About   |   Newsletter
Demand & Supply Chain Management Evolution

13 Jun 2019
Why DTC brands must invest in AI-driven omni-channel demand planning

Michael Dale

There is a seismic shift occurring and brand manufacturers are at the epicenter of the disruption. Brand manufacturers are moving into direct to consumer channels, engaging customers directly while continuing to increase their presence with traditional retailers. As this transformation evolves, the challenges to become successful, profitable, and productive are many.

As brand manufacturers are reaching out to consumers directly, owning their brand messaging, and ultimately the customer engagement, demand planning for the channel explosion needs to transform, too.

Brands like Nike, Burton, and Phillips Van Heusen now have their own D2C models—funneling customers to their websites, mobile apps, or branded retail stores. This innovative omni-channel approach allows brands to engage with consumers previously unserved, or underserved, by traditional retailers. Brands now control consumer-facing content, their stores, and their supply chains—which means the business model of selling must pivot from a sole focus on major retailers to a balance between those valuable retailer accounts and more personalized direct customer engagements.


Tackling wholesale and direct-to-consumer demand

With this shift come challenges that impact people, processes, and technology. Demand and supply planners need to collaborate and align on demand for the various channels, considering both the wholesale account selling as well as the new direct-to-consumer (DTC) ventures. Manufacturing needs to know what styles and colors to make, the quantities needed for initial introduction and subsequent fill and the timing of shipments. Many brands lack modern technology, relying heavily on Excel with manual inputs, getting very little support from demand planning tools. And when tools are in place, the focus is on wholesale account planning and usually driven by outdated forecasting capabilities.


Innovating with machine learning

In keeping with the shift, Infor is innovating - fusing together machine learning and omni-channel planning into one solution for both wholesale account planning and DTC. Machine learning drives the demand plan considering Shipments and POS, product attributes, promotional/marketing events, and other features to automatically produce forecasts for all style/colors across the Lifecyle of any given product. This automation includes the ability to forecast new styles based on attributes and features, no longer requiring planners to manually set up “like SKUs”.


Seamless demand planning for omni-channel brands

Omni-channel planning converges the planning processes into one seamless plan across the entire company, aligning financials of the business with the capacity and capabilities of the supply chain. In real time, planners can seed with machine learning, plan sales, margin, and inventory KPIs, and collaborate both internally and externally across the entire planning horizon—allowing the business to identify and capitalize on opportunities early in the planning cycle.

That means excess or obsolete inventory is no longer hidden and trapped within the supply chain. And, potential inventory and availability problems that may arise over the lifecycle of the style are highlighted and shared across the organization, ensuring the most profitable decisions are made.

Ultimately, an omni-channel planning process aligns top level and bottom-line strategies with effective demand planning processes for the entire business, ensuring product availability to maximize revenue and margin. Utilizing an AI-based machine learning forecast guarantees a demand signal for accurate planning of wholesale accounts and DTC channels to reduce total inventory—lowering the risk of markdowns, which leads to increased profitability and greatly improved planner productivity.

Learn more about Infor Demand Management, powered by machine learning.






           Circular Economy     Industry 4.0     Blockchain 

     Internet of Things     Omni Channel 

Join us on

News & Trends

Last update 6 Feb 2020
Manufacturing growth slows at start of 2020 as exports fall
   Source: Markit US Manufacturing PMI   -  IHS Markit
United States 

Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals

Maximum safety and reliability and reducing the costs for our customers at the same time: we are able to offer the chemical industry an extensive range of chemical logistics services that hardly any other logistics specialist can match. It is our goal to harmonise our services with your specifications in s...

5 Retail Trends to Keep Your Eyes on in 2020

As we settle into the new decade, we look back on all the transformative activity within the retail industry over the course of 2019 and look forward to how it will shape the rest of 2020. The ongoing trade war with C...

Purchasing Techniques, Negotiation and Cost Reduction
Effective Store Management and Stock Control
Creativity and Management of Warehouses and Materials
     New York
Purchasing and Suppliers Management
     New York

Local & Regional Agenda

Erema: Gaining a competitive edge through preferential exports

Erema, an Austrian manufacturer of recycling systems, uses AEB software to accelerate the proper classification of its components, manage supplier’s declarations, and ensure compliance in its exports. Erema ship...

In Pricing, Success Breeds Success

A.T. Kearney's Pricing Full Potential (PFP) Analyzer does the heavy lifting when it comes to pricing. The more market power you have, the more you can still gain from your pricing strategy.In the summer of 2013, A.T. Kea...

International Agenda