When biomanufacturers and their suppliers discuss future demand for materials, a robust forecast is crucial to provide a structure for a transparent and open conversation between both parties. It is the simplest, least expensive risk mitigation tool they have, and forecasts are often crucial in executed supply agreements
Feedback provided by the Forecast & Demand Planning Workstream indicates there are differing levels of maturity and consistency in forecast and demand planning practices. This is why the team is producing a series of short, best practice guides for generating, using and communicating these critical business tools.
The first of these guides is the Forecast Template, which can be used to define the recommended minimum data required in a forecast and will, ultimately, help improve the maturity of industry-wide forecasting practices.
It has been developed by subject matter experts in forecasting and demand planning from biopharmaceutical manufacturers and suppliers. The template is for anyone who uses or needs a forecast, or who would like help preparing one, and can be easily tailored to fit company-specific needs.
The template has been made as simple as possible to enable clear, unambiguous communication of forecast numbers between stakeholders. It is in a standard spreadsheet format so it can be imported into manufacturing and enterprise resource planning systems.
However, the usefulness of the forecast will depend on the data entered. While the template will help guide users on what to include, it is assumed that they will take sufficient steps to ensure it is accurate.
Its simple format means it can be used when a forecast is created or updated, which is especially useful if a rolling forecast is needed. The team suggests that a forecast covers at least 12 months, with more being added if processes and systems can accommodate longer periods. The template can handle all of this.
The workstream is keen to evolve and improve these tools and welcomes feedback on their structure and use. For more information, please contact the Forecasting & Demand Planning Workstream via [email protected]