Dynamics Smart IP&O

Next-Gen Cloud Solutions in Inventory Optimization

Available for Dynamics 365 Customers

In the following blog articles, we will learn to reduce stock-outs and inventory costs by leveraging data-driven decisions that identify the financial trade-offs associated with changes in demand, lead times, service level targets, and costs.

Extend Microsoft 365 F&SC and AX with Smart IP&O

Extend Microsoft 365 F&SC and AX with Smart IP&O

Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&SC and AX can manage replenishment by suggesting what to order and when via reorder point-based inventory policies. A challenge that customers face is that efforts to maintain these levels are very detailed oriented and that the ERP system requires that the user manually specify these reorder points and/or forecasts. In this article, we will review the inventory ordering functionality in AX / D365 F&SC, explain its limitations, and summarize how to reduce inventory, minimize and controlle stockouts.

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Extend Microsoft 365 BC and NAV with Smart IP&O

Extend Microsoft 365 BC and NAV with Smart IP&O

Microsoft 365 BC and NAV can manage replenishment by suggesting what to order and when via reorder point-based inventory policies. The problem is that the ERP system requires that the user manually specify these reorder points and/or forecasts. In this article, we will review the inventory ordering functionality in Microsoft BC & NAV, explain its limitations, and summarize how to reduce inventory, and minimize stockouts by providing the robust predictive functionality that is missing in Dynamics 365.

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Recent Posts

  • 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. […]
  • Randomness can be an Ally in the Forecasting BattleCan Randomness be an Ally in the Forecasting Battle?
    When we try to understand the complex world of logistics, randomness plays a pivotal role. This introduces an interesting paradox: In a reality where precision and certainty are prized, could the unpredictable nature of supply and demand actually serve as a strategic ally? The quest for accurate forecasts is not just an academic exercise; it's a critical component of operational success across numerous industries. For demand planners who must anticipate product demand, the ramifications of getting it right—or wrong—are critical. Hence, recognizing and harnessing the power of randomness isn't merely a theoretical exercise; it’s a necessity for resilience and adaptability in an ever-changing environment. […]

    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. […]

    Challenges: Addressing the Root Causes of Inventory Pain

    Logo for Statistical modeling and optimization

    Intermittent Demand

    Highly variable & intermittent demands make consistently accurate projections all but impossible. Countless hours are spent trying to anticipate what will come next rather than calibrating the organization’s risk tolerance and harnessing that information to determine required levels of supply.  Intermittent demand – also known as lumpy, volatile, variable or unpredictable demand – have many zero or low volume values interspersed with random spikes of demand that are often many times larger than the average.  Intermittent demand makes it difficult to accurately forecast demand and inventory requirements because there aren’t any inherent patterns.  And any patterns that may exist are overwhelmed by the random spikes in demand.  Many companies make the mistake of “chasing the forecast” insisting that sales or technicians provide better estimates of demand or turn to unreliable forecasting techniques in a quest to predict the next spike.  Many resort to forecasting inventory requirements such as Min/Max levels and Reorder Points relying primarily on subjective business knowledge and simple “rule of thumb” estimates.  The result is that millions of dollars are wasted every year because of either excess inventory costs or poor customer service due to stock-outs

    Cone Icon

    Ad Hoc Process

    The failure to establish common metrics makes it difficult to adjudicate conflicting priorities. For example, Finance may prefer to conserve cash, while Sales and Maintenance insist that they never stock out. The result is often a test of wills with forecast and inventory planners caught in the middle. This often results in decision making based on a pain avoidance response. For example, order quantities will often go up immediately following a stockout to ensure the outage never recurs. This tends to be a one-way ratchet until inventory carrying costs become an obvious drain of much needed cash. When inventory is out of balance, finger pointing often results. Operations is often stuck in the middle between sales and finance. Without a clear direction from the executive team on service goals, inventory budgets, and an insistence that sales and finance come to the table knowing that tradeoffs will have to be made, the planning team becomes disempowered and the cycle continues. An objective, quantifiable performance measure such as service level changes the discussion, putting a dollar valued on a negotiable level of service.

    Rule of Thumb ICON

    Rule of Thumb

    Safety stock levels, reorder points, lead times, and order quantity directly influence the service vs. cost relationship. Every day, the ERP system makes purchase order suggestions and manufacturing orders based on these drivers.  Ensuring that these inputs are understood and optimized will generate better returns on inventory assets.  Organizations that are able to do so will see improvements in service and reductions in inventory costs.  Unfortunately, the specific inventory policy being utilized is often unclear to many management teams.  In absence of a clearly defined and communicated policy,  planners are forced to develop their own unique approaches.  These self-developed approaches are most often a combination of simple rules of thumb and institutional knowledge. Inventory executives are simply ill equipped to shape inventory according to the changing needs and priorities of the business.  Inventory costs balloon and service performance suffers when unable to answer questions such as: “What is my current reorder point and reorder quantity policy, what level of service and inventory cost will this policy yield in the future, and how will performance and costs be influenced by specific changes to the policy.”  Rule of thumb approaches don’t answer these questions.  In fact, they ignore the critical role of of demand and supply uncertainty.  This results in excess inventory for predictable items and more frequent stock outs on less predictable items.

    ICON SKU Proliferation

    SKU Proliferation

    Whether ordering a commonly demanded, inexpensive item of an expensive intermittently demanded item, today’s customers expect high customer service levels.  This means 100% of what is ordered must be shipped from stock or within a few days.  Quoting a delivery time of more than few days may result in a cancelled order and/or violation of service level agreement costing thousands and jeopardizing customer relationships. To remain competitive, companies often must maintain a very large catalog of items all with potentially different demand patterns and volumes.  Thousands of parts potentially stocked at dozens of locations means planners don’t have the bandwidth to proactively review inventory drivers.  This results in outdated reorder points, order quantities, min/max levels, and safety stocks that trigger replenishment at the wrong time for the wrong amount ensuring poor allocation of inventory investments and low planner productivity

    Smart Inventory Optimization

    Who is Inventory Optimization for?

    Smart Inventory Optimization is for executives and business savvy planners who seek to:

    • Yield maximum returns from inventory assets.
    • Address the problem of highly variable or intermittent demand.
    • Broker the service vs. cost tradeoffs between different departments.
    • Develop a repeatable and efficient inventory planning process.
    • Empower the team to ensure operational plan is aligned with strategic plan.
    What questions can Inventory Optimization answer?
    • What is the best service level achievable with the inventory budget?
    • What service levels will yield the maximum return?
    • If lead times increased, what would it cost to maintain service?
    • If I reduce inventory, what will the impact on service be?
    • If order quantity increases, what will the impact on service and costs be?
    • What is the order quantity that balances holding and ordering costs?
    Inventory forecasting for the inventory executive

    Smart Inventory Optimization empowers you to:

    • Predict service performance and inventory costs.
    • Assess business impact of “what-if” inventory policies.
    • Align inventory policy with corporate strategy.
    • Establish an operational framework that guides the planning team.
    • Reduce inventory and improve service.

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