Commodity Management Blog

Innovative Ideas and Thought Leadership for Volatile Commodity Marketplace

Foggy WeatherI’ll take it as read that you’re all fans of the Prussian military analyst Carl von Clausewitz.  Who doesn’t have a copy of his 1837 work, Vom Kriege, on their nightstand?

For those unfamiliar, he coined the term “fog of war”.  In his book, he writes “War is an area of uncertainty; three quarters of the things on which all action in War is based are lying in a fog of uncertainty to a greater or lesser extent.”

(Stay with me.)

By fog of war, von Clausewitz is talking about military commanders’ incomplete or inaccurate intelligence about the enemy’s numbers, disposition, and capabilities—and the same about one’s own forces.  Limited reconnaissance, deliberate misinformation campaigns, and delays in receiving vital field updates all contribute to the challenge of making accurate tactical and strategic battlefield decisions.  If commanders make bad decisions on bad data, they could lose the war.

Anyone responsible for making decisions based on information gathered from the field knows this challenge inside out.

Consider supply chain planning teams.  They make critical planning decisions based on their customer forecasts.  With the right data from their customers, they have a clear competitive advantage.  With the wrong data—or, equally bad, the right data showing up after they’ve had to make their decisions—they’re in trouble.  In the supply chain world, this “wrong data” translates to lost profits and lost opportunities.

So, how do you cut through this forecast fog?  By leveraging ways to help get more accurate and more frequent data updates.

Triple Point’s Mobile Demand Planner (MDP) is one example of technology that supply chain planning teams can use to gather more accurate data more frequently.  If you are on the supply chain side of your business, think of MDP as your field salesperson’s link to the overall demand picture.  It allows your field representatives to capture forecast data while meeting face-to-face with your customers.  No latency, no errors—just real time updates from the field.

Getting these real-time updates gives you an early-warning indicator to issues that require adjustments to your production and distribution plans.  With this up-to-date picture of your changing demand, you are one step closer to being able to stop reactively planning and start proactively planning.

So, remove the fog from your forecast.  Learn how you can leverage Mobile Demand Planner (available from iTunes, August 23) and other technologies from Triple Point to maintain a clear picture of your supply chain planning “battlefield”.