Inventory and Demand Planning: Guest Posts

Data Driven Planning, Demand forecasting and inventory optimization

7 Digital Transformations for Utilities that will Boost MRO Performance

7 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.

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The Supply Chain Blame Game:  Top 3 Excuses for Inventory Shortage and Excess

The Supply Chain Blame Game: Top 3 Excuses for Inventory Shortage and Excess

The supply chain has become the blame game for almost any industrial or retail problem. Shortages on lead time variability, bad forecasts, and problems with bad data are facts of life, yet inventory-carrying organizations are often caught by surprise when any of these difficulties arise. So, again, who is to blame for the supply chain chaos? Keep reading this blog and we will try to show you how to prevent product shortages and overstocking.

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Inventory Planning Becomes More Interesting

Inventory Planning Becomes More Interesting

Just-In-Time (JIT) ensures that a manufacturer produces only the necessary amount, and many companies ignore the risks inherent in reducing inventories. Combined with increased globalization and new risks of supply interruption, stock-outs have abounded. So how can you execute a real-world plan for JIT inventory amidst all this risk and uncertainty? The foundation of your response is your corporate data. Uncertainty has two sources: supply and demand. You need the facts for both.

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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. […]
    Problem

    Keeping inventory investments in check while maintaining high customer service levels is a constant balancing act.  Without proper controls, excess inventory grows throughout your supply chain, locking up vital working capital that constrains your company’s growth.  Every day, the ERP system makes purchase order suggestions and manufacturing orders based on planning drivers such as safety stock, reorder points, and Min/Max levels. Ensuring that these inputs are understood and continually optimized will generate substantially better returns on your inventory assets.  Unfortunately, many organizations rely on rule of thumb logic,  institutional knowledge, and “one-size-fits all” forecasting logic that assigns all items within a particular group the same service level target. These approaches yield suboptimal policies that cause inventory costs to balloon and service performance to suffer. Compounding the problem is the sheer volume of data – thousands of items stocked at multiple locations means planners don’t have the bandwidth to proactively review these inventory drivers on a regular basis.  This results in outdated reorder points, safety stocks, order quantities, and Min/Max settings that further contribute to the problem.

    Solution

    Smart Inventory Optimization (SIO™) is available on Smart’s Inventory Planning and Optimization Platform, Smart IP&O.  It delivers inventory policy decision support and the means to share, collaborate, and track the impact of your inventory planning policy. This can help realize millions in savings by improving customer service and reducing excess stock. You can forecast metrics such as service level, fill rate, holding costs, ordering costs, and stock out costs. Users can identify overstocks and understocks, adjust stocking policies when demand changes, share proposed policies with other stakeholders, collect feedback, and establish a consensus inventory plan.  And unlike traditional inventory planning systems that rely on rule of thumb approaches or require the user to arbitrarily set suboptimal service level targets, Smart Inventory Optimization prescribes the optimal service levels for you.  Users can optionally assign service level constraints to ensure the optimization engine respects business rules. SIO provides the required inventory planning parameters for a variety of replenishment policies such as Reorder Point/Order Quantity, Min/Max, Safety Stock Planning, and Order Up to levels.

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      With Smart Inventory Optimization you can:
      • Identify where you are overstocked and understocked.
      • Modify  planning parameters based on your business rules, service targets, and inventory budget.
      • Leverage the optimization logic in SIO to prescribe planning parameters and service levels for you.
      • Compare proposed policies to the benchmark.
      • Collaborate and develop a consensus inventory plan.
      • Automatically generate revised planning parameters as demand and other inputs change.