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NetSuite Adds Demand Planning Features to ERP

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Posted June 10, 2011 By Vangie Beal     Feedback

Using real-time data, companies can align sales forecasts with inventory replenishment plans.

Cloud ERP vendor NetSuite (NYSE: N) has extended its cloud-based business management suite with new demand planning features for wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers and distributors.

Leveraging NetSuite's integrated business management suite, NetSuite said its new demand planning bridges the gap between the front office and back office. According to NetSuite, this allows companies to tightly align sales forecasts with inventory replenishment plans.

NetSuite Demand Planning enables companies to forecast peaks and troughs in demand and minimize capital tied up in inventory by automatically building inventory forecasts from real time data.

Businesses need to run lean in the current economy, NetSuite said. But only one in five companies has adopted a demand planning solution, according to Gartner, demonstrating the weakness and difficulty legacy ERP tools have had in addressing this key business concern.

According to the Gartner study, intelligent, integrated demand planning can increase inventory availability up to 30 percent, reduce obsolescence by up to 15 percent and boost gross margins up to 5 percent.

"NetSuite's new Demand Planning capabilities will allow Valutek to automate our previously manual spreadsheet-based planning exercises, allowing us more timely forecasts and better inventory management," said Kirk Mathers, VP of finance at Valutek. "Demand Planning specifically leverages the power of the suite-based approach allowing us the ability to closely align sales forecasts with our inventory planning."

NetSuite Demand Planning provides flexibility for building an operational demand plan. Businesses can use sales forecasts to build an inventory plan and augment the plan with special predictions, such as marketing input on new product launches. Inventory plans can also be built using statistical forecasting models such as linear regression, moving averages and seasonal averages, based on historical sales data.

As part of a fully integrated supply chain, these projections can be automatically delivered to upstream providers, ensuring that the entire flow from raw materials to end customer is managed with minimal disruption and optimal inventory levels at each step in the chain, the company said.

"Demand Planning is essential for all product companies that are trying to effectively manage inventory to maintain a competitive edge in the global business community," said Cindy Jutras, principal at Mint Jutras "NetSuite continues to add functionality that enables customers to succeed in gaining a competitive advantage."


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