Since 2016, BioPhorum has improved forecast and demand planning working practices by helping manufacturers and suppliers achieve a more consistent, confident, and accurate approach that benefits the whole biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry.
Ground-breaking deliverables include a maturity assessment tool (which is increasingly being used by biopharma suppliers and manufacturers to measure the current state of their forecasting and demand planning process against best industry practices) and the FDP Toolkit that brought the workstream’s recent tools and templates together in one place.
This year has seen the next evolution of this work. The team thought it logical that understanding the process at the highest optimal level would bring further comprehension for users. The result is that the workstream has developed three new deliverables that will support the forecast and demand planning process and complement the FDP Toolkit.
- An optimal process
The team reviewed and defined what the highest-level optimal process should be. Then, using a concept board, it broke out the ‘process step’, the ‘who’ (which role), and the ‘how’ (which medium).
This exercise drove great discussions between the suppliers and biomanufacturers on the team and a realization that forecast and demand planning is not just a biomanufacturer exercise but one that is relevant to every supplier (Tier 1, 2+) of the inbound supply chain.
- A RACI responsibility assignment matrix
Once the team had broken down the process, it created an explanation against each step, including the ‘typical roles’ involved. Each company may have different terminology for the roles, so the team developed a RACI (Responsible, Accounted, Consulted, and Informed) matrix and some definitions/explanations of the roles. This is supported by a RACI template that can be used for any process.
- A Storyboard
This highlights examples of everyday situations that may evolve into issues simply because we have internalized how we manage our process. Instead, we need to have a transparent and partnering mindset and be willing to discuss potential risk areas well before they might become a problem. The storyboard uses these examples to highlight how to use the different parts of the Toolkit.
The Forecast and Demand Planning Workstream believes that if each company is carrying out the highest-level process steps, then we are all working towards industry standards – while recognizing the breadth and size of our company members. This is what BioPhorum strives to do – ‘Connect, Collaborate, and Accelerate’.
Specific functions in large organizations might be well-versed in the forecast and demand planning discipline; however, having a standard approach across the organization might be a challenge. Whereas in smaller companies, one person may carry out multiple roles and do not ‘touch’ the forecast and demand planning process daily.
These areas are where there is potential for the greatest benefit – and why, used correctly, these new deliverables will create so much value for industry.