Inventory Planning Blog

Advanced Inventory Planning the Easy Way for SAP Business One

Posted on Mon, Oct 06,2014@10:00 AM

SAP Business One, inventory planning, inventory optimization, valogix, cloudSAP Business One includes an MRP module for planning needs in a manufacturing environment. retailers and wholesale distributors also use the on-board functionality. Discover an affordable, seamlessly integrated inventory optimization solution to SAP Business One from Valogix.

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Tags: Inventory Planning, SAP, SAP Business One, cloud, inventory optimization

Multi-Echelon Inventory Planning for NetSuite

Posted on Tue, Sep 02,2014@10:09 AM

NetSuite, Valogix, inventory planning, inventory optimization, cloud, SaaSNetSuite inventory management software offers inventory management, manufacturing, and purchasing capabilities that can help improve supply chain management. Now, available with multiple location capabilities it offers more for growing and larger companies.

However, you may want to explore how a more advanced inventory planning and optimization solution can further improve your supply chain performance. NetSuite recognized Valogix with their 2013 Supply Chain Partner of the year Award for successfully providing dynamic, automated multi-echelon planning and optimization.

Organizations with large inventory operations work with multiple levels of supply.  Central sites purchase and stock most of the items.  Slow-moving and less important items can be sent quickly to remote sites when needed, while fast-moving items are stored closer to the customer to enable more rapid customer service.

Advantages of the “multi-echelon” supply chain planning include:
  • Consolidating inventory reduces the quantity required
  • Consolidating purchasing gives greater leverage to obtain discounts from suppliers
  • Balanced stock mix at all locations
However, multi-echelon planning brings considerable complications as well.  How much of a particular item should be stocked at each location?  How should the company support transfers of stock from one location to another?  If an item is on short supply, how should it be allocates down from the central warehouse to other locations? How does multi-channel selling (know an omni-channel) to the customer effect the distribution of stock?

Inventory planning for finished goods has become more complex and costly. The ever-increasing number of new Items (SKUs), changing demand patterns, and increasing transportation costs are taking a toll on a distributor’s bottom line.  Especially difficult is planning items used both in kits and sold separately. Further complexity comes from planning for multiple locations and accounting for substitutes and supersedes. 

NetSuite, Valogix, inventory planning, inventory optimizationAssume we have three locations supplied by a master warehouse, which has a planning horizon of 90 days. It also has a forecast of 90 units for that three-month period for an item.

Through the advanced algorithms in VALOGIX Inventory Planner, we can predict that:

• Location 1 will place a replenishment order for 30 units 16 days from now;
• Location 2 will place an order for 20 units in 27 days;
• Location 3 will place an order for 40 units in 7 days.

It is not just about having visibility and the capability to manually set safety stock and min/max levels for multiple locations. It is about having the right, balanced mix of items at the proper location at the right time. Using inventory optimization to dynamically plan and replenish multiple locations is a much better, proven method. That fact that the optimization is automated dramatically improves productivity and reaction time to changing demand.

What inventory optimization does is balance the investment in an inventory with the fill-rate (service level) goals of a company across all locations. There are also financial considerations, constraints that can also be applied in the development of the algorithm. These highly complex algorithms work behind the scene so as not to confuse the user or make them fearful of using optimization to help manage their inventory.

We have determined that you can dramatically improve the effectiveness of the optimization algorithms by adding heuristics into the overall process equation. Heuristic refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery. Heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution, where an exhaustive search is impractical. Valogix incorporates heuristics into all processes.

