Managing seasonal demand in cleaning supplies

Do you undertake demand planning when it comes to cleaning supplies?

While procurement works carefully to manage seasonal demand in many categories, one area that it can occasionally overlook is cleaning products.

Demand planning is, according to the CIPS, one important element of demand management that enables organisations to manage the level of demand, using marketing or supply chain management strategies to smooth out peaks and troughs.

While many organisations work to achieve this in nearly every area, what some do not appear to factor in quite so well is cleaning. Cleaning supplies are often seen as a functional area of procurement, but this doesn’t mean they’re not an important area of spend. This should involve effective demand planning but, often, this category is not always monitored as well as it could be.

This could be because cleaning is not seen to be as critical as other core elements of the business, for example, manufacturing parts or retail stock. But, by taking it seriously and considering how to manage supply better, according to seasonal demand, organisations could find an extra vital route to better spend management.

Rather than place the same orders month after month, tailoring procurement of cleaning supplies to match seasonal demand could reduce the risk of shortfalls at peak times and prevent over-ordering just before low demand times. It can help to ensure that just the right amount of stock is in place and excess stock isn’t left lying around during quieter periods.

Here are three tips to better demand planning for cleaning supplies:

Consult users

Move beyond spreadsheets and seek out the people who are most likely to have a first hand understanding of seasonal demand issues in cleaning.

From the cleaning team to facilities managers, look for their personal answers on when products are being used and how quickly. These may help to show another side to the picture your figures are giving you.

Find out when product is more quickly finished, or when it may be likely to pile up in a cupboard. Ask users if they ever experience issues of products not being available at key times of year, or if they have to search high and low for particular products more at one time of year than another.

Consider holidays

What impact do the summer holidays or bank holidays have on your business? Is it quieter or busier? Depending on the sector you’re in, the answer could be dramatically different. While procurement professionals will be more than aware of this seasonal demand when it comes to other stock or goods, thinking about procuring cleaning supplies more effectively around this seasonality is equally important.

Work with your supplier

Get support from your supply chain. Once you have more detail about the peaks and troughs in  your business, work with partners who have systems in place to work with this  seasonal information. The better the detail you give to suppliers, the better their response is likely to be.

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