STOP TRYING TO FORECAST THE FUTURE
Anyone who listens to the weather report knows how notoriously unreliable trying to predict the future can be. Even so, many people are under the false impression that forecasting is a necessary component of the planning process. Not so. You simply need to have a different orientation.
If you're currently doing forecasting, you're probably looking backwards in an attempt to predict future business. Try turning around and looking ahead instead. By working closely with customers and gaining visibility into their plans, you'll find that you will be able to better plan required resources effectively, synchronize the availability of information, and so on.
Doesn't that sound a lot better than staring into a crystal ball? When you eliminate forecasting, the need for safety reserve goes away, since it is merely a hedge against incorrect forecasts. Getting rid of this bad habit starts by recognizing what it is costing you. Like a diet rich in fatty foods, excess anything tends to clog an organization's arteries and slow its metabolism. Worse yet, it creates a false sense of security by obscuring the true causes of uncertainty.
Investing in a continuous improvement strategy will help eliminate the reliance on forecasting. By applying continuous improvement techniques with your organization, you can significantly reduce set-up and queue times. Compressing the time factor presents a more clear picture of the future, and it increases the velocity at which products & services get to the marketplace.
Continuous improvement also encourages close partnerships with customers and suppliers. Technologies like electronic data interchange help speed communications and allow continuous updating of information.
While the job of forecasting can be eliminated, talented people cannot. Instead of performing a thankless job, they will become the welders of links in the supply chain, constantly strengthening relationships. Best of all, they will be accurate!