How to Create a Demand Forecast | Microsoft Docs

You can create sales and production forecasts with the Demand Forecast page.

Forecasting functionality is used to create anticipated demand; actual demand is created from sales and production orders. During creation of the Master Production Schedule (MPS), the forecast is netted against the sales and production orders. The Component option on the forecast determines which type of requirements to take into consideration in the netting process. If the forecast is for a sales item, only sales orders net the forecast. If it is for components, only dependent demand from production order components net the forecast.

Forecasting allows your company to create "what if" scenarios and efficiently and cost-effectively plan for and meet demand. Accurate forecasting can make a critical difference in customer satisfaction levels with regard to order promising dates and on-time delivery.

Sales Forecasts and Production Forecasts

The forecasting functionality in the program can be used to create sales or production forecasts, in combination or independently. For example, most make-to-order companies do not carry finished goods inventory, because each item is produced when it is ordered. Anticipating orders (sales forecasting) is critical for a reasonable turnaround time on the finished goods (production forecasting). As an example, component parts with lengthy delivery times, if not on order or on inventory, can delay production.

In most cases, then, the production planner modifies the sales forecast to fit the conditions of production, yet still satisfies the sales forecast.

You create forecasts manually on the Demand Forecast page. Multiple forecasts can exist in the system, and are differentiated by name and type. Forecasts can be copied and edited as necessary. Note that only one forecast is valid for planning purposes at a time.

The forecast consists of a number of records each stating item number, forecast date, and forecasted quantity. The forecast of an item covers a period, which is defined by the forecast date and the forecast date of the next (later) forecast record. From a planning point of view, the forecasted quantity should be available at the start of the demand period.

You must designate a forecast as Sales Item, Component, or Both. The forecast type Sales Item is used for sales forecasting. The production forecast is created using the Component type. The forecast type Both is only used to give the planner an overview of both the sales forecast and the production forecast. With this option, the forecast entries are not editable. By designating these forecast types here, you can use the same worksheet to enter a sales forecast as you do a production forecast, and use the same sheet to view both forecasts simultaneously. Note that the system treats the different inputs (sales and production) differently when calculating planning, based on item, manufacturing, and production setup.

Component Forecast

The component forecast can be seen as an option forecast in relation to a parent item. This can, for example, be useful if the planner can estimate the demand for the component.

As the component forecast is designed to define options for a parent item, the component forecast should be equal or less than the sales item forecast quantity. If the component forecast is higher than the sales item forecast, the system treats the difference between these two types of forecast as independent demand.

Forecasting Periods

The forecast period is valid from its starting date until the date the next forecast starts. The time interval page gives you multiple choices to insert the demand at a specific date in a period. It is therefore recommended not to change the forecast period scope unless you want to move all forecast entries to the starting date of this period.

Forecast by Locations

It can be stated in the manufacturing setup if you want filter forecast according to location when calculating a plan. Note, though, that if location-based forecasts are viewed in isolation, the overall forecast may not be representative.

To create a demand forecast

  1. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature icon, enter Demand Forecast, and then choose the related link.
  2. On the General FastTab, select a forecast in the Demand Forecast Name field. Multiple forecasts can exist and are differentiated by name and forecast type.
  3. In the Location Filter field, select the location to which this forecast will apply.
  4. In the Forecast Type field, select Sales Item, Component, or Both. If you select Sales Item or Component, then you can edit the quantity by period. If you select Both, then you cannot edit the quantity, but you can choose the drop-down arrow button and view the demand forecast entries.
  5. Specify a Date Filter if you want to limit the amount of data displayed.
  6. On the Demand Forecast Matrix FastTab, enter the forecasted quantities of Sales Item or Component forecast for the various periods.
  7. On the Matrix Options FastTab, set the time interval in the View by field to change the period that is displayed in each column. You can select from the following intervals: Day, Week, Month, Quarter, Year, or the Accounting Period, as set up in Financial Management.


    You should consider which time interval that you want to use for future forecasts so that the time interval is consistent throughout. When you enter a forecast quantity, it is valid on the first day of the time interval that you select. For example, if you select a month, then you enter the forecast quantity on the first day of the month. If you select a quarter, then you enter the forecast quantity on the first day of the first month in the quarter.

  8. In the View as field, select how the forecast quantities are shown for the time interval. If you select Net Change, then the net change in balance is displayed for the time interval. If you select Balance at Date, then the page displays the balance as of the last day in the time interval.


You can also edit an existing forecast. On the Demand Forecast Matrix page, choose the Copy Demand Forecast action and populate the Demand Forecast page with an existing forecast. You can then edit quantities as appropriate.

See Also

Setting Up Manufacturing
Design Details: Supply Planning
Setup Best Practices: Supply Planning
Working with Business Central

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