Discussing Intermittent Demand with Supply Chain Brain’s Bowman

The Smart Forecaster

Pursuing best practices in demand planning,

forecasting and inventory optimization

The unique challenges of inventory planning for spare parts, large capital goods and other infrequently or irregularly moving items drives the importance of finding smarter methods to forecast this kind of intermittent demand. Robert Bowman, Editor of Supply Chain Brain Magazine, and I discussed this topic at the October APICS conference in Denver, and video of our conversation is available at Supply Chain Brain‘s website.

Why plan for intermittent demand? Well, why plan for any demand? If you can understand what the likely range of demand will be until you can get more, you will know how much stock to keep in reserve, so you have just enough. This is the heart of demand forecasting and inventory optimization. Intermittent demand is exceptionally difficult to forecast, but this same principle holds true.

Unlike other demand patterns, where historical data suggests regular trends, ebbs and flows, seasonality or other discernible patterns, intermittent demand appears to be random. There are many periods of zero demand interspersed with irregular, non-zero demand. This occurs frequently with service parts, where parts are replaced when they break, and you just don’t know when that will occur. Most service parts inventories (70% or more!) can experience intermittent demand. Demand for specialized or configured products is also likely to be intermittent.

Supply Chain Brain has made the more in-depth discussion of this topic Bowman and I shared available here. For new visitors to Supply Chain Brain, a quick account sign-up is required to access the video.

Jeff Scott serves as Vice President, Marketing & Alliances for Smart Software.

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

Managing Inventory amid Regime Change

Managing Inventory amid Regime Change

If you hear the phrase “regime change” on the news, you immediately think of some fraught geopolitical event. Statisticians use the phrase differently, in a way that has high relevance for demand planning and inventory optimization. This blog is about “regime change” in the statistical sense, meaning a major change in the character of the demand for an inventory item.

Recent Posts

  • Top Five Tips for New Demand Planners and ForecastersTop Five Tips for New Demand Planners and Forecasters
    Good forecasting can make a big difference to your company’s performance, whether you are forecasting to support sales, marketing, production, inventory, or finance. This blog is aimed primarily at those fortunate individuals who are about to start this adventure. Welcome to the field! […]
  • Dynamics Community Summit eventSmart Software to Present at Community Summit North America
    Smart Software Channel Sales Director and Enterprise Solution Engineer, to present three sessions at this year’s Microsoft Dynamics Community Summit North America event in Orlando, FL. . […]