Business Policy Blog

Pursuing Best practices in demand planning, forecasting and inventory optimization

Top 3 Most Common Inventory Control Policies

Top 3 Most Common Inventory Control Policies

To make the right decision, you’ll need to know how demand forecasting supports inventory management, choice of which policy to use, and calculation of the inputs that drive these policies.The process of ordering replenishment stock is sufficiently expensive and cumbersome that you also want to minimize the number of purchase orders you must generate.

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Ten Tips that Avoid Data Problems in Software Implementation

Ten Tips that Avoid Data Problems in Software Implementation

Once a customer is ready to implement software for demand planning and/or inventory optimization, they need to connect the analytics software to their corporate data stream.This provides information on item demand and supplier lead times, among other things. We extract the rest of the data from the ERP system itself, which provides metadata such as each item’s location, unit cost, and product group.

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Riding the Tradeoff Curve

Riding the Tradeoff Curve

In the supply chain planning world, the most fundamental decision is how to balance item availability against the cost of maintaining that availability (service levels and fill rates). At one extreme, you can grossly overstock and never run out until you go broke and have to close up shop from sinking all your cash into inventory that doesn’t sell.

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Stop Leaking Money with Manual Inventory Controls

Stop Leaking Money with Manual Inventory Controls

An inventory professional who is responsible for 10,000 items has 10,000 things to stress over every day. Double that for someone responsible for 20,000 items. In the crush of business, routine decisions often take second place to fire-fighting: dealing with supplier hiccups, straightening out paperwork mistakes, recovering from that collision between a truck and the loading dock.

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Key Considerations When Evaluating your ERP system’s Forecasting Capabilities

Key Considerations When Evaluating your ERP system’s Forecasting Capabilities

Consider what is meant by “demand management”, “demand planning”, and “forecasting”. These terms imply certain standard functionality for collaboration, statistical analysis, and reporting to support a professional demand planning process.  However, in most ERP systems, “demand management” running MRP and reconciling demand and supply for the purpose of placing orders

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Recent Posts

  • Worker on a automotive spare parts warehouse using inventory planning softwareService-Level-Driven Planning for Service Parts Businesses
    Service-Level-Driven Service Parts Planning is a four-step process that extends beyond simplified forecasting and rule-of-thumb safety stocks. It provides service parts planners with data-driven, risk-adjusted decision support. […]
  • Implementing Demand Planning and Inventory Optimization Software with the Right DataImplementing Demand Planning and Inventory Optimization Software with the Right Data
    Data verification and validation are essential to the success of the implementation of software that performs statistical analysis of data, like Smart IP&O. This article describes the issue and serves as a practical guide to doing the job right, especially for the user of the new application. […]
  • Do your statistical forecasts suffer from the wiggle effectDo your statistical forecasts suffer from the wiggle effect?
    What is the wiggle effect? It’s when your statistical forecast incorrectly predicts the ups and downs observed in your demand history when there really isn’t a pattern. It’s important to make sure your forecasts don’t wiggle unless there is a real pattern. Here is a transcript from a recent customer where this issue was discussed: […]
  • Digital Transformations for Utilities that will Boost MRO Performance7 Digital Transformations for Utilities that will Boost MRO Performance
    Utilities in the electrical, natural gas, urban water, and telecommunications fields are all asset-intensive and reliant on physical infrastructure that must be properly maintained, updated, and upgraded over time. Maximizing asset uptime and the reliability of physical infrastructure demands effective inventory management, spare parts forecasting, and supplier management. A utility that executes these processes effectively will outperform its peers, provide better returns for its investors and higher service levels for its customers, while reducing its environmental impact. […]
  • The top factors that impact influence the speed of your forecast engineHow much time should it take to compute statistical forecasts?
    How long should it take for a demand forecast to be computed using statistical methods? This question is often asked by customers and prospects. The answer truly depends. Forecast results for a single item can be computed in the blink of an eye, in as little as a few hundredths of a second, but sometimes they may require as much as five seconds. To understand the differences, it’s important to understand that there is more involved than grinding through the forecast arithmetic itself. Here are six factors that influence the speed of your forecast engine. […]

