Smart Software and Optimum Consulting Announce Strategic Partnership

Belmont, Mass., May 2023 – Smart Software, Inventory optimization, demand planning, and forecasting software leader, and Optimum Consulting, today announced their partnership to address the supply chain planning needs of the Manufacturing, Wholesale, and Retail industries in Australia and New Zealand. Optimum Consulting will sell and deploy Smart’s next-generation cloud platform, Smart Inventory Planning & Optimization (Smart IP&O™), as an integral part of its Sales, Operations, and Inventory Planning (SIOP) practice.

Smart Software is a Microsoft Co-sell-ready partner and, over the years, has created a flawless connector to integrate tools with Microsoft Dynamics. The integration brings the cloud-based Smart IP&O (Inventory Planning and Optimization) into the latest version of Microsoft Dynamic solution. By seamlessly integrating strategic planning in Smart IP&O with operational execution in Dynamics, business users can continuously predict, respond, and plan more effectively in today’s uncertain business environment. Smart’s unique approach to planning intermittent demand is especially impactful for public utilities and transit agencies, given the prevalence of spare parts with highly sporadic, seemingly unforecastable usage.

Optimum Consulting is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Solutions Partner who is totally committed to the Manufacturing, Wholesale, and Retail industries in Australia and New Zealand. The Team’s experts help clients build agile operating models, drive business process improvements, and turn customers into advocates by delivering end-to-end Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Apps, Business Intelligence & Analytics, and Managed Services Solutions.

“Smart Software helps our customers by delivering insightful business analytics for inventory modeling and forecasting that drive ordering and replenishment in the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics. With Smart IP&O, our customers gain a means to shape inventory strategy to align with the business objectives while empowering their planning teams to reduce inventory and improve service,” says  Matthew Lingard, CEO at  Optimum Consulting

“Maximizing the benefits our solutions can provide requires the expertise and perspective to consider requirements, set goals, and to develop the supporting business process that ensures adoption and benefits. These are the qualities that The New Partner brings to the table and we look forward to our joint success,”…. says Greg Hartunian, President, and CEO at Smart Software

 

About Smart Software, Inc.

Founded in 1981, Smart Software, Inc. is a leader in providing businesses with enterprise-wide demand forecasting, planning and inventory optimization solutions.  Smart Software’s demand forecasting and inventory optimization solutions have helped thousands of users worldwide, including customers at mid-market enterprises and Fortune 500 companies, such as Disney, Arizona Public Service, and Ameren.  Smart Inventory Planning & Optimization gives demand planners the tools to handle sales seasonality, promotions, new and aging products, multi-dimensional hierarchies, and intermittently demanded service parts and capital goods items.  It also provides inventory managers with accurate estimates of the optimal inventory and safety stock required to meet future orders and achieve desired service levels.  Smart Software is headquartered in Belmont, Massachusetts and can be found on the World Wide Web at www.smartcorp.com.

 

About the Partner, Inc.

Optimum Consulting is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Solutions Partner who is totally committed to the Manufacturing, Wholesale, and Retail industries in Australia and New Zealand. The Team’s experts help clients build agile operating models, drive business process improvements, and turn customers into advocates by delivering end-to-end Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Apps, Business Intelligence & Analytics, and Managed Services Solutions. The Team’s functional expertise covers eCommerce, Retail, Pricing & Promotions, Customer Data Platform, Customer Journey Mapping, Customer Experience, Forecasting & Master Planning, Advanced Warehouse, and Production Planning.  Optimum Consulting’s technical capabilities span across Commerce Design and Development, Commerce Server, Point of Sale (POS) Development, Finance and Supply Chain Management (SCM) Development, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Data Warehouse and Data Lake, and related Microsoft Cloud solutions.

 

 


For more information, please contact Smart Software, Inc., Four Hill Road, Belmont, MA 02478.
Phone: 1-800-SMART-99 (800-762-7899); FAX: 1-617-489-2748; E-mail: info@smartcorp.com

 

 

A Check on Forecast Automation with the Attention Index

The Smart Forecaster

Pursuing best practices in demand planning,

forecasting and inventory optimization

A new metric we call the “Attention Index” will help forecasters identify situations where “data behaving badly” can distort automatic statistical forecasts (see adjacent poem). It quickly identifies those items most likely to require forecast overrides—providing a more efficient way to put business experience and other human intelligence to work maximizing the accuracy of forecasts. How does it work?

Classical forecasting methods, such as the various flavors of exponential smoothing and moving averages, insist on a leap of faith. They require that we trust present conditions to persist into the future. If present conditions do persist, then it is sensible to use these extrapolative methods—methods which quantify the current level, trend, seasonality and “noise” of a time series and project them into the future.

But if they do not persist, extrapolative methods can get us into trouble. What had been going up might suddenly be going down. What used to be centered around one level might suddenly jump to another. Or something really odd might happen that is entirely out of pattern. In these surprising circumstances, forecast accuracy deteriorates, inventory calculations go wrong and general unhappiness ensues.

One way to cope with this problem is to rely on more complex forecasting models that account for external factors that drive the variable being forecasted. For instance, sales promotions attempt to disrupt buying patterns and move them in a positive direction, so including promotion activity in the forecasting process can improve sales forecasting. Sometimes macroeconomic indicators, such as housing starts or inflation rates, can be used to improve forecast accuracy. But more complex models require more data and more expertise, and they may not be useful for some problems—such as managing parts or subsystems, rather than finished goods.

If one is stuck using simple extrapolative methods, it is useful to have a way to flag items that will be difficult to forecast. This is the Attention Index. As the name suggests, items to be forecast with a high Attention Index require special handling—at least a review, and usually some sort of forecast adjustment.

 

 

The Attention Index detects three types of problems:

An outlier in the demand history of an item.
An abrupt change in the level of an item.
An abrupt change in the trend of an item.
Using software like SmartForecasts™, the forecaster can deal with an outlier by replacing it with a more typical value.

An abrupt change in level or trend can be dealt with by omitting, from the forecasting calculations, all data from before the “rupture” in the demand pattern—assuming that the item has switched into a new regime that renders the older data irrelevant.

While no index is perfect, the Attention Index does a good job of focusing attention on the most problematic demand histories. This is demonstrated in the two figures below, which were produced with data from the M3 Competition, well known in the forecasting world. Figure 1 shows the 20 items (out of the contest’s 3,003) with the highest Attention Index scores; all of these have grotesque outliers and ruptures. Figure 2 shows the 20 items with the lowest Attention Index scores; most (but not all) of the items with low scores have relatively benign patterns.

If you have thousands of items to forecast, the new Attention Index will be very useful for focusing your attention on those items most likely to be problematic.

Thomas Willemain, PhD, co-founded Smart Software and currently serves as Senior Vice President for Research. Dr. Willemain also serves as Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and as a member of the research staff at the Center for Computing Sciences, Institute for Defense Analyses.

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