Blog Layout Test2022-09-22T14:52:21-04:00

Arkieva Supply Chain Link Blog.

Creating the link between better supply chain planning and decisions.

How to Have a Serious Conversation About Inventory

By |Inventory Management, Inventory Planning, Optimization, S&OP, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management, Webinars|

Whether you are a manufacturer, retailer or distributor, inventory is likely one of your largest assets – after cash of course. Managing this asset takes a cross-functional team, all (hopefully) moving in the same direction. Weak management of the inventory process results in a porous supply chain.

Part 1: How Natural Language Processing (NLP) Can Benefit the Supply Chain

By |Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Machine Learning, Models, Supply Chain|

As more and more individuals utilize supply chain software, there is a need to simplify its usage. The next step in evolution can be Natural Language Processing (NLP) where the user expresses a desire in plain language, and the software translates it to queries in the background. This and other use cases such as the automation and analysis of content have made NLP an area of prominent growth.

Tools of the Trade: National Puzzle Day, Probability and the Board Game Risk

By |Supply Chain Optimization|

National Puzzle Day is January 29th. It is a day Arkieva celebrates because the ongoing challenge of smarter supply chain decisions involves supersized puzzles and games. This year we will focus on probabilistic forecasting using the board game Risk.  This blog will show how Monte Carlo Simulation can be used to estimate the average number of “wins”, but critically the range of possible “wins” across some interval.

Tools of the Trade: Characteristics of Agents of Change Teams to Drive Successful Investment

By |Demand Planning, General Topics, Operations Management, S&OP, Supply Chain, Supply Planning, Tools of the Trade|

In previous “tools of the trade” blogs, the focus has been on conveying a basic understanding of core technologies critical to improving supply chain management decision making. Other blogs have focused on investing in technology.  As with any investment there are risks to success. This blog focuses on the need for a small group driving technology that upsets the social order called agents of change (AOC). 

Top 5 Signs You Have Outgrown Your Planning System

By |Demand Planning, Machine Learning, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Digital Transformation, Swifcast|

Industry analysts, big-time consultants, and your peers are all talking about technology, digital transformation, and the future of the supply chain. It can seem like a lot of noise given the day-to-day pressure you feel while working to ensure that inventory is on hand and positioned where it is supposed to be. With all you have on your plate, are you aware of the signs that it is time for a change? 

What To Expect in 2022: Arkieva’s Take on 2022 Supply Chain Trends

By |News and Trends, S&OP, Supply Chain|

With the new year comes pundit “prediction season”. It seems that anyone who can type will post their list of things to look out for.  It’s human nature to look ahead and anticipate what may be. We all look back to look forward – just like a good demand forecast does. And if you think about it, most calendar-year business plans are in truth, predictions about the year to come. 

Managing Distribution in Circular Supply Chains

By |General Topics, Logistics and Transportation, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Sustainability|

Circularity, in the form of re-use, is not really new as a business model.  Look at Goodwill, Habitat For Humanity’s Re-Store, and countless local consignment and thrift stores. eBay, Etsy, and Facebook Marketplace provide an online forum to convert one person’s trash to someone else’s treasure. A quick trip to the post office and the deal is sealed. Waste averted.

Our Top Blogs from 2021

By |Demand Planning, Featured, General Topics, Infographics, Inventory Management, News, Optimization, S&OP, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Talk, Supply Planning, Uncategorized|

Arkieva prides itself on providing some of the best in supply chain thought leadership. Over 300,000 individuals read our blog articles in 2021. The volatile nature of the supply chain today drove our readers to educate themselves on practical actions they can take to remain competitive.

Announcing the New Arkieva Brand

By |Demand Planning, Inventory Management, News, Optimization, S&OP, Supply Chain, Uncategorized|

We are excited to announce that we are rebranding Arkieva to fuel growth, strengthen our position in the market, and continue to be a recognized leader in the supply chain industry. Over the past few years, we have been relentlessly focused on solving the most complex planning challenges through simple, intuitive, end-to-end solutions leveraging our best-in-class data scientists, software developers, and supply chain optimization consultants.

Tools of the Trade: How “Forecastable” is Your Data? Complexity Exists Whether You Ignore It or Not

By |Arkieva Data Analysis Wing, Demand Planning, Forecast Accuracy, Forecasting, General Topics, Smart Forecasting, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Strategy, Uncategorized|

These “key tools” balance a need for simple with a need to handle the complexity of SCM – following the IBM adage – complexity exists whether you ignore it or not, best not to ignore it.

