MRO Magazine

Sensing Demand Provides Step-change in Performance, According to Terra Technology’s 2015 Forecasting Benchmark Study

September 17, 2015
By Business Wire News


Terra Technology’s sixth annual Forecasting Benchmark Study reveals traditional demand planning systems have reached their limits, with key forecasting metrics remaining essentially flat for the past five years. The data confirms that companies sensing demand achieve a step-change in performance, consistently doubling overall forecast value-added and cutting error by 37%. The study is the most comprehensive report of demand planning performance, encompassing $250 billion in annual sales from 14 multinational consumer product manufacturers, nine billion cases of goods and more than a billion item-warehouse stocking combinations.

The study finds that innovation is driving complexity, not sales. The number of active items rose by 32% since 2010, compared to a lift of only 4% in sales. Average sales per item dropped 22%, making it harder to forecast and more expensive to serve customers. More concerning is the rapid pace of introductions, with the number of items offered for sale nearly tripling over five years; 82% of them have since been discontinued.

Most of this innovation adds to an already long product tail, with only one in a thousand new items becoming a top seller. As a result, the long tail continues to grow and now accounts for 81% of all items. Furthermore, products that start off in the tail, stay there and none of them escape to become top sellers. These findings raise the question, “What is the true cost of innovation?”

New product introductions and items in the tail, both of which are particularly challenging for conventional planning methods, had a four times higher forecast value-added with Demand Sensing. This helps improve return on innovation, supporting sales of “winners” without tying up cash in unproductive inventory for items that fall short of expectations.

“Accuracy matters. Demand predictions underpin almost every major business decision and forecasts drive key financial metrics that impact shareholder value,” says Robert F. Byrne, CEO of Terra Technology. “Far from being an academic exercise, the pursuit of forecast excellence has become strategic. The statistics in this report will help companies make data-driven decisions to improve performance and gain insight into what industry leaders are doing to stay well ahead of the pack.”

The public version of the study captures the state of demand planning in North America and how it differs in Europe, allowing companies to compare their forecast performance against the industry average and top performing companies.

Request your copy of Terra’s 2015 Forecasting Benchmark Study.

About Terra Technology

Terra Technology helps companies outperform in volatile markets through automated and mathematically-sophisticated supply chain software solutions that drive profitable growth, raise shareholder value and improve operational efficiency.

Terra senses demand, optimizes inventory and predicts transportation and warehousing requirements in more than 160 countries for some of the world’s largest companies including Shell, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Mondelēz International, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Heinz, General Mills, ConAgra Foods, AkzoNobel, Kellogg, Reckitt Benckiser and Campbell Soup. Terra invented demand sensing in 2002 and was the first software provider to systematically use customer data to enhance service, cut inventory and reduce waste. Information on how Terra enables a truly integrated supply chain can be found at

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