1-18.5 Current and Projected Demand Patterns

To determine current and projected demand patterns, two elements must be considered — the use of standardized products already in use by the Postal Service and the use of current or similar demand information as the basis for projecting future needs. The use of standardized products, already in use by the Postal Service, will allow for optimizing strategic sourcing, consolidation and synergy of demand, and simplification of ordering. The item manager will assure that suppliers have access to the listings of standard products for use in the development phase of any new products or equipment. Publication 112, Spares, Parts, and Equipment Catalog (SPEC), lists all stocked parts and is available to suppliers by subscription from Material Management Technical Data. If it is determined that a purchase should be made, the contract should call out the use of these items and ask for explanations if the items are not used.

The second element is using current or similar demand information as the basis for projecting future needs. Existing items may or may not be used on the new product or equipment. If they are being used, then the item manager will analyze whether the new product or equipment will influence the demand utilization patterns. User or maintenance data should be reviewed to understand what the demand drivers are for this item and what opportunities exist to change the drivers to reduce overall demand and TCO. For example, moving to a better quality item may cost slightly more, but significantly reduce demand over the life of the product. Once this is done, the item manager must fold in the projected usage for the new product or equipment into the existing item forecasts and adjust the replenishment schedules accordingly. If the product or equipment is not in the existing catalogs, then a provisioning analysis needs to be done (see below).

A slight variation of these techniques can be used when the Postal Service does not currently supply the exact item being proposed, but has similar items being used in similar situations. In these instances, the item manager can use comparative analysis to extrapolate the existing demand into future projections. This can be carried one step further and consideration given to simply adding the new item and its demand to an existing strategic sourcing contract.