Pyramid Forecasting Process

By |Demand Planning, Forecasting|

One of the many ways to improve the forecast is to forecast using a pyramid process, starting at the base, then forecasts the subsequent levels moving upwards. The objective of using the pyramid forecast process is to use the less detailed portions of the pyramid to improve the base level forecast of the pyramid.

Going Beyond Historical Data for Forecast Accuracy

By |Demand Planning, Forecast Accuracy, Forecasting, Supply Chain|

Our focus in this blog series has been to establish forecast accuracy targets. In very general terms, the goal should be to add value to the business through the forecasting process. We have however focused on the forecast value add and using that to create a minimum acceptable forecast accuracy target in the previous blog. Now we will take that a step further and talk of ways of improving it.

The Ongoing Shipping Container Shortage and Possible Effects on Tomorrow’s Supply Chain

By |Demand Planning, Inventory Management, Inventory Planning, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management, Supply Planning|

We have all seen it in the news. Covid-19 outbreaks, labor shortages at the port as well as in trucking, and port delays coupled with high demand from consumers are causing major supply chain issues. Shipping containers are in short supply, or perhaps a better way to say it is that they are waiting to be unloaded or loaded resulting in a shortage. In this blog, let us try to enlist some possible future impacts of this situation. Let us look at it from the perspectives of the different players in the supply chain.

RCCP Versus MPS: How Are They Connected? Elixirs and the Wrong Question

By |Central Planning, RCCP, Supply Planning|

A reasonable question supply chain folks often ask themselves is ‘What is the relationship between Rough Cut Capacity Planning (RCCP) and Master Production Scheduling (MPS)?’ However, this is the wrong question to ask oneself. This blog will address the transition from AS to central planning as best practices and demonstrate that with a firm’s due diligence they can make the transition successfully. This is critical for what-ifs and effective use of optimization.

Relationship Between Forecast Accuracy and Safety Stocks

By |Arkieva Data Analysis Wing, Demand Planning, Forecast Accuracy, Forecasting, Safety Stock, Supply Chain|

A company’s total inventory is built up of many different parts such as strategic stock, anticipation stock, safety stock, cycle stock, unplanned stock. The cycle stock is the one most connected to the demand forecast; it is expected to be sold as the forecast becomes real demand. Safety stock on the other hand is extra stock to deal with the variability of the demand or supply. As such, it is not always linked to forecasting accuracy.

How Forecastable is Your Data?

By |Arkieva Data Analysis Wing, Demand Planning, Forecast Accuracy, Forecasting, General Topics, Inventory Management, Supply Chain|

Having access to an accurate forecast is very beneficial for businesses. If used correctly, it can provide better margins, increase market shares, and many other positive results. At a more tactical level, it can help reduce the costs associated with meeting the customer demand and make the supply chain more efficient.

Sustainability in Supply Chain Planning: In Practice

By |Supply Chain, Supply Chain Sustainability|

Integrated Supply Chain Planning is the best way to be sure that you are running your business in a way that is best for your whole business. When you address your energy needs independent of your supply chain planning you can drive up costs unnecessarily and create rework. Industrial gas companies know this better than most because their production process is an extremely energy-intensive one. Keeping energy use to its minimum is a pinnacle of smart sustainable business practices.

Classical Supply Chain Management Confronts its Quantum Revolution – the Path to Rapid Intelligent Response (RIR)

By |Central Planning, Community Intelligence, Demand Management, Rapid Intelligent Response|

COVID-19 direct and ancillary events have made clear that uncertainty is an inherent part of the demand-supply network structure. Every firm, on a regular basis, faces “risk situations" such as manufacturing excursion, unexpected new demand or loss of demand, component supplier interruption, etc. This has placed risk management and rapid intelligent response (RIR) front and center in SCM discussions.

Five Steps to Develop an Effective S&OP Process – Step 4: Balance Supply and Demand

By |Central Planning, IBP, S&OP, Supply Chain Management, Supply Planning|

Over the past 5 weeks, Jeff Ondria has hosted a set of short interviews on LinkedIn about the five distinct steps to develop an effective S&OP process. In today's blog, we discuss step 4 Balancing Supply & Demand where we will answer some key questions with respect to balancing supply and demand.

Effect of Lockdowns on Essential Goods Value Chain

By |Community Intelligence, COVID-19, Logistics and Transportation, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management|

These interesting times that we are currently living through have thrown open a lot of challenges. Organizations and decision-makers must be agile and innovative to overcome the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown at us. In India, we had 2 lockdown periods in the last 15 months. Being a supply chain student, I try to watch and analyze day-to-day situations with a lot of interest and I see one area that needs improvement when lockdowns are implemented.

