The Smart Forecaster

 Pursuing best practices in demand planning,

forecasting and inventory optimization

When implementing inventory optimization, the pressure is on to get results.  As the Major League Baseball season starts it’s final stretch towards the playoffs, we thought this analogy might help enforce an important point about the pace of deploying a new inventory optimization process.

 

The Situation

It’s the bottom of the ninth and your team is down by a run.  You step up to the plate batting lead-off. With the roar of the crowd and excitement in the air, you are tempted to swing hard for that elusive home run.  As you dig into the batter’s box, you weigh the options and decide on a better approach: stay patient and do whatever you can to get one base.  You don’t try to hit a home run and focus on making good contact with the ball. You know that in this situation, a single will do.  By getting on base you help build team confidence.  Most importantly, you put the team in a better position to win the game than taking an aggressive but risky swing of the bat.

3 Reasons for a Progressive Approach to Inventory Optimization

When the pressure is on to optimize inventory, you might want to move fast much like the hitter who wants to hit that home run.  And in some cases, swinging for the fences might be the recommended approach.  More often than not, a progressive approach to inventory optimization is more effective.  Here are three reasons why:

  1. It builds user confidence and creates momentum
  2. Early success buys necessary time to get full management buy-in
  3. Corporate roll out of a new process requires progressive evidence of success

 

Industry Example

A case in point is a multinational company offering next day PC and electronic device repair services.  They never know what will come in for repair, but need to set inventory policy to meet their next day service commitment for thousands of parts, while keeping inventory to a minimum.  They’ve chosen our inventory optimization software to help and are in the process of implementing.  The planning team has taken this progressive approach, working brand by brand to set optimal reorder points and order quantities using Smart’s probability forecasting engine.  They selected one brand to illustrate the process and show results: starting with 26 items, they filtered out 14 parts with little or no demand history.  Assessing the remaining 12, they showed how to reduce inventory by $51,000 while increasing service levels.  While the $51,000 reduction was just a small proportion of the overall benefit, it was easily understood, and presenting it has helped gain support to build out their inventory optimization implementation, brand by brand across the company.

Confidence is Key

User confidence is key and this comes with mastering the use of the inventory optimization software and being able to present results.  So, too, is management confidence.  We have encountered situations where optimization scenarios have clearly shown opportunities for large inventory savings, but staff were reluctant to seize them.  Why?  Because they would be reducing inventory, and that felt risky.  Again, selecting a subset of items, working through the optimization process, and gaining the top-down management support to make the change made all the difference.  And they will substantially reduce their inventory as a result.

Inventory Optimization success comes with a motivated team, the right technology, and solid execution of a good plan.  A progressive approach to implementation reduces risk, validates the plan, and provides the foundation for an effective inventory planning and optimization program.

Download Smart Inventory Optimization product sheet here: https://smartcorp.com/inventory-optimization/

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

Daily Demand Scenarios

Daily Demand Scenarios

In this Videoblog, we will explain how time series forecasting has emerged as a pivotal tool, particularly at the daily level, which Smart Software has been pioneering since its inception over forty years ago. The evolution of business practices from annual to more refined temporal increments like monthly and now daily data analysis illustrates a significant shift in operational strategies.

Constructive Play with Digital Twins

Constructive Play with Digital Twins

Those of you who track hot topics will be familiar with the term “digital twin.” Those who have been too busy with work may want to read on and catch up. While there are several definitions of digital twin, here’s one that works well: A digital twin is a dynamic virtual copy of a physical asset, process, system, or environment that looks like and behaves identically to its real-world counterpart. A digital twin ingests data and replicates processes so you can predict possible performance outcomes and issues that the real-world product might undergo.

Direct to the Brain of the Boss – Inventory Analytics and Reporting

Direct to the Brain of the Boss – Inventory Analytics and Reporting

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.

