Demand Planner Shortage in North America: How Colibri S&OP Can Help

Demand planning is a critical function in modern supply chain management, enabling companies to forecast customer demand accurately, optimize inventory levels, and make informed decisions. However, North America is currently facing a significant shortage of qualified demand planners, which poses serious challenges for businesses across industries. In this article, we will explore the causes and impacts of this shortage and discuss how Colibri S&OP, a cutting-edge supply chain planning solution, can help companies mitigate the risks and maintain efficient operations.

Causes of the Demand Planner Shortage

Several factors contribute to the current scarcity of demand planning professionals:

  1. Increasing complexity of supply chains: As businesses expand globally and product portfolios diversify, supply chains become more intricate, requiring advanced analytical skills to manage effectively.
  2. Growing demand for data analysis skills: Demand planners need to be proficient in working with large datasets, statistical modeling, and forecasting techniques, which are skills in high demand across industries.
  3. Lack of training and education programs: There is a limited number of specialized degree programs and professional courses focused on demand planning, making it difficult for aspiring professionals to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.
  4. High turnover rates in the profession: Due to the high-pressure nature of the job and the competitive job market, many demand planners move on to other roles or companies, leading to a constant need for new talent.

Impact of the Shortage on Businesses

The demand planner shortage can have severe consequences for companies:

  1. Difficulty in accurately forecasting demand: Without skilled professionals to analyze data and create reliable forecasts, companies may struggle to predict customer demand accurately, leading to suboptimal decision-making.
  2. Increased risk of stockouts and overstocking: Inaccurate demand forecasts can result in either insufficient or excess inventory, causing stockouts that frustrate customers or tying up working capital in slow-moving products.
  3. Reduced efficiency and profitability: Poor demand planning can lead to increased costs, lower margins, and reduced overall business performance.
  4. Strain on existing demand planning teams: As companies struggle to fill open positions, the workload and pressure on existing demand planners increase, potentially leading to burnout and further turnover.

How Colibri S&OP Can Help Mitigate the Shortage

Colibri S&OP is an advanced supply chain planning solution that can help companies navigate the challenges posed by the demand planner shortage:

  1. Automation of data collection and analysis: Colibri S&OP automatically gathers and consolidates data from various sources, reducing manual effort and enabling demand planners to focus on higher-value tasks.
  2. Machine learning algorithms for improved forecasting accuracy: The platform employs sophisticated machine learning algorithms to analyze historical data, identify patterns, and generate more accurate demand forecasts.
  3. Collaborative platform for better communication and alignment: Colibri S&OP provides a centralized platform for cross-functional collaboration, enabling seamless communication and alignment between demand planners, sales, marketing, and other stakeholders.
  4. Scenario planning capabilities for risk management: The solution allows users to create and compare multiple what-if scenarios, helping companies assess risks and make informed decisions in the face of uncertainty.
  5. User-friendly interface reducing the learning curve: Colibri S&OP features an intuitive, user-friendly interface that minimizes the learning curve for new users, making it easier for companies to onboard and train new demand planners.


The demand planner shortage in North America presents significant challenges for businesses, impacting their ability to forecast accurately, optimize inventory, and maintain efficient operations. As companies struggle to find and retain qualified professionals, investing in advanced supply chain planning solutions like Colibri S&OP can help mitigate the risks and ensure continued success. By automating processes, improving forecast accuracy, fostering collaboration, and providing scenario planning capabilities, Colibri S&OP empowers companies to navigate the challenges posed by the talent shortage and drive better business outcomes. As the demand for skilled demand planners continues to grow, embracing innovative technology and focusing on talent development will be crucial for companies seeking to thrive in an increasingly complex and competitive business landscape.

Discover our FLOW module to manage your distribution and replenishments easily

Watch the demo