CPE Planning Level, IBP, Elixirs, and the Ongoing Challenge

By |Central Planning Engine, Community Intelligence, IBP, Supply Planning|

In SCM there is an ongoing flow of elixirs (magic potion) from ‘false prophets’ claiming that they are an easy path to improved performance. A recent elixir is IBP followed by “doing central planning at the family level” to neutralize the uncertainty associated with estimating demand at the product level. This blog will illustrate the challenge in this effort since factories produce products, not families.

How to Use What-if Scenarios to Create a Dynamic IBP Paradigm

By |S&OP, Supply Chain, Supply Planning, What-if Wednesday|

Taking the time to perform what-if analyses on a regular basis with real and speculative events, gives planners tremendous insight into what parts of the supply chain are most sensitive to changes. As a result, planners will have a sense of what is a big deal and what is not. And when a crisis happens, they’ll feel confident in their ability to respond.

Target Inventory and Central Planning Engines (Models) – Avoiding the Runaway Train

By |Central Planning, Community Intelligence, Inventory Management, Inventory Targets, Supply Chain|

Often inventory is considered the simplest component of supply chain management that can successfully be managed separately. The purpose of this blog is to provide some observations to avoid the runaway train. We will first review the basics of CPE and then address the use of target inventory (specifically ending finished goods inventory EFGI) in CPEs.

Sustainability & Circularity in Your Supply Chain Planning

By |Supply Chain, Supply Chain Sustainability|

Learn how climate action relates to supply chain management. Achieving full-scale sustainability and circularity cannot happen without end-to-end alignment, hierarchical connectivity, integration of all parts of your supply chain, performance metrics, and business processes. And this alignment needs to be part of your existing supply chain before you can take it to the next level.

Tools of the Trade: How to Compare / Combine Diverse Time Series – “Normalizing”

By |Data Science, Machine Learning, Supply Chain, Time Series Forecasting|

A reoccurring challenge in comparing and combining diverse time series in demand forecasting is the “scale” – as it is in combining metrics. Rescaling is a powerful but simple method to help with this issue enabling demand planners to focus on similarities of shape. This blog provides an example of one method called normalization.

Time Series Forecasting Basics

By |Demand Management, Forecasting, Machine Learning, Supply Chain Management|

In this blog we briefly cover some key insights for successful time series forecasting: (a) Profiling the Shape of the Curve is the first stage, and the first step is assessing if the time series is stationary. (b) The forecast method identified must capture the shape and be able to project the shape across time. (c) There are limits in historical and no amount of “fancy math” can overcome them.

Lessons From the Suez Canal Blockage – Supply Chain in the News

By |inventory optimization, Logistics and Transportation, News, News and Trends, Supply Chain Management, Supply Planning|

In the past few days, the news of the blockage of the Suez Canal by a massive container ship called the Ever Given has been dominating the news, so much so, that even kids are talking about it. The phrase ‘supply chain’ is now being mentioned more often than ever before in news media. Some outlets have estimated the cost...

Sudoku and SCM: The Binary Connection – A Path To Smarter Solutions

By |Central Planning, Optimization, Sudoku, Supply Planning|

An earlier Sudoku blog recognizing Puzzle Day, provided an overview of solving Sudoku using MILP optimization and mentions these methods are helpful to find solutions in supply or central planning. This blog elaborates on “binary variables” which is the connecting technology between Sudoku and Supply Chain Management (SCM).

Data Science Tools of the Trade: Monte Carlo Computer Simulation

By |COVID-19, Data Science, Machine Learning|

Monte Carlo Discrete Event Computer Simulation is a particularly powerful and flexible “tool of the trade” for a wide range of challenges in supply chain and operations management. This blog provides some basics on MCDECS, the next blog will use MCDECS to explain why limiting the size of a gathering helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Investing in SCM Technology: Sense and Respond – A Vision from A Long Time Ago in A Galaxy Far, Far Away

By |Machine Learning, Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Management Technology Investment|

Having a vision of the future is important to help coordinate SCM initiatives towards the “global good” – but having a vision is worthless without effective work in the trenches. In fact, a far better vision is “sense and respond” SAR which moves an organization from a big bang paradigm periodic driven approach that currently dominates SCM even in best in class organizations to an “as needed” basis.

SCM Technology Investment – INFORMS Provides Critical Information for Success

By |Machine Learning, Optimization, Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Management Technology Investment|

Before the current set of analytics and SCM experts, it was the OR/MS profession that drove the development and successful application of analytic and data methods to improve supply chain performance. INFORMS continues to lead in the ongoing challenge of more intelligent and responsive supply chains. In this blog, we will point out some keynote addresses from the current meeting of relevance to successful SCM technology investments.

