Category Archives: Business Policy

The Trouble With Turns

In our travels around the industrial scene, we notice that many companies pay more attention to inventory Turns than they should. We would like to deflect some of this attention to more consequential performance metrics.
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Too Much or Too Little Inventory?

Gregory Hartunian Headshot

Smart Software President Gregory Hartunian

Do you know which items have too much or too little inventory? What if you knew? How would you go about cutting overstocks while still ensuring a competitive service level? Would you be able to reduce stockouts without incurring a prohibitively expensive inventory increase? How would these changes impact service levels, costs and turns—for individual items, groups of items and overall?

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Handling Extreme Supply Chain Variability at Rev-A-Shelf

Headshot of Rev-A-Shelf's John Engelhardt

John Engelhardt, Director of Purchasing and Asian Operations, Rev-A-Shelf

Does your extended supply chain suffer from extreme seasonal variability? Does this situation challenge your ability to meet service level commitments to your customers? I have grappled with this at Rev-A-Shelf, addressing unusual conditions created by Chinese New Year and other global events, and would like to share the experience and a few things I learned along the way.

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Demand Forecasting in a “Build to Order” Company

We often come into contact with potential customers who claim that they cannot use a forecasting system since they are a “build-to-order” manufacturing operation. I find this a puzzling perspective, because whatever these organizations build requires lower level raw materials or intermediate goods. If those lower level inputs are not available when an order for the finished good is received, the order cannot be built. Consequently, the order could be canceled and the associated revenue lost.

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Truth in Forecasting—Practical Advice at Year’s End

Head shot of Turbide

Consultant Dave Turbide

At year’s end, we are often caught up in thinking and planning for the coming year. Did 2013 turn out the way you expected? Will 2014 be dramatically different? Are there other factors—things we are planning to do; things we think our competitors might do; outside forces like changing taste, demographics or economics—that might change the course of business in the coming year?

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Recommended Reading: Cloud Software Helps Overcome Budget Constraints

Smart Software recently announced a Software as a Service (SaaS) option for SmartForecastsSFCloud™. Premises-based perpetual licenses will continue to be the preferred software implementation method for many organizations, but there are many reasons why demand for cloud-based solutions is taking off. A vintage post by Bill Richardson at ApplicantStack Team Blog summarizes key benefits of the SaaS model.

Recommended Reading: Excellence in Demand Planning

In a recent post at SupplyChainBrain, Robert Bowman takes a look at excellence in demand planning. Focusing on admirable qualities and techniques, it should be an interesting read for any demand planner seeking to improve his or her craft.

6 Essential Steps to Better Recovery Planning

Venn diagram illustratnig the inventory sweet spotAs we approach the midpoint in 2013, there is still a lot of economic uncertainty complicating your supply chain planning processes. Some look at this shaky  economy and postpone needed investments that can position their organizations for a strong future.

However, this is not the time to retreat from your supply chain improvement initiatives. Rather, it’s a time to double-down on your efforts to prepare for the inevitable business opportunities that lie ahead.

Economic recovery is a time of sales opportunities. You want to make sure that you’re prepared to take advantage of them. Good demand and inventory planning can help. Continue reading

Heroes of Disruptive Innovation

Are you a hero?

The executive suites at most companies are populated by leaders who became corporate “heroes.” These exceptional performers led—and continue to lead—transformative initiatives that drive revenue growth, reduce costs and increase shareholder value.

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Lessons From Superstorm Sandy

The destructive impact of Hurricane Sandy has been both staggering and instructive. Our thoughts and best wishes for rapid recovery go out to all who have suffered personal or economic loss or damage. Now, in Sandy’s aftermath, we find ourselves thinking about accelerating recovery and planning for the next unforeseen event.

Our work with clients in the heavily hit mass transit sector presented a sobering view of damaged infrastructure, heavy equipment, and losses of essential inventory. Those most affected have seen a crush of work as inventory managers take stock of what they have, what they need and procure a mountain of replacement parts and products. This uniquely massive replenishment cycle presents all sorts of opportunities and considerations. For those who are still in this phase, and to help our collective preparation for the Next Big Event, here are a few thoughts:

Morgan Drawbridge in South Amboy, NJ following Superstorm Sandy, damaged and strewn with wrecked watercraft

Morgan Drawbridge, South Amboy, NJ, following Superstorm Sandy
Photo courtesy njtransit.com

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Saving Billions? How Far the ‘Center for Innovation in Logistics Systems’ Might Take the US Army

Col. Parlier, in uniform

Dr. Greg Parlier (Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired)

Contributed to The Smart Forecaster by Dr. Greg Parlier (Colonel, U.S. Army, retired). Details on Dr. Parlier’s background conclude the post.

For over two decades, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has indicated that the Defense Department’s logistics management has been ineffective and wasteful, and that the Services lack strategic plans to improve overall inventory management and supply chain performance.

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