Inventory Planning Blog

A New Year to Advance Your Inventory Planning Performance

Posted on Tue, Jan 09,2018@08:02 AM

The year 2018 brings a continuing outlook of solid global economies and growth opportunities. Balancing near term resilience with longer-term objectives is still an on-going process.  Improving your competitive advantage responsibly and efficiently without incurring major costs should be at the top of your list.  Reducing costs, buying less, increasing productivity, improving cash flow are critical components of a sound inventory strategy. Keeping these inventory objectives balanced and in perspective, requires an effective way to rationalize and prioritize important business demands.   

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Tags: SaaS, Demand Planning, Inventory Planning Solutions

Advanced Inventory Planning Using SaaS Deployment

Posted on Tue, Oct 03,2017@08:12 AM

Cloud applications for business usually are offered in a subscription model called Software-as-a-Service or SaaS. Going to a SaaS deployment spreads the cost of acquiring and implementing a new solution and adds to the benefits. 

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Tags: Inventory Planning, cloud, SaaS

Smart Inventory Planning in the Cloud

Posted on Tue, Aug 02,2016@10:29 AM

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

Happy New Year for Inventory Planning!

Posted on Tue, Jan 06,2015@10:05 AM

The year 2015 brings a solid outlook of improving global economies and growth opportunities. Balancing near term resilience with longer-term objectives is what is needed now.  Reducing costs, buying less, increasing productivity, improving cash flow are critical. Keeping these inventory objectives balanced and in perspective, you need an effective way to rationalize and prioritize important business demands.   Improve your competitive advantage responsibly and efficiently without incurring major costs should be at the top of your list.  Waiting until its too late in your ordering cycles will invite your customers to buy elsewhere. Reducing the wrong items at the wrong time only exacerbates the issue.
 
If your company tends to reduce items with the highest investment because it creates a larger reduction faster, what it actually does is create potential stock outs, more backorders and increased expedited shipping – and, even more importantly, customer dissatisfaction.  We all know that when customers are unhappy they become former customers.  Randomly cutting inventory has been proven repeatedly to be the wrong strategy as does overstocking your inventory. As supply chains grow more complex, manual planning using spreadsheets can cause losses. Yes, you can create them to be specific to your business but they are hindering your growth.

Now, more than ever, you have many affordable choices for improving your inventory investment and performance. The Cloud is a viable alternative to investing in On-Premise inventory software. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provides an affordable and flexible way to utilize some of the most powerful inventory planning solutions on the market.

Why should you be interested? SaaS applications provide many benefits you just cannot achieve on-premise.  Benefits include:

Lower upfront capital: By going to a SaaS model, you avoid the up-front capital requirements and funding requests, and pay for the software as an on-going expense.

Faster implementation: There is generally less overall set-up time, and in some cases, companies can often leverage the hosted solution’s existing integrations with existing key ERP solutions.

Faster “time-to-value”: Given a more rapid implementation, the time-to-value and positive cash flow returns are more rapid than a traditionally deployed on-premise implementation.

Reduced internal IT resource requirements: No installed application software or hardware to manage over time.
 
Overcome objections to best-of-breed software: Some companies are finding that they are able to overcome the objections or rules against implementing software that does not come from the company’s ERP provider if they use a SaaS model.
 
Fit for “on-demand” usage: Users can truly access these solutions when they need them anytime and anywhere 24x7.

Staying current with technology: The software will periodically be automatically upgraded with enhancements to functionality. This should serve to keep users on the current platform, and keep them from falling behind the state of the art over time, sometimes badly so.

So, before you wait another moment, do yourself, your employees, and your customers a favor. Take a serious look at Cloud-based inventory planning and optimization solutions and begin 2015 with a clear path to success.

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Tags: inventory optimization, SaaS, SaaS, Savvis, Valogix, Inventory Planning Solutions

Multi-Echelon Inventory Planning for NetSuite

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

NetSuite 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. 

Assume 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

As 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.

Well, 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.

You 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 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.

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

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

Cloud Inventory Planning Has Many Advantages

Posted on Mon, May 06,2013@10:00 AM

How does optimizing your inventory planning impact your savings?

Advanced 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, inventory optimization, SaaS, in the Cloud, Valogix

Greener Inventory Planning & Optimization

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

Greener Inventory Planning & Optimization

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

Inventory Planning and Optimization in the Cloud

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

Cloud Applications Going Forward

Advances 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

Making the Most of Your Most Valuable Asset – Your Inventory

Posted on Mon, Jan 21,2013@11:29 AM

For: E-Tailers – Wholesale Distributors – Retailers – Manufacturers – Aftermarket Service Companies – Maintenance and Repair Operations

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Tags: Inventory Planning, SaaS, web based inventory software, in the Cloud, replenishment planning, 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?

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

Inventory Planning the Hard Way

Posted on Tue, Dec 11,2012@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?

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Tags: Inventory Planning, SaaS, Valogix, Spreadsheets

Expand Your Inventory Planning Workforce

Posted on Tue, Dec 04,2012@12:00 PM

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Tags: Inventory Planning, inventory optimization, SaaS, in the Cloud, Valogix

The Benefits of Cloud Inventory Planning

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

Advanced 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