Investing in SCM Technology: 6 Hints for Success – From a Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

By |Central Planning, Machine Learning, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management Technology Investment|

“Chaos, complexity, and uncertainty” often victimize an organization’s supply chain outstripping the ability of spreadsheet-based tools to respond intelligently. Sounds like 2020? In fact, this comes from one of the original Jedi Knights Dr. Harlan Crowder in a 1997 paper titled “Helpful Hints for OR/MS Consultants”. The purpose of this blog is to revisit this paper since the hints for success are as relevant now as they were then.

Investing in SCM Technology: Vision and Trenches – Lessons for a Successful Journey

By |Central Planning, Machine Learning, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management Technology Investment|

The purpose of a vision in this journey is to create a focus on the implementation of decision technology as tools to overcome inherent organizational cognitive limitations of bounded rationality and uncertainty bias to improve SCM. This blog provides some critical lessons to protect a firm’s investment in technology.

Lessons for COVID-19 and Supply Chain Management – Six Months Later

By |Community Intelligence, COVID-19, Operations Management, Supply Chain Management|

Over the past six months, significant progress has been made in understanding COVID-19 and reducing its health and economic impact. In this blog, we will not rehash this information, but to identify open issues in handling the current challenge of tackling COVID-19 and relate this to the challenge of managing supply chains.

Invest in Supply Chain Management Technology: Survival and Ability to Respond to Emerging Challenges

By |Central Planning, Demand Management, Demand Planning, Machine Learning, Supply Chain, Swifcast|

When and how to invest in supply chain management technology is a critical question for all firms that is not a one-time question but ongoing. This blog will observe the real business value is “survival and responsiveness” and elaborate on the challenges with this evaluation.

Optimization and Effective Use of Space – COVID-19 Challenges

By |COVID-19, Supply Chain Optimization, Supply Planning|

For most involved in Supply Chain Management, optimization is viewed as one of the three primary methods to create a supply or central plan that matches or balances assets with demand. Historically effective use of space involved minimizing unused space or maximizing revenue from a fixed amount of space. COVID-19 has upset the social order.

Statistical Forensics – The Danger of Being Data and Not Operations Management Driven

By |Community Intelligence, COVID-19, Data Science, Models|

As previously discussed, being only data-driven can be a road to disaster for COVID-19 or supply chain management. To avoid this disaster requires skill sets from operations management (OM). In this blog we demonstrate that the probability a person actually has COVID-19 antibodies depends heavily on other factors besides the “raw data” of the test results.

COVID-19 & SCM – Importance of Operations Management to Overcome the Limitations of Data-Driven

By |Community Intelligence, COVID-19, Data Analysis, Models, Supply Chain|

An often-heard theme in supply chain management (SCM) and COVID-19 is “data-driven” – being data-driven is the path to success. For COVID-19 “science-driven” is often said in the same sentence. For SCM demand or customer-driven replaces “science”. This blog will point out a few examples in the COVID-19 challenge demonstrating COVID-19 is an OM challenge.

COVID-19 Data Analysis Basics – Taking the Mystery Out of Smoothing Daily Counts

By |Community Intelligence, COVID-19, Data Analysis, News and Trends|

We see graphs of COVID-19 events on a regular basis. One of the most common is a bar chart for daily new events (COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths). Recently in presentations, smoothing methods used to overcome limitations is presenting the raw daily data. This blog will take some of the mystery out of smoothing methods.

COVID-19 Taking the Mystery Out of the APEX Curve and Some Basics on Restoring “Normal”

By |Community Intelligence, COVID-19, Data Analysis|

This blog provides some basic information on the curve, relates statistical concepts to policy and actions, and examines policy options for a safe restart relating them to the APEX curve. There are three essential groups of action to begin a safe restart: testing, detailed understanding of the impact of mitigation actions, and the ability to do detailed tracking.

Some COVID-19 Data Analysis Basics – New Events, Cumulative Events, and Logarithms

By |Community Intelligence, COVID-19, Data Analysis|

We see graphs of COVID-19 events on a regular basis these days. Two common ones are bar charts for daily new events (COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths) and the “sweeping curve” to capture a cumulative number of events. Additionally, log transformations are mentioned. The purpose of this blog is to shed a bit of light on these curves and the role of the log transformation.

Lessons From the Operating Curve for the Dual Government COVID-19 Objectives: Reopen the Economy and Eliminate COVID-19

By |Community Intelligence, COVID-19, Data Science, Demand Management, Forecasting, News|

There is plenty of material being written and posted on the challenges, estimating the growth in COVID19 incidences, and thoughts about the economy. The purpose of this is to pull from experiences in the trenches in shifting OPCURVE to provide some guidance on actions to take to help the nation achieve both critical goals.

