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Demand Planner/Sr Demand Planner

Posted Date:  Dec 5, 2023
Requisition Number:  119725

Job Location: Hershey, PA

The Demand Planner is accountable for the management and integration of data from Sales teams, Commercial Planning, Sales Planning, Finance, and Marketing which is used to develop accurate and timely Demand Forecasts. The planner is responsible for providing guidance, analysis, and oversight for their assigned demand portfolio to ensure alignment with business direction and objectives, as well as consistency with market trends and customer needs. Responsibilities include developing and communicating Demand Forecasts and the assumptions behind them through the supply chain and via the IBM Demand process.  

This position is accountable for establishing and managing item level statistical forecasts for their specific areas of accountability.  The planner will actively research and incorporate all sources of market intelligence pertaining to this customer base to produce the best possible operational forecast by combining statistical forecasting with customer insights and independent analysis of relevant data streams.  The Demand Planner should act as a functional expert for Hershey demand planning and is responsible for continuously improving the forecast using process KPIs and diagnostics to ensure continuous improvement efforts.  

The Demand Planner will facilitate a collaborative and consensus approach by working closely with Sales teams, Commercial Planning, Sales Planning, Marketing, and Supply Planning.  If the Demand Planner is assigned the accountability of a specific customer account, he / she will focus only on that customer, help to lead to the Collaborative Demand Alignment process, develop customer level forecasts, incorporate insights of that customer’s unique trends, inventory strategy and service level requirements via regular interactions with the appropriate Sales Teams.  If assigned to a season, he/she will focus only on the seasons assigned and forecast for all customers that have demand for that season’s items. 

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop accurate demand forecasts of all line items for their accountable segment of the business by using a combination of statistical forecasting integrated with insights gained via partnering with Sales teams, Commercial Planning, Sales Planning, Finance, and Marketing.  Ensure consistent integration into the forecast of customer insights, base business trends, merchandising promotional plans, new item volumes, plan-o-gram changes and seasonal volume with the goal of reducing working capital, minimizing forecast error, and maximizing service levels. Work cross functionally toward continuous improvement of forecast accuracy and improve the error rate below targeted levels of Weighted Mean Absolute Percentage Error (WMAPE) and Bias.
  • Maintain forecasting system models, history, alerts, and system data integrity to ensure the publication of a 104-week operational forecast by item by distribution center in SAP APO DP.
  • As the Commercial / Supply Interface, individual will provide Sales and Operations teams with timely analysis, guidance, and decision-making to ensure that the supply chain is in the best position to execute the demand plan generated from the total operational forecast.  This includes generating and publishing to key stakeholders, monthly and weekly demand forecasts, including clear identification of assumptions highlighting significant changes since release of previous report.  
  • Provide input to support monthly IBM Demand meetings and incorporate IBM feedback to improve forecasting process.  Provide documented insights into forecast changes, growth rates, promotions, distribution changes, and customer insights as well as supporting points for the current brand/packtype forecasts. Perform ad hoc analyses, as required, in support of contingency planning.
  • Proactively develop others within the planning organization through the development and sharing of best demonstrated processes and knowledge transference. Provide cross functional leadership across departments to solve for demand related issues caused by forecast error, demand constraints, unplanned promotional opportunities, etc.  
  • In addition to position-specific work, as outlined above, the Demand Planner will act as a lead on special projects, providing leadership as a functional expert to represent Demand Planning needs.  The teams may include (but not be limited to):  seasonal teams, new product launch teams, and continuous improvement initiatives.  

 Minimum knowledge, skills and abilities required to successfully perform major duties/responsibilities: 

  • Proficient in understanding of fundamental business management and supply chain principles and concepts.
  • Ability to integrate multiple data sources to develop, implement, and execute timely and accurate demand forecasts.
  • Ability to identify and evaluate opportunities (increase service levels, enhance logistic efficiencies, support customer needs, etc.) and recommend solutions internally.
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills, relationship management, and personal ownership of assigned portfolio and results. Ability to communicate effectively with internal and external partners at all levels.
  • Capacity to work within multiple information systems including, but not limited to SAP, PlanEx, and various PowerBI solutions.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office applications, and advanced proficiency with Excel.
  • Experience using Kinaxis
  • Capacity to analyze customer-specific data, reporting, and analytical tools.
  • Adaptive to fast and continuous change.
  • Strong mathematical skills.

Minimum Education and Experience Requirements:
Education:    Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Supply Chain, Mathematics, Information Systems, Industrial Engineering, or equivalent experience.
Experience:    Minimum of 0-4 years’ experience, prior business experience preferred.

Nearest Major Market: Harrisburg

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