Should My Business Forecasting Process and System Be Weekly, Monthly (Or Both)?
One of the biggest questions in establishing a new business forecasting process is the level of detail of the forecast from a product dimension as well as a geography/channel dimension. The third key dimension is time. The process stakeholders in operations usually want to drive all of the forecast dimensions down to the finest level of time detail, which is typically weekly, while finance is focused on the quarterly reporting time period and the monthly forecasts which build up into that time period.
The process owner can’t make everyone happy, or can they?
What are the factors which should drive that decision? The first issue is always whether there is the organizational bandwidth to go to weekly forecasting. If true weekly forecasts are desired then the organization needs to have the people and processes in place to manage and be accountable for the weekly numbers. A simpler way to put it is never plant a lawn bigger than the one you want to mow.
A second factor is whether or not the new business process system eliminates at least half of the Excel spreadsheets that have the word ‘Forecast” in their title. If it doesn’t, then the new system is probably forecasting at a level which is going to be too high for the needs of your organization. That’s a sure sign that there is a need for weekly forecasting as well as other drill downs on product and geographic/channel attributes.
Do weekly and monthly numbers ever have to true up? If they do, you probably need to support both weekly and monthly in a formal system and have business rules to convert the forecasts back and forth between weekly and monthly.
Regardless of your decision, software like RoadMap GPS has the flexibility to operate in a weekly or monthly mode, as well as the ability to switch back and forth between modes at the touch of a button.