Some Basics on the Value of S Curves and Market Adoption of a New Product

By |Community Intelligence, Data Science, Demand Planning, Forecasting|

An ongoing challenge for any firm is estimating demand for new products.  This is especially true when the product has new technology or is replacing an existing product and the additional function in the new product is limited. Often a mathematical construct called an S curve is helpful. This blog provides an overview of S curves and why they can be helpful.

Taking the Mystery Out of the Rapid Growth of COVID-19 and the Purpose of Social Distancing – Some Basics for Octogenarians

By |Community Intelligence, COVID-19, Data Science, Demand Management, Forecasting, News|

The spread of the COVID19 virus is a major concern of everyone. Typically, two critical questions are being asked: why it seemed to grow so quickly over the last few weeks and what is the impact of social distancing. This blog provides a kitchen table explanation of “rapid growth” and how social distancing might dampen growth.

Conditional Probability Made Easy – Heart of Machine Learning

By |Data Science, Demand Planning, Inventory Management, Machine Learning|

Probabilities are persuasive in supply chains and analytic methods – especially in machine learning where conditional probability is a dominant underlying structure that makes or breaks the success of an application. In this blog, we will learn how to take the mystery out of the term ‘conditional probability’.

Optimization and Central Planning: Compass or Advanced Navigation

By |Supply Planning, When to optimize|

Two ongoing questions are: (1) when an organization migrates from an Excel-based central/supply/master plan is it best to go to a rule-based method or an optimization-based method and (2) is optimization a compass that identifies true north or is it an advanced navigation system. This blog outlines my view and alternative views on each question.

“Optimized” Inventory Forecasting a Co-Product of Optimized Central Planning

By |Community Intelligence, Inventory Management, Supply Chain|

In a recent blog on Inventory Forecasting the core challenges and business importance of estimating inventory are outlined. A projected inventory position across time (plan) is a natural co-product of most central or master planning models that match assets with the demand to create a projected supply line linked to demand. 

RCCP versus MPS –historic terms and a path to inadequate organizational performance

By |RCCP, Supply Planning|

Where did the terms RCCP and MPS come from? Reading the recent blog “RCCP versus MPS – Can They Be Connected?” it struck me whether this question represents the current best in class or do they represent old terms as well as an old way of thinking that should not be the end goal of an organization any more when it comes to supply chain planning.

RCCP versus MPS – Can They Be Connected?

By |RCCP, Supply Planning|

Master Production Scheduling (MPS) plans for items that are independent (or direct) demand. Independent Demand is a demand that comes from Sales Orders, Service Orders, or forecasts on end items, i.e., items that we sell to customers. In RCCP, the principle assumption is that family-level assumptions are good approximations for the SKU level detail and the change in the mix will not have a big impact on the capacity projection.

Impact of right-sizing inventory on EBITDA

By |Inventory Management|

Supply chain planning projects are often approved on the back of the promise of lower inventory levels. In a recent conversation, I was asked a more nuanced question: whether right-sizing inventory via better supply chain planning improves earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). This blog tries to address this question.

Discover Why Arkieva is Named As a Leader in The 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales and Operations Planning System of Differentiation

By |Gartner Supply Chain Magic Quadrant, Sales and Operations Planning System of Differentiation, Supply Chain, Supply Planning|

We are pleased to announce that due to the amazing support of Arkieva customers, Arkieva has been named as Leader in the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) System of Differentiation (SOD).

Key Supply Chain Digital Transformation Pitfalls to Avoid

By |Supply Chain Digital Transformation|

Supply Chain Digital transformation has the potential to be, for no better words, transformative; when done right, a transformation can enable your business to reap significant, and well-documented, benefits. On the other hand, Supply Chain Digital Transformation if executed poorly cost companies millions, go on for years, fail to deliver expected or any benefits, and ultimately end up costing some CEO and CIO their jobs.

How Does a Supply Chain Planning System Aggregate and Disaggregate Data?

By |Supply Chain|

Planners in certain industries such as the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) prefer updating forecasts at an aggregate level but would also sometimes want to lock values at the detail level to prevent disaggregation to a specific combination. How is it done? A planning system is expected to present correct data to the planner at whatever level it is being looked at.

Selecting the Appropriate Forecasting Method

By |Demand Planning, Forecasting|

Selecting the right forecasting methods can be highly critical in how accurate your forecasts are. Unfortunately, there isn’t a golden ticket to forecasting which can essentially ensure accuracy. While the best-fit forecasting method is dependent on a business’ specific situation, understanding the types of forecasting methods can aid in your decision-making.

