Required and Desired Skills
To be a successful Demand Planner, you need to have a set of skills that include analytical capabilities, strong business discernment and judgment, and an ability to influence decisions by working across different organizational functions beyond the supply chain. These are a mixture of “hard” analytical skills and “soft” interpersonal and presentation skills. Like with other positions, experience in supply chain is the strongest qualification; however, there are continuing education and volunteer opportunities that can strengthen your skill set for a demand planning position.
It is possible to progress into demand planning from several other areas in an organization such as contract management, procurement, operation analysis, and trade compliance. Having an exposure to inventory management and procurement can be an avenue for moving into demand planning.
Here is a list of some required skills for a demand planner:
- Vendor management
- Inventory management
- Supply chain management
- Strong computer skills with proficiency in tools such as Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Powerpoint, Word)
- Excellent organizational skills
- Attention to detail
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Ability to work with others
- Analysis and problem-solving skills such as the ability to question, accurately identify a need and present an effective solution
- Time management skills
- Ability to follow and understand big-picture economic trends
- Strong applied math skills
- Understanding of statistical modeling
- Excellent database and Excel skills
- Knowledge of Supply Chain theory
- Knowledge of inventory metrics
- Ability to translate numbers and data into reliable insight
- Understanding of seasonality and peak demand times
- Presentation skills and speaking ability
- Cross-functional collaboration skills
- Confidence in your positions
- Extremely detail-oriented
A Bachelor’s Degree is required for a Demand Planner position. Some of the most common majors for the role are:
- Business Administration
- Supply Chain Management
A Day in the Life of a Supply Chain Planner
If you are a demand planner, your job is in a cyclical process that starts over each month.
Your day includes staying on top of market trends by watching sales data and communicating with sales personnel, customers, supply planners, and operations. You attend many meetings with purchasing, sales, and distribution operations. Through the sales division, you receive information regarding movement in market indicators and future demand. From supply planners, you receive information about demand that impacts productions and capacity. Most days involve using demand planning software, databases, and modeling to forecast and plan. Many demand planners use Excel to build forecasting and programs such as Power Query/PowerPivot to maintain relational databases.
You use your understanding of inventory management practices and procedures as a base for planning daily. Many things come at you quickly so you must be able to multitask and pivot adeptly from one focus to another. And, finally, as a demand planner, you continually use your excellent communication skills in constructing memos, presentations, and delivering synopses to stakeholders and colleagues.
Typical Working Conditions
A demand planner typically works inside. The planner has an office and moves to other offices or conference rooms needed for meetings.
Demand planning requires the use of technology for managing data and creating statistical forecasts. Whether it is through spreadsheets like Excel or forecasting software like SAP, a demand planner relies on computer tools to accurately capture and analyze data that is used in planning for demand. Using enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems is integral to the role of a demand planner. There are a multitude of options, and each company chooses the one that is best for its specific environment. A demand planner needs to be versatile and able to adapt to changes in the planning system.
Demand Planner Salary Range and Benefits
The range of salaries for a demand planner varies according to location, size of organization, and experience. Generally, based on our research, the salaries for demand planners in the U.S. are between $38,528 to $162,240 with a median salary of $93,940. The middle 50% of demand planners make between $79,825 and $90,037, with the top 83% making $162,240. An average salary is $75,085 in the U.S.