Teknillinen tiedekunta, 2015
Master's Degree Programme in Industrial Management
This thesis was commissioned by a manufacturing company that operates in a highly seasonal customer demand environment. The task was to develop the demand forecasting and sales planning process. The process generates a sales plan as its output, which works as an important input for the production planning process. As the sales plan is not updated once it is done, the supply chain flexibility is not as good as it could be. The goal was to collect stock balance data from the customers so that the sales plan could be updated during the season and the production plan would also benefit from it. As the current forecasting platform Excel brings a significant amount of manual work to the process, another issue was to find other possible platforms for forecasting. Additionally, as the customers’ motivation for collaboration was feared to be low, a third problem to solve was to ensure information sharing between the company and the customers.
Literature research consisted of three related topics: supply chain integration, demand forecasting, and production and inventory planning. The material was ensured to be good in quality by rating the publishers and publication years. Plenty of sources were found and the positive problem was to have even too many publications available. The empirical research was done by using primary and secondary data from the case company and from the customers. The primary data was collected mainly by informal conversations.
The research succeeded to answer to all of the three research questions. Suggestions were offered for process improvements in short and long term. One of the main findings was that many of the customers had already sent stock balance data but case company representatives had not shared the information internally. The four chosen customers were positively motivated for information sharing and did not expect any incentives for it. Also a quantitative forecasting method was offered. One of the most important reminders was to nurture internal motivation to continue development and build up external trust to get other customers involved in the future as well.
FORECAST, DEMAND, SALES, PLANNING, INTEGRATION