Better order, inventory, and shipment visibility top the priority list for 60% to 80% of companies in supply chain surveys.

However, most supply chains lack adequate point-of-sale visibility, both upstream and downstream. Sensing demand early is thus critical due to the rapid growth of direct-to-consumer (D2C) fulfillment models during COVID-19, which has decentralized demand, adding complexity, cost, and volatility.

Moreover, with the near demise of traditional long-term demand planning, gaining near real-time data is now more crucial than ever. For instance, companies today look at yesterday’s POS store-SKU sales and inventory data vs. weeks-old summary reporting to yield substantial benefits.

They are also utilizing software-based demand-sensing tools, aided by artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict near-future demand that will influence purchasing decisions.

In short, demand signals drive the supply chain. They dictate what to produce, in what quantities, and where to ship.

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