So consider the capabilities carefully when planning multiple locations:

Valogix automates the entire inventory planning process:
  • Forecasting & Planning – every item at every location
  • Stock Level Setting – considers forecast, lead time, order frequency,
  • Desired service level and variability in demand
  • Replenishment - Purchase Orders, Production Orders, Stock Transfers
Optimization – cost reduction & control - strategic planning analytics
  • Easy to use and highly effective
  • Avoids disruptions from costly stock-outs
  • Exception based – alerts warn of potential future issues
  • Planning Groups give unparalleled planning control & flexibility
Time-phase plans all items at all locations simultaneously
  • Items used in B.O.M.s and Kits as well as those sold independently
  • Back-schedules to cover longest lead time of components
  • Considers substitutes and supersedes
  • Synchronized planning for smooth-flow inventory availability
The customer results of using Valogix inventory planning and optimization show they achieve:
  • Reduced inventory by 20% to 40% or more usually within 6 months or less
  • Reduced expediting and emergency shipments by 35% or more
  • Improved productivity by reducing planning time by 60% to 80% or more
  • Controlled and reduced replenishment spending by 15% or more
  • Improved service levels by having the right items available when your customers want them by 5% to 15% or greater
  • Reduced stock-outs by 15% - 30% or higher
  • Increased sales of 15% to 15% or more
  • Reduction in cost of goods by 5% to 10% due to improved vendor relations

Download our e-book  The State of Inventory Planning

   
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Tags: Inventory Planning, cloud, inventory optimization, SaaS

Indecision Regarding Your Inventory Planning Strategy?

Posted on Tue, Jul 01,2014@10:36 AM

inventory planning, SaaS, cloud, Valogix, inventory optimizationAs the president or owner of a company, you are expected to lead, and in most cases, make all the decisions. It’s not easy sitting at the top with employees and customers depending on you to make the right call. But here you are faced with many challenges including tough local and global economies, a growing number of new items, inactive and obsolete stock and other daunting inventory issues.

Up to now, you have relied on spreadsheets and reports and maybe a basic or old business management system. You know mistakes have been made, costly ones that cost you both in cash and in losing customers. There is no IT department in-house to help you determine if a new ERP or Accounting solution is required or an inventory forecasting solution or maybe a more advanced inventory planning and optimization solutions.

So, you sit there and consternate on what to do. What move to make next. Time passes, months go by and still you are in the same position facing the same but growing issues and decisions. Does it really matter that you are maintaining the status quo? The business is doing Ok. It could be doing better but you are so busy there is no time to stop and think.

inventory planning, Valogix, SaaS, cloud, inventory managementWell, this lull in decision making is costing you a lot more than you think. Every day that you delay in upgrading your business processes and software solutions costs you, time, money and customers. Today ERP systems like NetSuite, SAP Business One, Sage and a host of others really do make a difference. They help to provide the visibility and data required for quicker, more correct decisions. NetSuite, for example, is a hosted cloud-based solution which makes it affordable and fast to implement requiring no additional hardware and IT support in your company.

Augmenting those systems are the modern advanced inventory planning and optimization solutions. Many are seamlessly integrated into these systems making them a richer, more intelligent system and one that is easier to implement. A few of truly cloud-based built more the ground up taking advantage of modern tools and technologies.

Basically, advanced inventory planning and optimization solutions automate the entire inventory planning process. These systems automatically import data from the master system, generate a forecast, optimize the inventory and create inventory replenishment requirements. Optimization is very important because it balances inventory investment with customer service levels. It makes the hard decisions for you and presents the data in easy to understand formats.

inventory planning, inventory optimization, cloud, SaaS, NetSuite, ValogixYou can save a lot of time and money, reduce overstocks and avoid buying more of the wrong items. It will impact your bottom line cash flow and help increase your competitive advantage. All really good things and all you need to do is unfreeze yourself and make the decision to get your business software up to date. Procrastination is easy telling yourself tomorrow is the day. Doing can be just as easy!

