M5 – are we forecasting for forecasting sake?
Can we apply outcomes from the M5 forecasting competition to real world supply chains?
Inventory is one of the most significant values contained on the balance sheet and at the same time a major contributing factor to the customer experience. Too much inventory and you have precious working capital tied up in the business, along with the risk of increased obsolescence and increasing holding costs, not enough and you jeopardise your customer experience and brand.
We’ll help you to generate more accurate forecasts that align inventory to demand, so you can provide a better service to customers while unlocking working capital and injecting cash back into the business. Reliable forecasts will also inform capacity and resourcing requirements in your warehousing operations, creating efficiencies and savings.
Our team of inventory and forecasting consultants all have direct industry experience across a range of sectors including industrial manufacturing and retail distribution.
We’ve developed a proven methodology to generate reliable and unbiased demand forecasts to inform replenishment activity and drive inventory levels. We can provide a tailor-made reporting suite giving you valuable insight into KPI’s, a review process to assess how aligned the customer proposition is to the inventory profile, and techniques to improve product lifecycle performance.
Accurate forecasting will help you to understand and predict when physical capacity might be breached – MHE, floor space, bay doors – as well as better planning other operations such as staffing and transport.
- Chief Financial Officer, A leading auto parts distributor
We offer cutting-edge, demand forecast service solutions that improve accuracy of forecast data, so you can deliver products on time and create a seamless customer experience. Whatever the size of your business, the combined experience of our demand forecasting team, along with our advanced algorithms and methodology, will take the pain out of forecasting and free up much needed working capital too. We provide the software, the skills and the processes to deliver a reliable valuable forecast to help you achieve your objectives.
Reliable demand planning has implications across the business, for example, working capital, resource and capacity planning and marketing activities, all of which can be driven through processes such as S&OP. Whether you’re looking to optimise existing systems and processes, or want to establish demand planning from scratch, our experienced demand planning consultants can help.
Having an accurate forecast is one thing, using it to create value across your business is another. Developing and implementing a replenishment strategy will help you realise improvements to customer satisfaction and working capital. We will analyse your data to segment your product ranges by behaviour and identify the most appropriate re-order points and quantities, safety stock levels and service factors.
Inventory management is a balancing act between cash and customer service. We’ll work with you to understand your customer proposition and objectives and using our analytical tools, our team will segment your product range to help optimise your inventory management and deliver on your business goals.
A dynamic PLCM process can link directly to the profitability of your company. Get a new product launch wrong and you create a poor customer experience and depress revenues. Failing to recognise and plan for a product entering the decline phase of its lifecycle can lead to excess, obsolete stock and increased costs. We can help avoid these common pitfalls.
We will provide a customisable reporting suite that helps you to engage with stakeholders across the business. Using the Tableau platform, we’ll breakdown and track complex issues, summarise data and create visualisations, representing data in an efficient, accessible format to support better decision making in the business.
Demand planning is a key lever in your supply chain planning process, so having the systems, skills and procedures in place to generate a reliable, statistical forecast will help to drive supply chain and financial efficiencies.
We’ll work with you to review your historical data to identify trends and then work with stakeholders across your business to understand the factors driving past performance, i.e. new product launches, promotional campaigns or shortages in supply.
We can then work with you and your teams to:
In the short term, a reliable demand plan should underpin your day day-to-day activities, ensuring purchasing, resource, and promotional activities are aligned to meet the needs of your customers.
Longer-term, your demand plan should provide insight into recruitment strategies, CapEx, ROI and operational capacity constraints that may impact your ability to service customers in the future.
We work with clients to drive improvements to inventory management without negatively impacting on customer service:
We can help you better manage a crucial part of your working capital through optimising your inventory profile and purchasing processes.
The reliability of your demand forecast and the variability of supplier lead-times can affect the ability of purchasing and inventory management teams to function efficiently and effectively. As a consequence, stock-outs can occur, and customer dissatisfaction increases. By contrast, if demand is lower than expected, the financial impact of write-off and shrink on working capital can be significant.
We can review your inventory profile and design options to segment SKU’s by the characteristics that will help transform your supply chain and inventory performance. We capture measures such as hit frequency, cost of goods sold, customer segmentation and marketing importance. Each ABC classification can then have unique service level factors to enhance availability on fast-moving SKU’s, and minimise risk on the slower, more volatile items.
We also review whether harvesting minimum order quantities across business units can reduce working capital and we’ll assess the feasibility of economic order quantities where appropriate, to meet financial objectives and improve customer satisfaction levels.
Product Lifecycle Management should play a pivotal role in all manufacturing, distribution and retail businesses. As new products are introduced, having the right level of inventory, supplied at the right time, at the correct cost is imperative to gain a competitive advantage and market share.
We have experience in enhancing the lifecycle of products. Whether that’s creating an initial order model, optimising your replenishment practices, or segmenting your current inventory profile to reduce your excess inventory exposure, we’re here to help.
Once a product has become established, we can help you to optimise the replenishment and manufacturing plan to ensure customers are delighted with your service, and the internal financial measures remain in check.
Identifying early stages of decline and obsolescence become the next priority and is crucial to a company’s profitability. By applying a segmented approach against old, slow-moving and obsolete stock and aligning actions with the relevant stakeholders, we can help to significantly improve performance across the business, from finance to operations.
We can provide a customisable reporting suite that helps you to engage with stakeholders across the business. Using the Tableau platform, we’ll breakdown and track complex issues, summarise data and create visualisations, representing data in an efficient, accessible format. We’ll then share with you a secure unique log in to review the reports so you can report to stakeholder support better decision making in the business.
Our reports include both a graphical representation and raw data to represent the following:
We can also build client-specific reporting tailored to your needs by leveraging our in-house development team.
Our guides, ideas and views. Explore our insights to deliver tangible improvements to your supply chain and logistics operations.
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