Creating Detailed Customer Order Allocation Data for Yearly Volume Contracts

By |Inventory Management|

A guide on how to improve material planning using a more detailed volume allocation of customer orders. It is a common business practice to write up yearly contracts for the volume. Very often, this is done to extend volume discounts to the customer. That is obviously a benefit to the customer. The supplier benefits by knowing how much to budget for in terms of production through the year. They can also count on the revenue coming in.

Outgrowing Excel? Here’s How to Create a Centralized Demand Planning Process

By |Demand Planning, Forecasting|

Demand Planning directly affects the business financial plan, pricing, capex decisions, customer segmentation and resource allocation. Considering the criticality and implication of this process, Demand Planners and Managers need to continually evaluate their current Demand Planning process and ensure that the Demand Plan generated is holistic, relevant and timely.

7 Must-Attend Sessions at The Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference

By |Events, Supply Chain|

We are thrilled about presenting a session with Arkieva customer — Lush Handmade Cosmetics. The session that focuses on how Lush delivers a unique brand experience also discusses how effective demand planning solutions help with creating that experience. Last year we created the 2017 Gartner Supply Chain Conference list of Must-Attend Sessions. To continue along that tradition, here is the list of Must-Attend sessions at the Gartner Supply Chain Conference this year.

What is a Demand-driven Supply Chain?

By |Demand Planning, Supply Chain|

A Demand-driven Supply Chain (DDSC) is defined as a supply chain management method focused on building supply chains in response to demand signals. The main force of DDSC is that it is driven by customer demand. In comparison with the traditional supply chain, DDSC uses the pull (Demand pull) technique. It gives the market opportunities to share more information and to collaborate with others in the supply chain.

Two Simple Examples to Help You Understand How Supply Chain Optimization Algorithms Work.

By |Supply Chain, Supply Chain Optimization|

I work with clients that utilize our supply chain optimization software to maximize their resources. In my upcoming webinar “Should I Optimize My Supply Chain Planning?” I’ll dive deeper into the concepts of supply chain optimization and show examples of when it’s ideal to optimize and when it’s less ideal. In today’s blog post, I’d like to simplify this concept by looking at some basic equations and scenarios to explain how “solvers” or supply chain optimization algorithms work.

Should I Use Order Lead Time for Demand Segmentation?

By |Demand Planning, Segmentation|

To set the foundation for this discussion, let us first look at the definition of order lead time. Order lead time is the time gap between the date when a customer places an order and when they expect to receive the product. Typically, in a B2B environment, the expectation is that there will be some gap between the two dates, and in many cases, this gap can be negotiated.

Can Demand Segmentation Improve Your Statistical Forecast?

By |Demand Planning|

Imagine a demand planner working with 10,000 unique combinations. One of the not so envious tasks for this person would be to generate statistical forecast for all these combinations. These days, the statistical forecasting tools available on the market can forecast these combinations using a list of forecasting methods and figure out which method works best for a particular combination.

How to Track Your Inventory Stock Out Levels Using These Severity Codes & Alerts

By |Inventory Management, Memoirs of a Black Belt|

In an ideal world, your products would have on-shelf availability whenever your customer needs them. However, this is often not the case for many businesses. It’s also essential to note that, not all stock outs or out-of-stock(OOS) carry the same severity levels or require the same form of actions. In this blog post, we’ll discuss a simple coding system using descriptive analytics that can help you easily identify different severity levels for your stock out.

How Does My Open Order History Impact My Sales Prediction?

By |Demand Planning, Forecasting|

An open order is defined as an order placed by the customer which is under process and is yet to be fulfilled by the supplier. For effective analysis, open order data needs to be recorded daily in an ERP system. A minimum of twelve to eighteen months of open order history is required for your sales forecasting analysis and fine-tuning process. A shorter period could render unreliable and skew the results of your data analysis.

How to Adjust Your Planning to Meet Changing Sales Patterns

By |Demand Planning|

In an ideal world, demand and supply would be steady and predictable, resulting in optimal capacity utilization and no back orders or missed customer orders. However, in the actual supply chain world variations in actual sales vs. projected sales result in lower forecast accuracy, and either overstocking or stock out situations.

5 Key Supply Chain Efficiency Assessment Areas for 2018

By |Supply Chain, Supply Chain Optimization|

If you are looking to improve your supply chain management systems in 2018, you most likely have asked the common question: How do I assess my current efficiency? This is a good starting point for anyone looking to add functionality or identify loopholes within current processes. There is no single perfect method that meets all needs and has no flaws. However, the good news is, supply chain assessments have proven to be very advantageous for many businesses.

