Smart Software to Present at Epicor Insights 2022

Smart Software President and CEO to present Epicor Insights 2022 Sessions on Creating Competitive Advantage with Smart Inventory Planning and Optimization

 

Belmont, MA, May, 2022 – Smart Software, Inc., provider of industry-leading demand forecasting, planning, and inventory optimization solutions, today announced that it will present at Epicor Insights 2022.

Greg Hartunian, CEO of Smart Software, will present two sessions and will explain Epicor Smart Inventory Planning and Optimization at this year’s Epicor Insights event in Nashville, TN. Greg will show how to empower planning teams to reduce inventory, improve service levels, and increase operational efficiency.

  • The Prophet 21 presentation is scheduled for Wed May 25th, 11:30 am -12:15 pm  (CST) 

Prophet 21 Smart Software to present at Epicor Insights 2022

Smart Software Kinetic 21 Session Greg CEO

  • The Kinetic presentation is scheduled for Wed May 25th, 2:30 pm – 3:20 pm (CST) 

Kinetic Smart Software to present at Epicor Insights 2022

 

If you plan to attend this year, please join us at either session below and learn more about Smart Inventory Planning and Optimization as we highlight valuable features in our solutions. Epicor Insights 2022 will bring together more than 2,000 users of Epicor’s industry-specific ERP solutions for the manufacturing, distribution, and service industries.  To learn more, visit INSIGHTS 2022.

Insights Team at work

Smart Software is an Epicor Platinum Partner and leading provider of demand planning, forecasting, inventory optimization, and analytics solutions. Our web platform, Smart IP&O, leverages probabilistic forecast modeling, machine learning, and collaborative demand planning to optimize inventory levels and increase forecast accuracy. You’ll use Smart IP&O to create accurate forecasts and optimal stocking policies that drive automated ordering in Epicor. The platform includes bi-directional integrations to both Epicor ERP and Prophet 21.

 

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 Otis Elevator, Mitsubishi, Siemens, Disney, FedEx, MARS, and The Home Depot.  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.

 


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

 

 

Smart Software to Present at Epicor Insights 2021

Smart Software President and CEO to present Epicor Insights 2021 Breakout Session on Creating Competitive Advantage with Smart Inventory Planning and Optimization

 

Belmont, MA, June, 2021 – Smart Software, Inc., provider of industry-leading demand forecasting, planning, and inventory optimization solutions, today announced that it will present at Epicor Insights 2021.

Greg Hartunian, CEO of Smart Software, will present “Creating Competitive Advantage with Smart Inventory Planning and Optimization.” Greg will explain how to empower planning teams to reduce inventory, improve service levels, and increase operational efficiency. Most inventory planning teams rely upon traditional forecasting approaches, rule of thumb methods, and sales feedback on demand. Our Breakout Session at Epicor Insights discusses these approaches, why they often fail, and how new probabilistic forecasting and optimization methods can make a big difference to your bottom line.

  • The presentation is scheduled for Wed July 14th 10:25 -11:15 AM  (PST) 

1 Epicor Inventory Mangement Platinum Partner

Epicor Insights 2021 will bring together more than 2,000 users of Epicor’s industry-specific ERP solutions for the manufacturing, distribution, and service industries.  To learn more, visit INSIGHTS 2021.

 Join us at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, at the Solution Pavilion,  Booth #1.

3 Epicor Inventory Mangement Platinum Partner

 

2 Epicor Inventory Mangement Platinum Partner

 

Smart Software is an Epicor Platinum Partner and leading provider of demand planning, forecasting, inventory optimization, and analytics solutions. Our web platform, Smart IP&O, leverages probabilistic forecast modeling, machine learning, and collaborative demand planning to optimize inventory levels and increase forecast accuracy. You’ll use Smart IP&O to create accurate forecasts and optimal stocking policies that drive automated ordering in Epicor. The platform includes bi-directional integrations to both Epicor ERP and Prophet 21.

 

 

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 Otis Elevator, Mitsubishi, Siemens, Disney, FedEx, MARS, and The Home Depot.  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.

 


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

 

 

Backing into Safety Stock is the Safe Play

The Smart Forecaster

 Pursuing best practices in demand planning,

forecasting and inventory optimization

We frequently encounter confusion about the process of setting safety stock levels. This blog hopes to clarify the issue.

Safety stock is a critical component in any system of inventory management. Indeed, some inventory software treats safety stock as the key decision variable in the quest to balance inventory cost against item availability. Unfortunately, that approach is not the best way to strike the balance.

First, realize that safety stock is part of a general equation:

Inventory Target = Average Lead Time Demand + Safety Stock.

