Retail sales planning with IBM Planning Analytics

Challenges often arise in planning product sales when Head Office sends down high level figures that need to be achieved by regional entities or product managers.

These targets are usually set at a Product Group, Division or even Regional level. The challenge is to push these numbers down the product hierarchy to the product or SKU level. Once the projected sales figures are at product level, they can then be rolled up according other hierarchies for planning purposes. For realistic sales planning it is important to show the sales figures by other groupings such as Customer, Territory, Sales Rep etc. It is only when we see the figures by these dimensions that accurate sales planning can be achieved. For example, it is easy to take last year’s product sales and apply an uplift factor to achieve Head Office targets but what do these figures mean in terms of how much is to be sold in each territory, by each Sales Rep and to which Customers?

Using spreadsheets, it is very easy to roll-up or aggregate figures by any number of criteria but very difficult to make changes to these figures at aggregated levels and push the results back to the lower levels of detail. When using a multi-dimensional planning tool such as IBM Planning Analytics, Companies can realise top down and bottom up planning at any level of the Product or Customer hierarchies. The fact that in Planning Analytics this top down/bottom up planning happens in real time means that it becomes possible to carry out many more iterations of the planning process at a far greater level of detail in a much shorter period of time than with manual systems.

For those in the Retail sector, IBM Planning Analytics supports 4-4-5 week Calendars for both planning and reporting and has the flexibility to configure planning systems for Open-to-Buy (OTB), weekly sales, stock and intake (WSSI) and Comp Store analysis. IBM Planning Analytics also has the option to rollout sales planning across regional entities in different currencies and languages if required with a configurable workflow in place to control the planning and approval process.