J.D. Edwards & Co. early this month began shipping a product demand forecasting module for its Advanced Planning 4.0 suite.
The Demand Consensus module provides users of the companys Advanced Planning, OneWorld and WorldSoftware enterprise software suites with flexible, collaborative forecasting capabilities that enable them to design supply chain production schedules in fluid demand environments, according to JDE officials.
A Web-based application, Demand Consensus brings planners, sales, operations, customers and suppliers together in a conference-room-like setting. Outside partners and customers need only a connection to the Internet to use the modules self-service format, which allows them to input or view forecasts.
The module adds forward-looking information to the traditional historical forecasting process. Users can quickly gather forecasts from disparate locations, which are gathered in real time, asynchronously or offline. Users have the option of looking at various forecasts—either individually or collectively—at any time in the process.
Customers and partners, for their part, can view their own data, make changes and collaborate with suppliers on any differences.
Once forecasting data has been received from all parties, a logic engine weights the inputs based on the historical accuracy of the forecaster. In other words, information from forecasters who have provided more accurate data can be weighted more heavily than data from those with less accurate information.
Likewise, exception-based logic also flags large discrepancies from the norm and sends alerts to planners. "It is based on a consensus of all trading partners, so that they need to be on [target with] what forecasts would be," said Predrag Jakovljevic, an analyst at TechnologyEvaluation.com, in Boston. "You are reducing the risk of overproducing or not having the material when you need it."
This spring, Denver-based JDE plans to integrate Demand Consensus with its Planning module, according to officials.