Implementing an S&OP System? Here’s How to Make Your Data Work for You

By |Memoirs of a Black Belt, S&OP|

A look at some of the S&OP implementation best practices for managing your data. Now I’m not going to say, “Ask not what your data can do for you, but ask what you can do for your data.” In the past, I was under the impression that going through a system implementation process of setting up product hierarchies would mark the end of the process. I must now say, there’s more to the story.  

Key Guiding Principles for Getting a Better Handle on Implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Supply Chain Management

By |News and Trends, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Strategy|

The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in business activities has again emerged as a hot topic for 2017 and 2018. In fact, Gartner predicts by 2021, 40% of new enterprise applications will include Artificial Intelligence Technologies, where AI and Machine Learning promise to solve a plethora of problems faced by enterprises today, from better decision making to increased efficiencies and cost savings.

Back to the Basics: What’s the Core Purpose of Supply Chain Management?

By |Supply Planning|

As supply chain professionals and SCM technology enthusiasts, our conversations and discussions are often forward-looking. Sometimes, it’s essential to focus on the here and now, before looking ahead. In this post, we’ll cover some of the basics of what supply chain management entails, and why it’s a critical component in fueling supply chain innovations.

Who Should Take Ownership of Finished Product Inventory Management?

By |Inventory Management, Memoirs of a Black Belt|

I mean who suffers directly when finished product inventory runs amuck by level, mix, or availability? Well, we all do, don’t we? After all, if we made it and can’t sell it, what have we done? Or, what if we promised it to customers but haven’t made it? Until we give finished goods velocity, no profits roll into the business meaning, no revenue (assuming when it sells, it gains velocity). Just think of the other side of the coin when it goes to the scrap heap for a write off (terminal velocity).

How to Determine the Best-Fit Plan with Supply Chain Optimization

By |Supply Chain Optimization|

The use of optimization in supply chain management is widespread, just not in supply planning.  Regular use of optimization occurs in inventory management and demand forecasting. “Best-fit straight line” is one of the most common uses of optimization. With this method, you enter or pull into Excel (or your favorite statistics software) a set of “x values” (the independent value e.g. the number of cars in a train) and a set of “y values” (dependent value e.g. the fuel cost for each train), click a few buttons and you get a “best-fit” straight line – a slope (b1), a y-intercept (b0), a measure of goodness, and a straight line drawn through your scatter plot.

Manufacturing Day 2017: [Infographic] The Evolution of Inventory Management Strategies

By |Inventory Management, inventory optimization|

When you talk to any manufacturer no matter how large or small about their concerns, improved inventory management is bound to be a part of the conversation. To celebrate manufacturing day today, we thought it would be beneficial to take a closer look at how inventory strategy keeps evolving using an infographic from Arkieva based on research conducted by Aberdeen.

Using Descriptive Analytics to Improve Supply Chain Visibility for Variability, Velocity, Volume, and Variety.

By |Memoirs of a Black Belt, Supply Chain|

In this guest blog series titled: “Memoirs of a Black Belt,” Stephen Boyd a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and 30-year supply chain veteran, shares his insights on achieving higher levels of performance using data from existing systems. All opinions expressed in guest authors may not reflect Arkieva’s view on the subject.

Who’s to Blame for the “Unwanted Extra Ingredient?” A look at Challenges of Supply Chain Management in the Fast Food Industry

By |Uncategorized|

Now and then, we hear about horrific fast food restaurant stories where an “unwanted extra ingredient” is found. While we may be quick to blame the serving fast food restaurant for the mishap, the supply chain of fast foods is often complicated. When we stop by our favorite fast food restaurant to grab a quick bite, we often don’t think about the process that goes into assembling our combo meal.

What is Blockchain Technology Worth to Your Supply Chain?

By |News and Trends, Supply Chain|

With the advent of Bitcoin in 2009, cryptocurrency has taken the world by storm. The use of digital assets as an alternative to conventional currencies has garnered praise and recognition for its secure and speedy protocols. While the infrastructural flexibility of crypto currencies is yet to stand the test of time, block chains, the underlying technology for crypto currencies is truly a revolutionary step in the field of technology. Companies such as the Swiss Stock Exchange, IBM and Deloitte have already begun implementing block chains into their technology to define transactions and improve security and transparency.

