Business Policy Blog

Pursuing Best practices in demand planning, forecasting and inventory optimization

Business policy provides strategic guidelines that help organizations manage operations and achieve long-term goals. It is especially important in inventory management and demand planning, where it ensures that supply chain operations are aligned with the company’s strategic objectives.

Business policies utilize predictive analytics and regression analysis to manage inventory effectively, avoiding excesses and shortages while optimizing costs and responsiveness. The implementation of these policies involves advanced statistical methods and technologies to enhance accuracy, reduce errors, and adapt to market changes, thereby maintaining operational efficiency and competitiveness.

Check out industry best practices below on how to optimize your inventory to cut costs, meet demand, and streamline your supply chain.

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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The 3 Types of Supply Chain Analytics

The 3 Types of Supply Chain Analytics

The three types of supply chain analytics are “descriptive”, “predictive”, and “prescriptive.” Each plays a different role in helping you manage your inventory. Modern supply chain software lets you exploit all three helping you to reduce inventory costs, improve on time delivery and service levels, while running a more efficient supply chain.

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Protect your Demand Planning Process from Regime Change

Protect your Demand Planning Process from Regime Change

No, not that kind of regime change: Nothing here about cruise missiles and stealth bombers. And no, we’re not talking about the other kind of regime change that hits closer to home: Shuffling the C-Suite at your company. In this blog, we discuss the relevance of regime change on time series data used for demand planning and forecasting.

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Recent Posts

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    This blog is about “irregular operations.” Smart Software is in the process of adapting our products to help you cope with your own irregular ops. This is a preview. […]
  • Epicor AI Forecasting and Inventory Technology Combined with Planner Knowledge for InsightsSmart Software to Present at Epicor Insights 2024
    Smart Software will present at this year's Epicor Insights event in Nashville. If you plan to attend this year, please join us at booth #13 or #501, and learn more about Epicor Smart Inventory Planning and Optimization. . […]
  • Looking for Trouble in Your Inventory DataLooking for Trouble in Your Inventory Data
    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. […]
  • BAF Case Study SIOP planning Distribution CenterBig Ass Fans Turns to Smart Software as Demand Heats Up
    Big Ass Fans is the best-selling big fan manufacturer in the world, delivering comfort to spaces where comfort seems impossible. BAF had a problem: how to reliably plan production to meet demand. BAF was experiencing a gap between bookings forecasts vs. shipments, and this was impacting revenue and customer satisfaction BAF turned to Smart Software for help. […]
  • 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. […]

    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. […]

    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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