Connect retail and consumer goods planning and forecasting systems with IBP

    Solve 10 operational challenges in retail and consumer goods with Integrated Business Planning connectivity

    To be successful in today’s dynamic, disruptive retail and consumer goods market, retailers must be able to anticipate the complexities of sales channels, consumer preferences, supply chains, seasonal demand and promotions, compressed project life cycles, and more.

    Essential to this anticipation is connectivity: a tight integration of forecasting systems, processes, and data across all relevant teams and functions.

    That’s where an Integrated Business Planning (IBP) strategy comes in. IBP unifies people, processes, and technologies across corporate functions. It aligns financial and nonfinancial data, encourages collaboration, links planning processes, drives communication, and helps ensure accurate reporting.

    To find out how IBP can help your business address connectivity challenges and thrive in a volatile market, read on.

    This article is an excerpt from our report on 10 operational challenges that retailers can address with IBP. Register below to access the full ebook. 

    Unconnected systems — and unconvincing planning results

    Q: My company has implemented solutions for inventory planning, promotional sales, assortment planning, and demand, but none of the solutions are integrated. As a result, teams are disconnected and cannot share information and planning results. For instance, when demand forecasts change, inventory planners aren’t aware of the revision and cannot adjust their forecasts accordingly. How do we integrate these unconnected systems?

    A: An IBP strategy with supporting technology  enables you to integrate multiple systems  across the enterprise within a single platform. This common platform connects financial planning components such as supply chain and inventory planning, for instance, with those of corporate finance, CRM, and HR. That connection breaks down functional silos and harmonizes data across functions, enabling all teams to review the same numbers at the same time.

    Long-term impact: Integrated planning strategies supported by appropriate systems improve the accuracy and speed of financial forecasting, as well as enhance collaborative decision-making. This gives retailers the tools to sharpen inventory planning and better manage demand, promotions, and inventory.

    Having multiple, unreliable sources of data hinders forecasting

    Q: My company uses multiple data sources that are not integrated – and often contain inaccurate information – for planning and forecasting. Our forecasts are frequently off the mark, and we believe data and the use of spreadsheets for planning are the primary cause. How can we improve the reliability and accessibility of data across planning teams?

    A: Many retailers grapple with managing the unprecedented volume and variety of data that is generated by multiple business systems. This is particularly true of companies that rely on disconnected spreadsheets for forecasting, because the information they contain is often incorrect and out of date. What’s more, entering, loading, analyzing, and reporting data in spreadsheets is a time-consuming process that erodes productivity. IBP aggregates and centralizes data from spreadsheets and makes it available to all stakeholders in near real time.

    Long-term impact: Replacing manual spreadsheets and processes with an effective IBP system improves the speed and accuracy of reporting. Freed from time-consuming spreadsheet management, employees can use analytics to perform additional what-if scenarios and drill down into data to tweak forecasts and provide insights into business performance.

    Take action

    To improve collaboration and forecasting results, ensure that all retail and consumer goods business and planning solutions are integrated into a single platform. You will also need to eliminate inefficient manual processes and make all data freely accessible to planners across the organization.

    Get more insights on integrated business planning for retail

    In addition to connectivity, IBP can help you tackle visibility challenges, boost your planning and forecasting agility, and enhance your processes and performance. Register and download our full report to learn how.


    Marisa Garcia, CPA, Partner, Advisory, Integrated Business Planning (IBP) Leader


    Stephen Wyss, CPA, Partner, Assurance, Consumer Industry Leader


    Subject matter expertise

    • Marisa Garcia
      Contact Marisa Marisa+Garcia
      Marisa Garcia

      CPA, Partner, CohnReznick Advisory

    • Contact Stephen Stephen+Wyss
      Stephen Wyss

      CPA, Partner - Consumer Industry Leader

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    Integrated Business Planning for Retail

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    This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its partners, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.