Sales forecasting is a key element in conducting your business. The realism that good forecasting provides can help you develop and improve your strategic plans by increasing your knowledge of the marketplace. The forecast that your sales force provides is the source of information that allows you to manage virtually all aspects of your business.
When your sales reps make their forecasts, they are also planning their future activities, providing each of them with a business plan for managing their territory. Assuming that each of them has a quota to fill, forecasting is the tool that helps them identify the customers to meet their objectives.
The sales forecast is your best tool to get a good estimate of the demand for the products you sell. Your sales team is the front line for your business and best positioned to gather information about anticipated demand.
With accurate sales forecasting, you can achieve a higher rate of on time in full, or OTIF, delivery. The information from sales forecasts guarantees that sufficient product will be manufactured or ordered to service customers on a timely basis, resulting in happier customers and fewer complaints.
The more accurate the sales forecast, the better prepared your company will be to manage its inventory, avoiding both overstock and stock-out situations. Stable inventory also means better management of your production.
When you can predict demand and manage production more efficiently, you also have better control over your supply chain. This affords you the opportunities to manage resources and take full advantage of just-it-time ordering.
Anticipating sales gives you the information you need to predict revenue and profit. Having good forecasting information at your disposal also gives you the ability to explore possibilities to increase both revenue and net income.
Having a gasp on the projected production rates for your business makes it possible for you to have better control of your internal operations. By anticipating future sales you can make decisions about hiring – permanent or temporary – marketing and expansion.
Continuous improvement is a goal of many if not most businesses. By forecasting sales and continually revising the process to improve the accuracy, you can improve all aspects of your business performance.
With solid forecasting, the good levels of inventories that you maintain will prevent the need for panic sales to rid your business of excess merchandise. Sales may be managed on a thoughtful planned basis.
Sales forecasting gives marketing an advanced look at future sales and offers the opportunity to schedule promotions if it appears sales will be weak. In extreme cases, sales forecasts may lead to discontinuing slow-moving products.