Pivot Forecasting® is a proprietary Demand Works technology that’s at the core of our demand and supply management solutions. It is what makes it possible to seamlessly work at any level of aggregation and along any dimension like product, channel or customer with ease and performance yet without rigid “forecast pyramids.”
If you’ve ever used pivot tables or any kind of OLAP reporting, then you’ve experienced the power of multidimensional data analysis. Pivot tables are excellent for analyzing demand and supply information, but they’re read-only so they’re not very useful for planning.
With traditional forecast pyramids, you can adjust an aggregated forecast for one dimension, like a product group, then synchronize changes to the customers that buy that product. When you first implemented the software, you would have defined a hierarchy that made it possible to aggregate and prorate forecasts in a methodical manner — say category, brand, SKU, then customer.
The challenge arises when you need to use a different hierarchy like “customers then products” instead of “products then customers”. It’s a natural business occurrence to adjust a plan for a customer or channel, then allocate it across all products that customer buys. It’s also natural to plan for product totals across multiple channels. With other systems, you would either configure your pyramids to have customers then products, or products then customers: One or the other, but not both. The reality is, if you plan with channel as well as product dimensions, then you really need both. The problem is even more pronounced when there are as many as ten or twenty grouping attributes because of the increased number of possible permutations in hierarchy design.
Pivot Forecasting® in Smoothie® lets you pick your hierarchies as you go. You can turn the pyramid upside-down or re-shuffle it whenever you need to – on the fly, so planning for regions, then products, then customers becomes a natural and effortless process. Plus, it can handle an unlimited number of grouping dimensions.
You can work with alternative conversions and measures as well, so Sales can plan revenues while production and distribution work with units, or even pivot on supply measures like projected inventory costs. Pivot Forecasting with supply planning is a powerful combination (we call it Pivot Planning®).
With Pivot Forecasting, rigid forecast pyramids are as obsolete as the Egyptian pharaohs and their ancient pyramids. Smoothie’s Pivot Forecasting removes the constraints imposed by complicated, inflexible pyramids, time-consuming batch procedures and uncoordinated plans in a single unit of measure.