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Breaking Down Silos: Connecting Demand Forecasting & Supply Planning in Pharma

Glass beakers and tubes on purple light background

In recent news, the pharmaceutical industry faces significant supply and demand challenges, particularly highlighted by the surge in popularity of weight loss drugs, like Ozempic and Mounjaro. The demand for anti-obesity medications (AOMs) is reaching unprecedented levels, fueled by the escalating global obesity epidemic. According to Goldman Sachs Research, the global market for AOMs could grow by more than 16x to $100 billion by 2030, suggesting a sustained increase in demand.

Leading AOM, specifically GLP-1, manufacturers Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk are finding it increasingly difficult to keep pace with the rising demand. To ensure pharma manufacturers can meet these challenges, it is crucial that supply chains are closely aligned with anticipated demand.

The Disconnected Landscape: Demand Forecasting vs. Supply Planning

Demand Forecasting, a crucial component of the Gross to Net ecosystem, forecasts market needs based on historical sales data, trending, and market events.

On the other hand, Supply Planning, a responsibility typically residing in a separate business function, focuses on raw material sourcing, production planning, inventory management, and distribution. This function ensures pharma manufacturers have enough stock to meet projected demand.

While both functions aim for optimal product availability, they often operate in silos. Demand Planning might forecast high sales, prompting increased production, but Supply Planning may face limitations due to raw material shortages or production capacity constraints. This disconnect leads to several key challenges:

  • Inaccurate Forecasts: Demand forecasts lack real-time insights into production capabilities, potentially resulting in misleading forecast outputs.

  • Inventory Issues: Misaligned planning can result in excess or insufficient stock, impacting costs and patient access.

  • Reactive Response: Siloed systems hinder proactive responses to market fluctuations and events, like the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for example.

  • Decision-Making Bottlenecks: Lack of integrated data impedes informed decision-making at both planning levels.

Connecting the Dots: The Intertwined Nature of Demand and Supply

In reality, Demand and Supply Planning are inherently linked. Accurate demand forecasts allow Supply Planning to allocate resources effectively, ensuring timely production of the right drug quantities. 

Conversely, timely insights from Supply Planning –  like production capacity limitations or lead times – inform Demand Planning, leading to more realistic forecasts. This two-way communication is crucial for a resilient and responsive supply chain.

  • Demand Informs Supply: Accurate demand forecasts allow Supply Planning to allocate resources and production capacity effectively.

  • Supply Impacts Realized In-Demand: Supply constraints or production delays should be factored into demand forecasts to avoid inflated expectations.

Anaplan: Bridging the Gap for Optimized Planning

Anaplan, a cloud-based platform, offers a powerful solution to break down the silos between Demand and Supply Planning. Here's how:

  • Unified Data Platform: Anaplan integrates data from various sources providing a single source of truth. Both functions can access and analyze the same real-time data to make informed decisions.

  • Scenario Planning: Anaplan allows for the creation of multiple "what-if" scenarios. Demand Forecasting can explore the impact of a market event on production needs, while Supply Planning can model various manufacturing capacity scenarios to determine the most optimal scenario to meet demand.

  • Collaborative Planning: The platform facilitates communication and collaboration between Demand and Supply Planning teams. By sharing appropriate outputs from one model to another, they can share insights, identify potential bottlenecks, and adjust plans in real-time, leading to more agile and responsive decision-making.

Benefits of Integrated Planning with Anaplan

  • Reduced Inventory Costs: Optimized production planning minimizes overstocking drugs with expiration dates and potential product waste.

  • Improved Patient Access: Streamlined planning ensures medications are readily available when patients need them.

  • Enhanced Agility: The ability to adapt to market fluctuations and events fosters greater responsiveness, such as new drug entrants into the market.

  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Integrated data across historical actuals, syndicated patient data and inventory reserves empowers informed decision-making at all levels to optimize market access.


Breaking down the silos between Demand Forecasting and Supply Planning in the pharmaceutical industry is crucial for optimizing the Gross to Net ecosystem. Anaplan offers a powerful platform to achieve this integration, leading to more accurate forecasts, efficient inventory management, and ultimately, improved patient access to life-saving medications. By adopting this approach, pharmaceutical companies can ensure they have the right products in the right place at the right time, fulfilling their mission of delivering life-changing treatments.

Our Partnership with Pharosity Consulting, Inc.

We’ve joined forces with Pharosity Consulting, a life sciences leader, to offer an integrated solution for pharmaceutical manufacturers. This partnership combines our Anaplan implementation skills with Pharosity's deep industry knowledge to streamline commercial and market access processes within the pharma GTN ecosystem. This partnership offers a one-stop shop for pharma companies to optimize their GTN efficiency.


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