the demand signal. As a result, every time one function pulls a lever, the other business areas are aware of the change—and can quickly change course if needed. Without a unified demand signal, this quick response is simply not possible.

Companies are very interested in understanding how they can adapt more quickly to changing trends. They wish to ease burdens on their planning teams in terms of fewer manual tasks and enable more intelligence-driven decisions. The continuation of interest in this space will pick up more steam as we head into and through 2022.

Amanda Astrologo, Partner

Unconventional External Data Factors

External data is quickly becoming a vital factor for accurate demand planning. We partner with firms to get competitor price information and assortments, as do many analytics companies. However, another key Demand Intelligence advantage is our combined infusion of COVID trends, unemployment based on income levels, weather, and other macroeconomic data to continuously improve the forecast accuracy. These external data sources will continue to gain importance as we improve the agility and accuracy of the system and provide our clients the ability to identify and react to trends even faster.

Marty Anderson, Principal

Marty Anderson
Principal

Quick Implementation and Outcomes

We are constantly looking at how we remove the human factor and continue to improve the process in terms of speed, automation, and accuracy. In doing so, we’ve been able to provide our clients initial—and highly accurate—forecasting results in a matter of weeks of deployment. This is done by understanding and applying the appropriate data filters and staging client data upfront very quickly.

Demand Intelligence also uses several science-based algorithms that allows aggregation of the data to the right level in an automated fashion and provides the ability to quickly handle sparse or missing data. These algorithms get to the best forecast accuracy with the least amount of human intervention. With Demand Intelligence, demand planning is primarily exception-based—minimizing one of the key roadblocks in typical analytics implementations.

Not A One-Size Fits All Approach

Even if your company is not ready for a new full-blown demand planning system, Parker Avery has multiple ways that Demand Intelligence can help address your most pressing business issues. We can help evaluate your needs and what you’re comfortable taking on, and then work with you to fit a Demand Intelligence option that works for your company. We can find the right interpretation that solves the challenges you are facing within a suitable budget. We are also confident that any investment in Demand Intelligence will more than pay for itself in terms of real financial results.

If you have any questions about Demand Intelligence or any of Parker Avery’s consulting services, please reach out to us. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss any of your challenges or ideas.

-Sam, Amanda, and Marty

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