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What Is Demand Forecasting in Logistics?

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What Is Demand Forecasting? - Growth Graphic
Steve Thompson
Steve Thompson
June 24, 2022

If you are new to warehousing or transportation, you might ask: what is demand forecasting in logistics? A simple answer is that a warehouse manager is responsible for business activities such as predicting the future demand of a product. This educated guess affects how much quantity of products or materials to purchase for future inventory. Here's a deeper look at demand forecasting and why it's important to business stability.

Time Frames for Demand Forecasting

Woman looking at sales graphics

Demand forecasting requires critical thinking and a basic understanding of statistics and probability. Due to rising fuel costs, transportation must be planned carefully to avoid unnecessary trips and maximize fleet efficiency. The more you know about market activity data, the more you can refine your forecasts. Two types of logistics demand forecasting are common in the logistics industry:

  1. Medium and long-range forecasts: several months or years in advance
  2. Short-range demand forecasts: a few days or weeks in advance

You can make future inventory predictions on sales forecasting based on historical sales data from as far back as you think is relevant. It's important to note that not all market activity falls into predictable patterns, which makes demand forecasting a challenge without the assistance of AI technology.

Demand forecasts often span six months to three years. One way to maximize both short-term and long-term planning is with a drop trailer program. It allows a driver to drop off a truck that is unloaded within a flexible time frame.

Demand Forecasting Technology

The best way a logistics firm can operate these days is with a digital infrastructure. It makes life much easier for managers and analysts whose jobs involve making predictions about demand levels for specific products. Warehouse management software that's integrated with an electronic network allows for real-time collaboration. It also allows warehouse workers to find inventory items quickly and check quantity levels.

A machine learning program that scans historical sales data can generate reports to unlock mysteries as to which items are worth ordering in large quantities. Modern warehouse management software includes automated features that help with demand forecasting. You'll have the tools to formulate a flexible demand forecasting model for each product or material. These models help you predict capacity demand as well as how much safety stock to order.

Raw Material Planning Purchasing

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You might still be asking: exactly what is demand forecasting in logistics? It often involves projecting the storage and transport of materials to manufacturers so they can make products. Raw material can become scarce for multiple reasons, such as depletion of natural resources or legislation that prohibits it to be extracted from the environment.

An entire supply chain can be impacted when raw material is in low supply. The available supply of a material has a direct correlation with pricing, as the more scarce a material is, the more it will cost. Demand forecasting affects a company's future spending while reflecting past performance.

Why Accurate Demand Planning Matters

Demand planning is a part of business planning for any operation that devotes space to inventory. Accurate demand planning is the starting point for maintaining warehouse cost-efficiency and avoiding transporting goods in half-empty trucks. When demand planning accuracy is flawed, it can reduce profit margins. Using a digital platform with AI features will dramatically increase prediction accuracy.

Knowing how much material or product to order falls under inbound logistics. Lost economic opportunities can arise from low supply while demand is rising. Conversely, when inventory doesn't sell, the warehouse manager must figure out an exit strategy for unpopular items to make room for items that are more in demand.

How to Forecast Demand Effectively

Man looking far with a telescope

Knowledge of demand cycles is one of the building blocks of accurate and reliable demand forecasting. Another building block is historical sales data, which can point to trends, cycles, and other noticeable patterns. Many times AI technology can pick up patterns humans cannot. A big part of skillful demand forecasting is the ability to integrate strategic planning into the equation. Other variables to consider that affect logistics include weather, layout, and fuel costs.

The more you know about demand forecasting in supply chain management, the better chance you'll have at advancing to a management position. Inventory can be stored efficiently when stacked on pallets. Strategic organization of pallets can help cut costs and maximize space.


What is demand forecasting in logistics? It's a series of business decisions that affect profit margin. It's up to warehouse managers to make accurate demand forecasts or hire an analyst to do it. Developing a reliable forecasting model is essential for accurate forecasting of market share and future demand. Understanding how pallets help save time and money strengthens a logistics operation. Find out more from a pallet factory near you.