Sales Forecaster

Sales Forecaster jobs

Productivity of goods and the logistics of getting them from their raw materials sites to the shops, forecourts and wholesalers is all influenced by one thing: demand. There is no point producing millions of a product when there is only demand for hundreds of thousands. At the same time, though, producing hundreds of thousands when there’s a demand for millions will mean that the company is not as profitable as it could be and customers will look to your competition to fulfil their demand.

Keeping track of demand will be the task of the sales forecaster. The sales forecaster will have a series of statistics at his or her disposal on which to base the likely demand figures. At the root will be the ongoing sales charts, which will show trends over long periods of time, from which expected seasonal changes can be worked out. However there are other demand drivers at play, which must also be taken into account. If the sales and marketing team are organising a campaign, the sales forecaster will need to know – similarly if, say, a retailer is doing their own promotion on a product.

This is vital because the production, procurement and logistics teams will all need to know their expected levels of work and acquisition of raw materials. By having a more accurate picture they will be able to arrange supply, staffing, warehousing and transportation needs. Forecasters will generally work in the medium and short term timescales, the latter ideally being a fine-tuning of the former. No forecast can be 100% accurate, but by delivering workable predictions to production planners, the supply chain can be optimised.

The skills required

Expertise in forecasting and sales & marketing will generally be considered positive skills in the forecaster. Also, an understanding of demand cycles within the industry in question will definitely stand the applicant in good stead.

With large and varied amounts of data coming into play, the sales forecaster will need an aptitude in cutting through the irrelevant data and seeking out the little gems that make the predictions more precise. The communications skills cannot be underestimated, either. Data will not always be on charts and graphs; it will sometimes be verbal, in the form of information from sales teams on the ongoing campaigns or leads. Any conclusions drawn from the data will then need to be clearly communicated to planners and production managers.

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