Running a business right now is challenging. Unpredictable demand, disrupted supply chains, cashflow uncertainty all make things a lot more difficult.
This is why small and medium sized wholesalers and manufacturers are looking for stock control software tools to eliminate the uncertainty.
One of these tools is StockTrim, a software startup out of New Zealand who are now expanding globally. New Zealand has spawned other successful SaaS businesses such as Xero, Vend, Cin7, Unleashed, TradeGecko - all originating from the land of the Long White Cloud.
So why is StockTrim's Stock Control Software so handy?
Consider these 5 things:
1. It has multi-level, multi-site bill of material (BOM) drill down
It’s important to understand where there may be risk at any level of the supply chain. You need to get visibility across your network but if something changes, you also need to instantly recalculate demand and supply balancing at every node. This gives you visibility to the impact of change as it cascades down to the lowest levels of the supply chain. Without this fast, multi-level, multi-site BOM explosion, planners are left struggling with Excel spreadsheets, trying to figure out a response to a change. And 90% of these planning spreadsheets contain errors.
Usually it will take days or even weeks to get a wrong answer versus understanding the impact of change in minutes.
2. Automated Intelligence
There is so much going on in the supply chain that major efficiencies can be realized if you can automate the routine and escalate exceptions to the planners for their immediate attention. Andrew Dewez from Shine Drinks knew the importance of automating repetitive tasks and having the right systems and processes to keep things efficient. His time and expertise were better spent on other things in the business.
“It’s how you set up systems and processes so you can deliver a consistent experience. And StockTrim is key to that"
As companies look to diversify supply options, sourcing decisions could be more complex than ever before. New suppliers may need to be sourced fast, but the impact of varying lead times needs to automatically flow through every part of the BOM.
3. Demand Forecasting
There are lots of examples where machine learning will be utilized so the computer can do the heavy lifting and planners can focus on what matters. Another area where the proprietary machine learning algorithms used in StockTrim play a critical role is in demand sensing. Creating more accurate short-term forecasts in volatile situations will go a long way in helping supply planners see the impact of change and respond in a timely manner. As Kristin from The Baron, a health foods and snacks manufacturer /importer comments “Its bang-on as far as demand forecasting goes. StockTrim removes the headache of uncertainty for me”
SME’s often suffer from one staff member holding a lot of planning information in some ‘Taj Mahal' of a spreadsheet. While this may in fact be an impressive document, it is barely understood by few people in the organisation. When this person leaves or is absent, things can go astray vey quickly. The best decisions usually are not made in isolation. Supply planners will need to converse with sales, operations and the business owner to work through resolutions that are best for the company, not just for the department. If supply is on allocation, it only makes sense to collaborate with demand planners and customer service representatives to understand how to best allocate limited supply. Or start moving over stocks before they become a problem for cashflow and space. All participants will need to provide input so everyone has confidence in their plans and responses to change. StockTrim ‘democratizes’ inventory planning in SMB’s.
As the saying goes “Its not the big that eat the small, its the fast that eat the slow” . Right now agility is key.
Things are changing by the hour. The speed of understanding the impact a change will have on your supply plans will have to be faster than ever before, at least sub-hour. You also have to be able to test resolution as fast. Any lag time in testing alternative sources, allocating limited supply or responding to new regulatory restrictions will cause plans to be obsolete before you can take action. For planners to have confidence in their decisions, they need to be able to create scenarios for decision support in seconds. Cloud based software like StockTrim is available anywhere you have WIFI, and can be synced on demand with your Inventory Recording software.
We aren’t going to say this is a ‘new normal’ as no-one really knows where we go from here. But one thing is certain – there is always a need for matching supply with demand as efficiently as possible. StockTrim's stock control software is proving to be a very affordable tool for those that need help removing uncertainty.