Average Lead Time Demand is defined as the average units demanded multiplied by the average replenishment lead time. Example: If daily demand averages 2 units and the average lead time is 7 days, then the average lead time demand is 2 x 7= 14 units. Keeping 14 units on hand suffices to handle typical demand.

But we all know that demand is random, so keeping enough stock on hand to cover the average lead time demand invites stockouts. As we like to say, “The average is not the answer.” The smart answer is to add in some safety stock to accommodate any random spikes in demand. But how much?

There’s the problem. If you try to guesstimate a number for the safety stock, you are on thin ice. How do you know what the “right” number is?  You may think that you don’t have to worry about that because you have a good-enough answer now, but that answer has a sell-by date. Lead times change. So do demand patterns. So do company priorities. That means today’s good answer may become tomorrow’s blunder.

Some companies try to wing it using a crude rule of thumb approach. For instance, they may say something like “Set safety stock at an additional two weeks of average demand.” This approach is seductive: It only needs simple math, and it is clear.  But for the reasons listed in the previous paragraph, it’s foolish. Better to get a good answer than a convenient answer.

You need a principled, objective way to answer the question that takes account of the mathematics of randomness.  More than that, you need an answer that is linked to the key performance indicators (KPI’s) of the system: inventory cost and item availability.

Simple logic gives you some sense of the answer, but it doesn’t provide the number you need. You know that more safety stock increases both cost and availability, while less safety stock decreases both. But without knowing how much those metrics will change if you change the safety stock, you have no way to align the safety stock decision with management’s intent for striking the balance between cost and availability.

Rather than flying blind, you can back into the choice of safety stock by first finding the right choice for inventory target. Once you’ve done that, the safety stock pops out by a simple subtraction:

 Safety Stock = Inventory Target – Average Lead Time Demand.

Manager In Warehouse With ClipboardOften times, companies will state that they don’t carry safety stock because the safety stock field in their ERP system is blank. Nearly always, safety stock is built into the targeted inventory level they have established.  So, using the above formula to “back out” how much safety stock you are building into the plan is quite helpful.  The key is not just to know how much safety stock you are carrying but the link between your inventory target, safety stocks, and its corresponding KPI’s.

For instance, suppose you can tolerate only a 5% chance of stocking out while waiting for replenishment (inventory texts call this interval the “period of risk.”). Software can examine the demand history of each item and work out the odds of stockout based on the thousands of different demand scenarios that can occur during the lead time. Then the right answer for the inventory target is the choice that leads to no more than a 5% stockout risk. Given that target and knowing the average lead time demand, the appropriate safety stock value falls right out by subtraction. You also get to know the average holding, ordering and shortage costs.

That’s what we mean by “backing into the safety stock.” Start with company objectives, determine the appropriate inventory target, then derive the safety stock as the last step. Don’t start with a guess about safety stock and hope for the best.

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    Gaming Out Your Logistical Response to the Corona Virus

    The Smart Forecaster

     Pursuing best practices in demand planning,

    forecasting and inventory optimization

    ​As the world holds its breathe to see how the new corona virus (2019-nCOV) will play out, we cross our fingers for all those currently in quarantine or under treatment and pray that health authorities around the world will soon get the upper hand.

    This short note is about one way your business can develop a plan to adjust to one of the likely fallouts from the virus: sudden increases in the time it takes to get inventory replenishment from suppliers. Supply chains around the world are being disrupted. If this happens to you, how can you react in a systematic way?

    Reacting to Longer Lead Times

    This is a problem that can be solved using advanced supply chain analytics. Presumably, you may have already used this technology to make good choices for the control parameters used in managing all your inventory items, e.g., values for Min and Max or Reorder Point and Order Quantity. The specific technical question addressed here is how to convert an increase in replenishment lead time to changes in those control parameters.

    In general, longer lead times require fatter inventories if you want to maintain a high level of customer service. This general rule translates into larger values of Min and/or Max. How much larger depends critically on what new, longer lead time values will appear and their probabilities of occurring.

    While many planning software systems assume a fixed lead time, the reality is that almost all lead times have some degree of randomness. Typically, ignoring that randomness increases stockout risk, so having a good estimate of the probability distribution of lead times is important. In normal times, your transactional data can be used to estimate that relationship. But sudden disruptions like 2019-nCOV create unprecedented situations in which you have to make educated guesses about what new delays you will see and how likely they are. We will assume here that you can imagine some such scenarios and want to figure out how to best respond to them.

    An Example using Advanced Software

    To illustrate this type of prospective planning, consider a hypothetical example. One item, a spare part, has an established pattern of replenishment lead times, with delays of 5, 10 and 15 days occurring with 15%, 70% and 15% probabilities, respectively. Given this distribution and a random demand averaging one unit every 5 days, values of Min = 5 and Max = 10 do a good job. Figure 1 shows a simulation of 10 years of daily operation under this scenario. Fill rate and service level are high, and stockouts are infrequent.

