The Smart Forecaster
Pursuing best practices in demand planning,
forecasting and inventory optimization
In this blog, the spotlight is cast on the software that creates reports for management, the silent hero that translates the beauty of furious calculations into actionable reports. Watch as the calculations, intricately guided by planners utilizing our software, seamlessly converge into Smart Operational Analytics (SOA) reports, dividing five key areas: inventory analysis, inventory performance, inventory trending, supplier performance, and demand anomalies.
This article is about the real power that comes from the collaboration between you and our software that happens at your fingertips. We often write about the software itself and what goes on “under the hood”. This time, the subject is how you should best team up with the software.
Measuring the accuracy of forecasts is an undeniably important part of the demand planning process. This forecasting scorecard could be built based on one of two contrasting viewpoints for computing metrics. The error viewpoint asks, “how far was the forecast from the actual?” The accuracy viewpoint asks, “how close was the forecast to the actual?” Both are valid, but error metrics provide more information.
I can’t imagine being an inventory planner in spare parts, distribution, or manufacturing and having to create safety stock levels, reorder points, and order suggestions without using key performance predictions of service levels, fill rates, and inventory costs.
With so much hype around new Machine Learning (ML) and probabilistic forecasting methods, the traditional “extrapolative” or “time series” statistical forecasting methods seem to be getting the cold shoulder. However, it is worth remembering that these traditional techniques (such as single and double exponential smoothing, linear and simple moving averaging, and Winters models for seasonal items) often work quite well for higher volume data. Every method is good for what it was designed to do. Just apply each appropriately, as in don’t bring a knife to a gunfight and don’t use a jackhammer when a simple hand hammer will do.
In today’s competitive business landscape, companies are constantly seeking ways to improve their operational efficiency and drive increased revenue. Optimizing service parts management is an often-overlooked aspect that can have a significant financial impact. Companies can improve overall efficiency and generate significant financial returns by effectively managing spare parts inventory. This article will explore the economic implications of optimized service parts management and how investing in Inventory Optimization and Demand Planning Software can provide a competitive advantage.
Probabilistic scenarios are sequences of data points generated to represent potential real-world situations. Unlike scenarios in war games or other simulations, these are synthetic time series used as inputs to system models or as intuition-builders for decision-makers.
People new to the jobs of “demand planner” or “supply planner” are likely to have questions about the various forecasting terms and methods used in their jobs. This note may help by explaining these terms and showing how they relate.
Dealing with the day-to-day of inventory management can keep you busy. But you know you have to get your head up now and then to see where you’re heading. For that, your inventory software should show you metrics – and not just one, but a full set of metrics or KPI’s – Key Performance Indicators.
People involved in the supply chain are likely to have questions about various inventory terms and methods used in their jobs. This note may help by explaining these terms and showing how they relate.
Are you confused about what is AI and what is machine learning? Are you unsure why knowing more will help you with your job in inventory planning? Don’t despair. You’ll be ok, and we’ll show you how some of whatever-it-is can be useful.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of crafting a spare parts inventory plan that prioritizes availability metrics such as service levels and fill rates while ensuring cost efficiency. We’ll focus on an approach to inventory planning called Service Level-Driven Inventory Optimization. Next, we’ll discuss how to determine what parts you should include in your inventory and those that might not be necessary. Lastly, we’ll explore ways to enhance your service-level-driven inventory plan consistently.
Forecasting inventory requirements is a specialized variant of forecasting that focuses on the high end of the range of possible future demand. Traditional methods often rely on bell-shaped demand curves, but this isn’t always accurate. In this article, we delve into the complexities of this practice, especially when dealing with intermittent demand.
Every field, including forecasting, accumulates folk wisdom that eventually starts masquerading as “best practices.” These best practices are often wise, at least in part, but they often lack context and may not be appropriate for certain customers, industries, or business situations. There is often a catch, a “Yes, but”. This note is about six usually true forecasting precepts that nevertheless do have their caveats.
Navigating the intricacies of stocking recommendations can often lead to questions about their accuracy and significance. A recent inquiry from one of our customers prompted an insightful discussion on the nuances of service levels and reorder points. During a team meeting, we identified unusual gaps between our Smart-suggested reorder points (ROP) at a 99% service level and the customer’s current ROP. In this post, we unravel the concept of a “99% service level” and its implications for inventory optimization, shedding light on how timing and immediate stock availability play pivotal roles in meeting customer expectations and remaining competitive in diverse industries.