Forecasters, Programmers and Supply Chain Inventory Optimization Specialists. Costly advanced planning software and significant computing power are also required to perform daily optimization calculations for more than several hundred SKUs. Performance minded organizations also must evaluate their inventory optimization ROI periodically.
For these reasons, supply chains are beginning to evaluate the concept of inventory optimization-as-a-service, as opposed to building and maintaining the competency in house.
Few organizations evaluating an Inventory Optimization solution have considered the frequent difficulties in achieving long-term, sustainable inventory performance such as:
- Hidden costs like internal IT support, software maintenance and upgrade fees
- Overcoming the opportunity cost of large software investments and tracking inventory optimization ROI
- Training and re-training staff to operate complex software systems
- Designing a repeatable process to introduce new products into the planning system
- Altering reports and KPIs when the business need changes
Engaging with a provider for inventory optimization-as-a-service offers benefits relative to creating a solution in-house using off-the-shelf software:
- External experts are held to service standards internal IT typically cannot meet
- Multi-client model offers continual R&D and flex staffing for the cyclical tasks involved in demand planning and inventory analysis
- Ability to cheaply customize business specific processes, report configuration, algorithms, etc...
- "Renting" versus buying software allows for consistently up-to-date technology
- An external provider offers perspective into cross-industry best practices
Implementing Inventory Optimization-as-a-Service allows even large, complex operations to unlock value immediately, with low up-front costs (unlike software) and no training ramp up time.