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Your Guide to Supply Chain Forecasting: A List of Planning Questions

Lindsay Duggan Martinez

Principal Partner Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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Caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the global supply chain remains in shambles. As a shopper, you’ve probably experienced month-long delays on orders shipped from overseas, especially for lumber-dependent products like furniture. 

Meanwhile, as an ecommerce marketer or business owner, you’ve likely lost sleep over tough decisions like whether or not to pay drastically expensive fees for a shipping container or find alternate (and pricier) domestic manufacturers. 

Although globalization has unlocked new markets, customers, and suppliers, it has also led to an interdependent puzzle of materials, deliveries, and sales. When one component goes wrong, everything else collapses. 

While few could have predicted a global pandemic with no end in sight, supply chain forecasting can alleviate a ton of headaches when it comes to inventory management and fulfillment. After all, if you don’t have your supply chain forecasting down to a tee, you'll face one of two scenarios: out-of-stock products zapping your profitability and customer satisfaction or stale inventory sitting in a pricey warehouse that you’ll eventually sell at a loss. 

Luckily, we’re here with a planning checklist to help you unlock better supplier relationships, higher customer satisfaction, and greater profitability. Consider these starting questions, gather the necessary qualitative and quantitative data — supply chain forecasting should never be guesswork! — and use your answers to formulate a strategy and plan. 

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to use inventory forecasting tools available in the Shopify App Store to generate necessary mathematical models based on your data and insights. For more on supply chain forecasting, make sure to check out this guide, too. 

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