Supply chain tip of the day: Consider seasonal indexes when demand planning

Flu season is coming and healthcare providers must prepare for its impact, according to Marie Fournier, director of business development and marketing for Montreal, Canada-based TECSYS.

However, the severity of flu season is difficult to predict, which can complicate demand planning for flu supplies and vaccines.

Ms. Fournier shared the following tip with Becker's Hospital Review.

"Having recognized the existence of seasonal pattern, one must anticipate its effect on inventories. To understand seasonal differences in consumption over the course of a year, forecasters look at an item's seasonal index. The calculation of an item's seasonal index is quite simple. The first step is to calculate the average monthly demand for a given year. The second step is to divide the actual demand by the average demand. The result is the seasonal index.

"A seasonal index of 1.2 indicates that 120 percent of average demand was consumed during that month. A seasonal index of .80 indicates that 80 percent of the average demand was consumed. Because seasons fluctuate, calculating the average seasonal index over a three-year period will provide a more accurate representation of a season's impact on consumption.

"In the end, the seasonal index helps buyers provide an uninterrupted flow of inventory — nobody wants to be caught short during periods of peak demand."

If you would like to submit a supply chain tip, please email Mackenzie Bean at

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