    Inventory Optimization for Manufacturers, Distributors, and MRO

    • Worker on a automotive spare parts warehouse using inventory planning softwareService-Level-Driven Planning for Service Parts Businesses
      Service-Level-Driven Service Parts Planning is a four-step process that extends beyond simplified forecasting and rule-of-thumb safety stocks. It provides service parts planners with data-driven, risk-adjusted decision support. […]
    • Digital Transformations for Utilities that will Boost MRO Performance7 Digital Transformations for Utilities that will Boost MRO Performance
      Utilities in the electrical, natural gas, urban water, and telecommunications fields are all asset-intensive and reliant on physical infrastructure that must be properly maintained, updated, and upgraded over time. Maximizing asset uptime and the reliability of physical infrastructure demands effective inventory management, spare parts forecasting, and supplier management. A utility that executes these processes effectively will outperform its peers, provide better returns for its investors and higher service levels for its customers, while reducing its environmental impact. […]
    • 6 Do’s and Don’ts for Spare Parts Planning6 Do’s and Don’ts for Spare Parts Planning
      Managing spare parts inventories can feel impossible. You don’t know what will break and when. Feedback from mechanical departments and maintenance teams is often inaccurate. Planned maintenance schedules are often shifted around, making them anything but “planned.” Usage (i.e., demand) patterns are most often extremely intermittent, i.e., demand jumps randomly between zero and something else, often a surprisingly big number. […]
    • Hand placing pieces to build an arrowProbabilistic Forecasting for Intermittent Demand
      The New Forecasting Technology derives from Probabilistic Forecasting, a statistical method that accurately forecasts both average product demand per period and customer service level inventory requirements. […]

    Problem

    What is my inventory position today, on any item?  Where are we stocking out and how often? What are my delivery times?  Why did we ship late?  Do we have too much inventory in one location, not enough in another?  What are my real supplier lead times?   These are obvious, daily questions, and the answers can reveal underlying root causes that when resolved will improve supply chain performance.  But these answers are elusive, often because data is locked up in your ERP and only accessible via limited reporting views or spreadsheets.  Creating these reports manually using Excel requires data imports, reformatting, and distribution to key stakeholders, wasting countless hours of valuable planning time. This means that getting updated information, when you need it, is not always possible. Not having access to these answers means that problems reveal themselves only after it is too late, and opportunities for improving the inventory planning process are overlooked, further contributing to poor performance.

    Solution

    Smart Operational Analytics (SOA™) is a native web reporting solution available on Smart’s Inventory Planning and Optimization Platform, Smart IP&O.  It provides a fast, easily understood, current perspective on the state of your inventory, its performance against critical metrics, actual supplier lead times, opportunities to rebalance stocks across facilities, and helps you uncover root causes of operational inefficiencies.  SOA automatically refreshes as often as you’d like providing all stakeholders immediate, up-to-date reporting on your operations and performance.  You’ll have constant visibility of inventory levels, orders, shipments, and supplier performance to ensure you’ll always be in tune with the state of your operations and resolve issues before they become problems. Enhance visibility. Improve responsiveness. Increase your bottom line.

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      Smart Operational Analytics

      Inventory Analytics

      Quantify inventory value
      Inventory segmentation
      Inventory classification
      Trend metrics over time

      Operational Performance

      Measure service level performance
      Measure fill rate performance
      Calculate turns, holding & ordering costs
      Trend metrics over time

      Supplier Insights

      Measure supplier performance
      Compare supplier lead times
      Rank suppliers across available metrics
      Trend metrics over time

      Who is Operational Analytics for?

      Smart Operational Analytics is for executives, planners, and operations professionals who seek to:

      • Measure inventory costs and performance in real time.
      • Assess and compare Supplier performance.
      • Identify root causes of stockouts, excess inventory, and late deliveries.
      • share KPI’s such as service levels, turns, costs, and more across the organization.
      What questions can Operational Analytics answer?
      • What does my inventory look like? By value, count, classification?
      • Is my inventory trending up, down, or the same?
      • How much of my inventory is overstocked, understocked, or acceptable?
      • Can inventory be transferred from overstocked locations to under stocked locations?
      • Can existing supplier orders be cancelled or deferred?
      • What are my current turns, service levels, and fill rates and how do they trend over time?
      • How many out of stock events occurred this week, this month, this quarter?
      • How are my suppliers performing, how do they compare?
      • What is my supplier lead time and how has it changed over time?
      Inventory and supplier reporting for your enterprise

      Smart Operational Analytics empowers you to:

      • Benchmark service performance and inventory costs.
      • Benchmark supplier performance.
      • Assess and Classify Inventory by class, stage, and more.
      • Share metrics with the organization.

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