The Future in Focus: The Role of Tools and Data in CPG Forecasting

At this point, we hope you’ll agree that forecasting in the CPG world is like reading a weather report before planning a picnic. It’s essential.

But here’s the big question - how much should you invest in forecasting tools?

Picture this: you're a brand manager tasked with ensuring your products fly off the shelves while avoiding the dreaded twin pitfalls of out-of-stocks and excess inventory. It's a high-stakes balancing act that can make or break your bottom line. 

That's where forecasting comes in – it's like a trusty compass guiding you through the rocky seas of market volatility. But here's the million-dollar question: how do you know if you're equipped with the right tools and data to navigate those waters?

Forecasting: To Tool or Not to Tool?

While you can technically forecast using a combination of gut instinct, historical sales figures, and your favorite spreadsheet, let's be honest – that's like trying to navigate a cruise ship with a paper map and a stargazer's intuition. It might work, but it's not exactly efficient or precise. 

Enter forecasting tools: the GPS of the CPG world. These handy solutions bring automation, speed, and accuracy to the table, helping you chart a course to success with minimal manual effort. The catch? They often come with a price tag and a learning curve.

Pros and Cons: Manual vs. Tool-Assisted Forecasting

On one hand, manual forecasting gives you granular control and a deep understanding of the factors shaping your predictions. Plus, it's generally cheaper than investing in fancy software. However, it's also incredibly time-consuming, prone to human error (hey, we're all beautifully fallible!), and may struggle to keep pace with your growth.

Tool-assisted forecasting, on the other hand, offers speed, automation, and superior accuracy. It can crunch vast amounts of data in the blink of an eye, spot patterns and anomalies that might escape the human gaze, and help you simulate various scenarios to stress-test your plans. The downside? It can be a significant investment, and you'll need to dedicate time and resources to learning how to use it effectively.

The Forecasting Tool Landscape: A Smorgasbord of Options

So, what exactly is on the menu when it comes to forecasting tools? The options range from basic Excel templates to sophisticated enterprise software suites like:

Vividly is a purpose-built solution specifically designed to help CPG brands navigate the rough waters of retail with confidence. With Vividly, you gain access to:

  • Granular, SKU-level forecasting on a weekly basis
  • Seamless integration of sales data and promotions
  • Lightning-fast automation and real-time updates
  • Distributor and retailer-level insights for a holistic view
  • An intuitive, user-friendly interface that your team will love
  • Best of all? Vividly is built by CPG experts, for CPG experts. We speak your language and understand your unique challenges – no translation required.

And let's not forget the data! Providers like Nielsen, IRI, and SPINS offer rich repositories of market intelligence to feed your hungry algorithms.

How to choose which tools you need

But with so many options, how do you decide which tools are right for your brand? Here are a few key factors to consider:


How big is your operation, and how much do you expect to grow? More complex businesses generally require more robust solutions.


Forecasting tools can range from free to eye-wateringly expensive. Be realistic about what you can afford and what ROI you expect.


Will the tool play nicely with your existing systems and data sources? Silos are so last season.


Is the tool intuitive and user-friendly, or will your team need extensive training? Adoption is key to success.


Does the tool have the features and capabilities you need, both now and in the future? Think scalability and flexibility.


Transitioning from Basic to Advanced Tools

Own Your Future With Intelligent Forecasting.

Forecasting in Excel is tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone.

Take the guesswork out of forecasting. Vividly automates the entire sales forecasting process and updates any changes in real-time.

See how industry leaders like Liquid Death and Perfect Snacks benefit from Vividly’s intelligent forecasting.