Download our e-book  The State of Inventory Planning
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Tags: Inventory Planning, cloud, SaaS, NetSuite, Valogix, Spreadsheets, Inventory Planning Solutions

Inventory Management - a New Year & New & Better Times

Posted on Mon, Jan 06,2014@10:00 AM

Inventory Planning and Optimization the Key to Your Inventory Success

inventory planning, inventory optimization, cloud, SaaS, ValogixWell, it’s a new year that brings slowly improving global economies. In these challenging times, it is important to balance short term resilience with longer term needs. You will hear a lot about reducing costs, buying less, increasing productivity, improving cash flow and more. It is important to keep these inventory objectives balanced and in perspective. Yes, currently, times are interesting but, as economic growth gains momentum you will need to improve your competitive advantage.

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Tags: cloud, inventory optimization, advanced inventory planning solutions, cloud computing, inventory management, Inventory Planning Solutions

Reports and Spreadsheets Have a Place in Inventory Planning

Posted on Tue, Nov 05,2013@10:00 AM

But not for primary forecasting and replenishment planning

Reports and spreadsheets should be used to provide a basic level of information. However, many companies and planners use reports & spreadsheets to completely manage their inventory. To understand the use of these tools on effectiveness and efficiency in inventory planning let’s explore each one independently.

Reportsspreadsheet, forecasting, Valogix
Many ERP and accounting systems have many standard reports that provide useful information. Usually, however, a company will create or build custom reports either in-house or through their 3rd party IT provider (Value Added Reseller – VAR). OK, so this may help because it provides a level of detail that a company or planner feels is necessary to better manage the inventory.

Assume your outside IT firm builds the report. It costs $5,000 to develop. Let’s also assume it is refreshed, updated, each day. Now what? This is static data and yes it is current but it just sits there and provides no efficiency for the planner. The planner must review and decide what the data suggests and what to do with the data.

But the real cost is much higher than the cost to develop the report. Every report, like spreadsheets must be maintained. Much like a car, the purchase price is just the beginning. Hours of a planner’s time are spent pouring over the results to make decisions. You need to count those hours as an associated cost. So, if a planner is paid say $45,000 per year, plus taxes and benefits the total annual cost is over $50,000. If 35% of a planner’s time is spent reviewing just the reports to manage the inventory, then the first year cost is $5,000 + $17,500 = $22,500. That is some expensive report. Are you getting your money’s worth? You still may not be done.

Most people who have reports will export the data from the report into a spreadsheet so they can better manipulate the data. Here is where the fun comes in.

Spreadsheets
The data from the report is now in the spreadsheet that you spent countless hours creating. The formulas in the cells calculate the numbers you need to evaluate your inventory and plan out the replenishments required.

The dangers inherent in spreadsheets are:
1.    Lack of Control
2.    Errors from:

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Tags: cloud, replenishment planning, forecasting, reports, Valogix, Spreadsheets

Advanced Inventory Solutions Complement ERP Systems

Posted on Tue, Aug 27,2013@12:01 PM

inventory optimization, inventory planning, ROI, Valogix, ERPAdvanced inventory planning solutions are known as decision support software. This means they are smart systems that forecast and plan optimal inventory requirements. They are superior to commonly used types of software; standard inventory transaction software and spreadsheets. Many of these solutions are both strategic and tactical tools. They cover long range inventory budget planning down to daily replenishment and problem solving.
 
Comparison to Spreadsheets
 
inventory planning, spreadsheet, Valogix, NetSuite, SAP, inventory optimizationSpreadsheets are manual, time consuming. They do not provide intelligent part mix management and part specific forecasts. In addition, spreadsheets are extremely difficult to update and maintain current data effectively, plus they normally cannot be interfaced directly with enterprise and customer relationship software. Conducting quality assurance on the calculations and models is also difficult and based on a study by a leading international consulting firms over 90% of spreadsheets they audited contained significant errors. These errors led to the loss of millions of dollars.
 
Comparison with Standard Inventory Management other or Control Systems
 
Almost every inventory solution is a transaction (accounting) type system. This means they keep track of the physical movement of items on and off the shelf. These are “dumb” systems, meaning they are static and cannot intelligently determine what to stock, project demand, or create a complete replenishment plan. These systems are based on 40 year old plus, methods using ABC as the only part classification technique. They do not have leading-edge Exception Management capabilities which provide "alerts" to the User for unusually occurrences.
 
