Supply Chain Discussion: Demand Shaping Comes to the B2B World
In this discussion, Robert Bowman from Supply Chain Brain talks to Sujit Singh, chief operating officer of Arkieva. They are a demand planning and supply chain software company.
He says that the use of data for demand sensing and shaping, already well-advanced in the B2C world, is now being adopted in B2B as well.
He also says that demand shaping is catching on in the B2B world for two main reasons. Firstly, it’s creating new opportunities for B2B sellers to sense mismatches between supply and demand, caused by investments during the COVID-19 pandemic in extra capacity that ultimately wasn’t needed. And second, it helps to mitigate the risk of such incidents in advance of them happening, through the use of analytics that can equip sellers with “levers” for shaping demand.
Demand shaping is well-ensconced in B2C, but has been slower to migrate to B2B because the latter’s approach to the customer is different.
“It’s difficult to [say] ‘Buy one, get one free’ in the chemical world,” - Sujit Singh
But with the advent of big data — generating more information about the market than ever before — sellers are able to create views that are meaningful to the B2B sector.
Data makes visible opportunities for demand shaping, although in the case of B2B, the execution of that process is still carried out by people in the field, such as customer service representatives and inside sales personnel. He says that, although modern-day demand shaping employs predictive analytics at a scale that was previously impossible when attempted by humans. People are still a vital part of the process.