Carrying the right amount of inventory is a delicate balance for retailers, who must anticipate the demand for particular products based on seasonal and intermittent market trends throughout the calendar year.
Keeping enough inventory on hand to service the demand spikes certainly addresses revenue and customer satisfaction, but ties up capital in slow movers that could be leveraged elsewhere a significant concern in the current economy where every pound, euro or dollar is important. To address these challenges, Manhattan Associates has created the Unified Forecasting Method, an algorithm leveraged within Manhattans Demand Forecasting solution to automatically sense shifts in market demand and slash wasted inventory based on seasonal and intermittently demanded products.
The Unified Forecasting Method (UFM) was developed by blending four different forecasting methods, with the goal of solving the challenge of planning inventory levels for products with unpredictable buying patterns. After analysing the algorithm with a Manhattan customer in the auto parts industry, the results showed that UFM also addressed the issue of seasonal demand, enabling the Demand Forecasting solution to provide the best trended, seasonally adjusted forecast possible and maintain appropriate inventory levels of different products in different locations, creating shelf space for products in demand.
We put the Unified Forecasting Method through a proof-of-concept with one of our customers last year and projected an inventory savings of almost $150M, along with significant service level increases, said Eddie Capel, executive vice president, Global Operations, Manhattan Associates. Demand Forecasting is an ideal technology to deploy during tough economic timeseasy to adopt and delivering meaningful, tangible results.
Demand Forecasting can be deployed as a stand-alone solution or synchronised with Manhattans Financial Planning, Item Planning and Inventory Optimisation solutions, all part of the Manhattan SCOPE portfolio, designed to help organisations optimise their supply chains from planning through execution. Manhattan Associates' Planning and Forecasting solution suite enables retailers to accurately predict the impact of changing demand on key performance indicators such as margin, turn, receipt flow and inventory flow. In addition, the solution neutralises data-entry errors and peaks in demand caused by promotions and declines generated by adverse weather conditions.
Innovative science and math concepts like the Unified Forecasting Method are the direct result of Manhattans industry-leading investment in supply chain research and development, continued Capel. Manhattan leverages its Science Advisory Board, made up of Manhattan experts along with thought leaders from institutions such as MIT, Columbia University and Georgia Tech, to continually identify new areas of supply chain innovation.