What Inventory Management Software can do:
 
• keep basic part information like: part number, description, cost, dimensions, etc.
• track parts movement: received, on order, on shelf, removed from the shelf, etc.
• provide a basic reorder point and min/max settings
• record the different bin locations where parts are stored
• provide an order for new parts needed, using standard reorder point, min/max, and safety stock
 
What Inventory Management Software cannot do:
 
• provide a system generated forecast or offer multiple advanced forecasting methods
• manage repair parts and their repair cycle (reverse logistics)
• provide an optimal inventory mix to improve service level while reducing cost
• offer multiple stocking and reordering policies
• manage parts specifically required for PM (preventative maintenance) schedules
• help to reduce overstock and excess part inventory
• manage by exception and provide key user alerts.
 
What Advanced Inventory Planning Solutions CAN DO:
 
• forecast parts demand with multiple models appropriate for different demand patterns
• plan for unlimited part and location combinations (scalable)
• provide advanced calculations for calculating shelf stock and reorder points
• calculate the optimal mix based on dynamic demand changes
• provide time phased plans and order for both new and repair items
• manage by exception and provide alerts to the planner
• identify overstock and excess inventory and provide redeployment strategies
• plan parts for preventative maintenance schedules
• multi-echelon or theatre planning - can plan at every stocking level both real and virtual
      (from master warehouse to stock kept with a field or service engineer)
• plan part life cycle, substitutes and supercedes, and end-of-life parts
 
Combining Transaction Systems + Advanced Planning Solutions
 
Advanced inventory planning, inventory optimization, Valogix, ROI, ERP, NetSuite, SAPplanning solutions do not replace the existing transaction systems. Instead, they are designed to complement and improve existing software. The best of all worlds is to add an advanced planning solution to an existing transaction system. This provides a more complete, robust system that dynamically plans based on what is happening now and projected for the future. Download our free whitepaper to find out more!

Read our DMP Smooth Flow Whitepaper
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Tags: Inventory Planning, cloud, inventory optimization, web based inventory software, cloud computing, Demand Planning, replenishment planning, Spreadsheets

Inventory Planning Feast or Famine

Posted on Mon, May 13,2013@10:00 AM

The vast majority of companies that own an inventory invariably use spreadsheets to control, manage and report. The types of companies vary from manufacturing, to wholesale distribution, to retail, to aftermarket services, to maintenance and repair operations. And this is true geographically and for companies from the very small to the largest. So why the fascination with spreadsheets?

I most cases, companies already own the software as part of a suite or as already installed on the computer they purchased. They are relatively low cost and have an abundance of features that make them attractive. It is also a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know”. Meaning, people are unaware of the availability of easy to use affordable, automated inventory planning software.

inventory planning, inventory optimization, Valogix, spreadhsheets, inventory managementThe dangers inherent in spreadsheets are:
Lack of Control
Errors from:

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Tags: Inventory Planning, cloud, inventory optimization, SaaS, Valogix, Spreadsheets

Greener Inventory Planning & Optimization

Posted on Mon, Apr 29,2013@10:00 AM

inventory planning, inventory optimization, Valogix, Saas, cloudGreener Inventory Planning & Optimization

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Tags: Inventory Planning, cloud, inventory optimization, SaaS, optimization, Valogix

Inventory Planning: Reports and Spreadsheets

Posted on Mon, Feb 04,2013@10:00 AM

Reports and Spreadsheets– An Unproductive Combination for Inventory Planning

Reports and spreadsheets should be used to provide a basic level of information. However, many companies and planners use reports & spreadsheets to completely manage their inventory. To understand the use of these tools on effectiveness and efficiency in inventory planning let’s explore each one independently.

