A forecasting app that is ingenious and inventive but simple and user friendly at the same time. Harmke Duijnisveld, senior consultant at Districon, worked on the development of a Global Market Forecasting App for an international FMCG company.
"The objective of the project was to make an application for countries that did not have a tool to make a fact-based forecast. They used an Excel-sheet and based their forecast on the volumes they sold the year before. Now 70 countries use our new app’, Harmke says.
The Global Market Forecasting App
With the app, each country can predict how much products will be sold over the next three years. The Global Market Forecasting App uses a range of data to make a forecast; GNP, demographic factors such as population growth, unemployment rates and the percentage of adults in a country. But also weather factors such as temperature, the number of hours of sunshine, and the number of days with rainfall. By running different scenarios, for example, what happens to sales when the economy has a 5% increase? You can clearly predict sales volumes for the coming years.
Our competitors for this particular assignment, each offered a standard application. Harmke: "They offered a click and play solution; a black box, which made it impossible to understand the technology. We customized the application specifically for this customer. "
In weekly sprint reviews, Districon informed the customer about the progress. What did the app look like? What was the next step and did that match the customer's expectations?
Harmke Duijnisveld: "We developed the app together in 8 weeks. A very pleasant cooperation. The customer is very satisfied with the application and enthusiastic about our flexibility and the way we work”.
Training for users
To teach the marketing & sales department how to use the application optimally, Districon organized two online training sessions. Two groups of 35 employees were familiarized with the application. The sessions were recorded for employees who will be working with the app in the future.
The strength of the app is the technology behind it. Harmke Duijnisveld: "The application contains machine learning techniques. The app trains multiple models and the most important factors are automatically selected. Of course, the user can make another choice manually. The user remains in control. However, his or her life is simplified by these machine learning techniques. Another advantage; with the implementation of this app, all countries can use the same methodology, which makes it easy to compare and evaluate the figures at a global level.
Scenario Planning, also in this exceptional COVID period
Districon completed the project in March 2020. And then there was the lockdown. It hit this customer quite hard. "Scenario planning is central to the app: it is very easy to calculate multiple scenarios and get a good picture of the future. During the start of the virus outbreak, we created a separate module to understand corona-specific scenarios. Will there be a second or third wave? If so, when? And how much impact does that have on volumes? All 70+ countries can use this functionality to properly inform their management about the impact of COVID-19 on their business. "
Districon is an expert in the field of forecasting on many different levels.
Are you interested in whether a Forecasting Application also has added value for your company? Contact us for the solution that is right for you.