For several years, UPM Timber has worked hard to become its customers’ number one choice of timber supplier. The good—and ever-improving—results from our customer satisfaction survey show that we have succeeded in our task. However, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels and as we continue to strive for further improvement. Therefore, we have recently revised our sales planning process to achieve this.
Our aim is to develop an even more efficient and reliable customer-specific forecast process that is able to provide a longer-term forecast than the current process; one in which we can forecast and support the customers’ needs for 24 months. This will enable raw material management that is considerably more reliable, including interdependent product specifications and certain length preferences. When forecasting and making customer-specific allocations, the customer’s needs are taken into account on a monthly basis and the information that customer has provided to us is reflected in the end product as closely as possible. Using this model, we are factoring in availability and profitability more than ever during allocation.
Currently, as part of the long-standing QPP process, the customer’s needs are allocated and confirmed on a specific date before the beginning of the next quarter. The same process then repeats quarterly. As part of our new continuous planning, long-term forecasts are updated on a monthly basis. This results in significantly faster, and more flexible, confirmations of allocations, as well as increased co-operation and transparency for our customers. We believe that the revised sales planning process will help us to improve our service and support our customers’ competitiveness in their respective markets.
The new process will be adopted gradually between now and the end of the year as we begin to collect forecasts from our customers. We plan to use the improved tool to full efficiency by March/April 2020. We are already looking forward to realising our vision of an even more flexible and customer-oriented service. After all, being our customers’ number one choice continues to be our goal!
Wishing you a very happy autumn,
Director, Sales & Supply Chain