    Now suppose that disruptions in the supply chain create a less favorable distribution of lead time, with a 50:50 mix of 15 and 30 days. Figure 2 shows how badly the current values of Min and Max perform in this new scenario. Fill rate and service level plummet due to frequent stockouts. Operating costs more than triple due to penalties for backorders. Only inventory investment (the average dollar value of stock on the shelf) seems to get better, but this happens only because so often there are backorders with nothing left on the shelf. The shift to longer lead times clearly requires new higher values of Min and Max.

    Figure 3 shows how the system performs when the Min is increased from 5 to 10 and the Max from 10 to 15. This change compensates for the longer lead times, restoring the previous high levels of fill rate and service level. Inventory investment is necessarily greater, but operating costs are actually lower than before.

    Summary

    Changes in normal operating conditions require adjustments in the way inventory items are managed. One such change looming large on this date is the potential impact of the 2019-nCOV Corona virus on supply chains, with anticipated increases in replenishment lead times.

    Changes in lead times require changes in inventory control parameters such as Min’s and Max’s. These changes are difficult to make with any confidence using pure guesswork. But with some estimate of the increase in lead times, you can use advanced software to learn how to make these adjustments with some confidence.

    This note illustrates this point using simulations of the daily operation of an inventory control system.

    Figure 1 Simulation of normal operations using current replenishment lead times, Min and Max

    Figure 2 Simulation of abnormal operations using longer lead times and current Min and Max

    Figure 3 Simulation of abnormal operations using longer lead times and revised Min and Max

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    Goldilocks Inventory Levels

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    You may remember the story of Goldilocks from your long-ago youth. Sometimes the porridge was too hot, sometimes it was too cold, but just once it was just right. Now that we are adults, we can translate that fairy tale into a professional principle for inventory planning: There can be too little or too much inventory, and there is some Goldilocks level that is “just right.” This blog is about finding that sweet spot.

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      There is a way your business can develop a plan to adjust increasing Demand. Cloud computing companies with unique server and hardware parts, e-commerce, online retailers, home and office supply companies, onsite furniture, power utilities, intensive assets maintenance or warehousing for water supply companies have increased their activity during the pandemic.Delivery service companies, cleaning services, liquor stores and canned or jarred goods warehouses, home improvement stores, gardening suppliers, yard care companies, hardware, kitchen and baking supplies stores, home furniture suppliers with high demand are facing stockouts, long lead times, inventory shortage costs, higher operating costs and ordering costs. Garages selling car parts and truck parts, pharmaceuticals, healthcare or medical supply manufacturers and safety product suppliers are dealing with increasing demand.

      Smart Software has been named an Epicor platinum partner, the highest designation in the ISV Partner Program

      Smart Software named an Epicor platinum partner, the highest designation in the ISV Partner Program

      Belmont, Mass., January  2020 –  Smart Software is pleased to announce that it has been named an Epicor platinum partner as a leading provider of demand planning and inventory optimization solutions.  Epicor ERP customers leverage Smart’s web native platform for Inventory Planning and Optimization (Smart IP&O) to develop consensus forecasts, manage demand, and optimize stocking policies.

      “Smart Software helps Epicor ERP customers by delivering business analytics for inventory modeling and forecasting. Having too much or not enough inventory are costly problems that typically require a great deal of manual planning and costs. Using Smart IP&O, our customers are able to automate manual planning processes, forecast demand more accurately, and shape inventory strategy to align with the business objectives.” notes Jennifer Schulze, VP Product Marketing, Epicor

      Smart Software’s certified bi-directional integration to Epicor ERP makes all transactional data in Epicor such as shipments, sales orders, supplier receipts, inventory on hand, and more, available in Smart IP&O’s data model for analysis.  Smart IP&O leverages field-proven analytics, probabilistic modeling, and the latest advancements in  forecasting technology to predict future demand, prescribe optimal stocking policies, and identify opportunities for operational improvement.  Users can transfer forecast results, order quantities, and stocking policies to Epicor ERP in a few mouse-clicks.

      Greg Hartunian, CEO of Smart Software stated “In today’s supply chain, traditional forecast modeling, rule of thumb inventory planning approaches, and Excel spreadsheets just don’t cut it anymore.  It’s no longer enough to simply manage your inventory.  Customers leveraging Smart IP&O are better able to effectively  wield inventory assets, improve their operations, lower costs, improve customer service, and outperform the competition. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Epicor to help our joint customers achieve these key benefits.”

      Epicor-Alliance-ISV-Partner-Platinum-RGB-Logo-0518

      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 Otis Elevator, Mitsubishi, Siemens, Disney, FedEx, MARS, and The Home Depot.  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.


      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