Recent Posts

  • Overcoming Uncertainty with Service and Inventory Optimization TechnologyOvercoming Uncertainty with Service and Inventory Optimization Technology
    In this blog, we will discuss today's fast-paced and unpredictable market and the constant challenges businesses face in managing their inventory and service levels efficiently. The main subject of this discussion, rooted in the concept of "Probabilistic Inventory Optimization," focuses on how modern technology can be leveraged to achieve optimal service and inventory targets amidst uncertainty. This approach not only addresses traditional inventory management issues but also offers a strategic edge in navigating the complexities of demand fluctuations and supply chain disruptions. […]
  • Daily Demand Scenarios Smart 2Daily Demand Scenarios
    In this Videoblog, we will explain how time series forecasting has emerged as a pivotal tool, particularly at the daily level, which Smart Software has been pioneering since its inception over forty years ago. The evolution of business practices from annual to more refined temporal increments like monthly and now daily data analysis illustrates a significant shift in operational strategies. […]
  • The Cost of Doing nothing with your inventory Planning SystemsThe Cost of Spreadsheet Planning
    Companies that depend on spreadsheets for demand planning, forecasting, and inventory management are often constrained by the spreadsheet’s inherent limitations. This post examines the drawbacks of traditional inventory management approaches caused by spreadsheets and their associated costs, contrasting these with the significant benefits gained from embracing state-of-the-art planning technologies. […]
  • Learning from Inventory Models Software AILearning from Inventory Models
    In this video blog, the spotlight is on a critical aspect of inventory management: the analysis and interpretation of inventory data. The focus is specifically on a dataset from a public transit agency detailing spare parts for buses. […]
  • The methods of forecasting SoftwareThe Methods of Forecasting
    Demand planning and statistical forecasting software play a pivotal role in effective business management by incorporating features that significantly enhance forecasting accuracy. One key aspect involves the utilization of smoothing-based or extrapolative models, enabling businesses to quickly make predictions based solely on historical data. This foundation rooted in past performance is crucial for understanding trends and patterns, especially in variables like sales or product demand. Forecasting software goes beyond mere data analysis by allowing the blending of professional judgment with statistical forecasts, recognizing that forecasting is not a one-size-fits-all process. This flexibility enables businesses to incorporate human insights and industry knowledge into the forecasting model, ensuring a more nuanced and accurate prediction. […]

    Inventory Optimization for Manufacturers, Distributors, and MRO

    • Why MRO Businesses Need Add-on Service Parts Planning & Inventory SoftwareWhy MRO Businesses Need Add-on Service Parts Planning & Inventory Software
      MRO organizations exist in a wide range of industries, including public transit, electrical utilities, wastewater, hydro power, aviation, and mining. To get their work done, MRO professionals use Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. These systems are designed to do a lot of jobs. Given their features, cost, and extensive implementation requirements, there is an assumption that EAM and ERP systems can do it all. In this post, we summarize the need for add-on software that addresses specialized analytics for inventory optimization, forecasting, and service parts planning. […]
    • Spare-parts-demand-forecasting-a-different-perspective-for-planning-service-partsThe Forecast Matters, but Maybe Not the Way You Think
      True or false: The forecast doesn't matter to spare parts inventory management. At first glance, this statement seems obviously false. After all, forecasts are crucial for planning stock levels, right? It depends on what you mean by a “forecast”. If you mean an old-school single-number forecast (“demand for item CX218b will be 3 units next week and 6 units the week after”), then no. If you broaden the meaning of forecast to include a probability distribution taking account of uncertainties in both demand and supply, then yes. […]
    • Whyt MRO Businesses Should Care about Excess InventoryWhy MRO Businesses Should Care About Excess Inventory
      Do MRO companies genuinely prioritize reducing excess spare parts inventory? From an organizational standpoint, our experience suggests not necessarily. Boardroom discussions typically revolve around expanding fleets, acquiring new customers, meeting service level agreements (SLAs), modernizing infrastructure, and maximizing uptime. In industries where assets supported by spare parts cost hundreds of millions or generate significant revenue (e.g., mining or oil & gas), the value of the inventory just doesn’t raise any eyebrows, and organizations tend to overlook massive amounts of excessive inventory. […]
    • Top Differences between Inventory Planning for Finished Goods and for MRO and Spare PartsTop Differences Between Inventory Planning for Finished Goods and for MRO and Spare Parts
      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. […]