Supply Chain Talk: The 10 Rules of Collaborative Supply Chain Planning

By |Supply Chain, Supply Chain Talk|

Supply chain transparency and visibility are one of the topmost concerns for most manufacturing business leaders. Without the proper collaboration between the different players within the supply chain, it becomes difficult to create an S&OP that promote productivity, reduce costs, and improve service levels. In this week’s ‘Supply Chain Talk,’ Arkieva CEO Harpal Singh discusses the top 10 rules for creating a collaborative planning process.

Top 5 Lessons Learned After a Year in Supply Chain Planning

By |S&OP, Supply Chain|

A little over a year ago, I ventured into the unchartered territory of supply chain planning. It was an exciting challenge. I had experience as a marketer in the Business Intelligence (BI) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) space. And because ERP solutions often have some supply chain planning functionalities, I thought I could easily apply my knowledge from the ERP space to supply chain planning.

What-if Wednesday: Seasonal Model Forecasting with Seasonal Methods

By |Forecasting|

Seasonal method is a regression method that fits a linear trend along with sine and cosine curves. These sine and cosine portions of the regression can fit any seasonal deviations from the linear trend. Robust seasonal method also fits a trend along with sine and cosine curves, however this method uses linear programming to fit a seasonal series in a way that compared to the regular seasonal method is less likely to be thrown off by noisy values that depart from the trend or seasonality.

Only the Shadow Knows – Identifying the Unobvious with Supply Chain Modeling

By |Supply Chain, Supply Planning, Uncategorized|

While reading a wonderful article titled “Linear Thinking in a Non-Linear World – the obvious choice is often wrong” in the May-June 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, I was immediately transferred back to the early 1980’s and theme of the IBM Advanced Industrial Engineering department – “only the model knows.”

5 Reasons Why the Amazon-Whole Foods Merger Will Reshape the Supply Chain World

By |Food and Beverage, Supply Chain|

What does the Amazon-Whole Foods Merger mean for the Supply Chain world? Amazon, in a revolutionary move, has acquired Whole Foods Market and its 436 stores nationwide for a cool $13.7 billion. The news has rocked the world of retail with several competitors such as Walmart, Target, and Costco losing shares by 4% - 9% in the aftermath

How Does a Demand Forecast of Zero Impact Your Forecast Accuracy?

By |Forecast Accuracy, Forecasting, Supply Chain|

For most businesses that rely on demand forecasts for supply and capacity planning, improving demand forecast accuracy is critical. There are many methods to measure forecast bias and the accuracy of supply chain forecasts including using statistical methods like the Mean Absolute Percent Error or MAPE that we’ve discussed in our previous blogs.

Supply Chain Talk: How Do You Create a Consistent Data Basis for Planning?

By |Demand Planning, Supply Chain Talk|

In our whitepaper on the 8 essentials of an S&OP Software, we outlined creating a consistent data basis for supply chain planning as an essential S&OP software requirement. In this week’s ‘Supply Chain Talk,’ Arkieva CEO Harpal Singh discusses the key aspects of creating a consistent data basis that supports supply chain planning.

Supply Chain Talk: What Makes a Supply Chain Technology Partnership Work?

By |Supply Chain Talk|

Happy clients are not always good partners. The best advice for companies looking at supply chain technology solutions is to find one that does not just acquiesce to every want, but one that looks at the bigger picture to ensure that you can succeed in the short and long-term. In this week’s ‘Supply Chain Talk,' Arkieva CEO Harpal Singh discusses what makes a good technology partnership, drawing from his years of first-hand experiences.

Demand Forecasting: The Art and Science That Keeps You Guessing

By |Forecasting|

“It is said that the present is pregnant with the future” – Voltaire Forecasting, therefore, is an attempt to deduce the future from the present. It is both, art and science. We will explore the practice of forecasting demand in the short to medium term. Within the constraints of economic and technology trends, demand forecasting drives the planning process in most businesses.

[Webinar] Using Predictive Analytics to Drive Sales and Delight Customers

By |Events|

In today’s data-driven world, we’ve become accustomed to companies predicting what we need even before we think we need them. A purchase on Amazon will immediately suggest other products that might be of interest. Similarly, Netflix can predict the type of movies that you might enjoy based on your previous TV watching habits. Companies such as Netflix and Amazon take advantage of predictive and prescriptive analytics to increase customer engagement and sales.

The ‘Secret Sauce’ to Improving Demand Planning

By |Demand Planning|

How do you get the sense of what works for demand planning? Market volatilities including changes in the weather can affect any business at any given time. As such, businesses cannot rely on their history alone without considering the full picture of possible market changes. When these changes occur, businesses should be ready to adapt without causing a disruption in existing business processes. So how to do you get to the point where you get a sense of what works when it comes to demand planning?