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Tags: Inventory Planning, cloud, web based inventory software, NetSuite, Supply Chain Managment, IBM, mistakes, Spreadsheets

Inventory Planning and Optimization in the Cloud

Posted on Mon, Jan 28,2013@09:00 AM

Cloud Applications Going Forward

inventory planning, inventory forecasting, SAP, Netsuite, Sage, IBM, ValogixAdvances in technology have allowed previous concepts like Time-Sharing and Shared servers and services to become a reality. Cloud computing today has real meaning and positive impact for companies in a true global economy. The future is that more business applications for mobile computing will be available and virtual software appliances will be developed.

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Tags: Inventory Planning, SAP Business One, cloud, inventory optimization, SaaS, NetSuite, IBM, Sage, Valogix

With Inventory Planning is "Status Quo" the Way to Go?

Posted on Mon, Jan 07,2013@11:24 AM

Why it pays to invest in inventory solutions

There are many reasons or excuses for not upgrading to a modern, easy to use advanced inventory tool.  Which Category do you fall in?inventory planning, Saas, cloud, Valogix, SAP, Sage

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Tags: Inventory Planning, SAP, cloud, SaaS, Demand Planning, Valogix, inventory management

The Benefits of Cloud Inventory Planning

Posted on Tue, Nov 27,2012@10:00 PM

in the cloud, SaaS, inventory planning, ValogixAdvanced inventory planning and optimization software in the cloud not only automates the entire planning process, it dramatically increases the positive cash flow of a company. By smartly reducing inventory investment, reducing stockouts, decreasing expedited shipping costs, and reducing planning time all contribute to more available cash. Add to that increased sales and productivity and the gains will also lead to an improved competitive advantage.

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Tags: Inventory Planning, cloud, inventory optimization, SaaS

Inventory Planning Tax Inventive for 2012 - US ONLY

Posted on Tue, Oct 02,2012@10:00 AM

Section 179 Investment Tax Incentive – 2012 – US Only.

In these challenging economic times, it is important to make use of every tool available to cut costs and improve after-tax profits. You may have the ability to deduct a large percent of your investment in IT, meaning hardware and software purchases made by December 31, 2012.

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Tags: Inventory Planning, cloud, inventory optimization, SaaS, Valogix

Valogix Web Based Inventory Software Now Available

Posted on Tue, Apr 17,2012@03:59 PM

web based inventory softwareWeb based inventory software for business is becoming more plentiful. Solutions specifically built for the web are in great demand around the world. Take for example, Australia and New Zealand, which are experiencing not only increased demand but an increase in the number of available web based inventory software applications.

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Tags: cloud, SaaS, web based inventory software, Valogix, Inventory Planning Solutions

Inventory Planning and Optimization for 2012 – The Clear Advantage

Posted on Tue, Jan 10,2012@11:44 AM

Valogix Inventory and Planning OptimizationHappy New Year!  2012 brings the promise of improving global economies. Balancing short term resilience with longer term needs is what is needed now.  Reducing costs, buying less, increasing productivity, improving cash flow is important, and to keep these inventory objectives balanced and in perspective you need an efficient way to optimize these important business demands.   Improve your competitive advantages responsibly and efficiently with inventory planning optimization solutions.  Waiting until its too late in your ordering cycles will invite your customers to investigate other opportunities, and that can happen by making the reduction of the wrong item at the wrong time.
 
If your company tends to reduce items with the highest investment because it creates a larger reduction faster, what it actually does is creates potential stock outs, higher backorders and increased expedited shipping – and, even more importantly, customer dis-satisfaction.  We all know that when customers are unhappy they become former customers.  Randomly cutting inventory has been proven time and time again to be the wrong strategy as does overstocking your inventory.

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Tags: Inventory Planning, SAP Business One, cloud, inventory optimization, SaaS, Forecasting Inventory, advanced inventory planning solutions, replenishment planning, IBM, Wholesale Distribution, Supply Chain, manufacturing