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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
Smart Software recently announced a Software as a Service (SaaS) option for SmartForecasts—SFCloud™. 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.
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.
As 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
Posted in Business Policy, Intermittent Demand
Tagged economic recovery, forecasting, forecasting technology, intermittent demand, lead time, optimizing inventory, S&OP, service levels, supply chain, supply chain planners
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.
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, South Amboy, NJ, following Superstorm Sandy
Photo courtesy njtransit.com
Posted in Business Policy, Intermittent Demand
Tagged damaged infrastructure, federal relief, forecasting, hurricane, insurance, intermittent demand, inventory, recovery, safety stock, sandy, service level, superstorm
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.
Posted in Business Policy, Guest Posts
Tagged analytics, armed services, decision support, efficiency, ERP, force readiness, innovation, inventory levels, logistics, management information, organizational design, performance analysis, supply chain, US Army