If you’re a manufacturer, you’ll know first-hand how inventory forecasting can consume your time and nag away at you. You’ll know all about variable lead times and how much of a headache they can become if not managed correctly; you’ve likely encountered the frustration of when your product’s ready to go, but it’s missing a vital component, or you can recall several times when your service reps got an ear-bashing because your product hasn’t been shipped on time.
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Blick Industrial are leading suppliers of drilling tools, fluids and other products for the drilling industry. Their products enable a wide range of projects to go ahead in New Zealand and Australia - from the massive – think new tunnels and geotechnical drilling - to the minuscule, like connecting homes to high-speed fibre.
Do you have headaches around your demand planning? How does this transfer through to your inventory planning and stock forecasting? Your issues are most likely not completely unique to your business, although they may appear so.
If you want to run a sustainable, sophisticated and profitable manufacturing business that’s renowned for its customer service and delivering excellent products quickly, then you can’t neglect or under-invest in inventory demand planning.
It’s critical that your inventory system can cope with the complexities of the ever-changing sales and distribution landscape. Increased global competition has new products always entering the market, and multiple sales channels – from traditional brick and mortar stores through to online shopping, and third-party marketplaces like Amazon – give your customers greater access and choice. What’s more, customers are more discerning than ever. If you make a mistake or delay shipment of your products because your demand forecasting is not up to scratch, they are likely to leave you and spend their money elsewhere.
When it comes to inventory planning, using a spreadsheet is about as sophisticated and reliable as gazing into a crystal ball. Most businesses have moved away from spreadsheets for their accounting, customer relationship and workflow management, and with good reason. Yet even established global organisations are still relying on spreadsheets for one of their most critical functions: making sure their inventory is not understocked or overstocked, but just right.
With artificial intelligence having a massive rise in popular culture over the past couple of years, conjuring up sci-fi images of intelligent robots taking over the world, cars that drive themselves, speculation that all our jobs will be made redundant, and so on, one question is – what can artificial intelligence really do, and can businesses actually use this technology today?