Intelligent Analytics

The Problem with Spreadsheets for BI

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SpreadsheetsIf there is a more user-friendly software application that provides greater utility and flexibility than spreadsheets, I don’t know what it would be. For the past 40 years spreadsheet software packages have endured themselves to millions of business users in all industries and business segments as a means of simplifying their lives and providing a better understanding of various business problems. But with little or no control over the use cases, enduring users sometimes find themselves in trouble when it’s too late to correct errors within the spreadsheets; or even worse, to not identify errors before critical business decisions have been made based on the spreadsheet data. View Article…

Dashboard Design: 5 Pitfalls to Avoid

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Dashboard DesignAs the benefits of performance measurement become more broadly known, analysts are seeing a tremendous uptick in the number of organizations that are implementing data visualization frameworks like executive dashboards to showcase key measures of financial and operational performance. But effectively highlighting a lot of information within a small space can be daunting. View Article…

Supply Chain Agility: How Important Is It?

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Agile Supply ChainAgility (or the ability to move quickly and easily) is a desirable trait in almost any situation ― particularly as it relates to the supply chain.  As its name implies, the role of a supply chain is to not only insure that the enterprise has the proper raw material supplies to produce the final product, but in a broader sense to insure that the enterprise is nimble enough to meet customer demands in a profitable way. It is a philosophically simple concept, but difficult to execute on a consistent basis.   View Article…

Why We Struggle To Optimize Inventory

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HeadwindsOptimization is defined as making the “best” of anything. The true meaning is in defining what is the “best.” In the case of inventory, in my opinion, it’s the balance between the improvements in return on assets (ROA) and the loss in sales and customer good will. That careful balance needs to be constantly evaluated in an analytical fashion from one operating period to another. View Article…

Getting SALES To Cooperate With Forecasting (Gulp!)

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cooperateThere are 2 and ½ good reasons to gain input from sales people during the forecasting process. First is to provide feedback on the financial budget vs. expected actual. And second, but most importantly to the demand planning people, is to collaborate on the final forecast for downstream planning. Of course, sales forecast vs. actual performance is a clear means for personnel performance evaluation of sales people. View Article…

A Demand Forecasting Checklist That Can Save Your Career

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Demand-Planners-ChecklistEmbarking on a demand forecasting project is usually a somewhat frightening challenge especially if you were the one pushing for the change. The cost justification for the project may have been aggressive and the expectations may have been set a bit high to get the project launched – it’s all part of the game sometimes. But if you didn’t do so during the justification phase, here’s a high-level checklist that can help ensure the success of your demand forecasting initiative while putting your career as a demand planner in the driver’s seat ― not under the wheel! View Article…

Debunking the Myths of Demand Forecasting

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Demand-Forecasting-MythsPutting a new forecasting system in place usually meets with a good deal of resistance for a variety of reasons – some good and some are just smoke screens to avoid accountability. Let’s look at the good, the bad and the ugly to try to uncover the real truth.

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Why Have a Supply Chain Information Repository?

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SupplyChainDataBig data and corporate data warehouses have been expanding exponentially with information that’s not exactly a benefit to the operations and supply chain community. Supply chain management requires highly specialized integrated data not found in corporate data warehouses to support a fast-moving global supply network and a more demanding customer base. This data needs to be gathered from new sources, transformed and enriched to be useful to supply chain professionals. But unfortunately, that comes with challenges like these: View Article…

Analyzing and Managing Supply Chain Risks

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Supply Chain RiskThe financial health of an enterprise today is directly dependent upon the health of their supply chain. With that exposure, it is only prudent to employ a risk management strategy to the supply chain.   Sales and Operations Planning is a “must” for progressive enterprises, but its job is to react to changes and retarget to meet customer demand within a constrained supply base ― not to assess risk. View Article…

Creating and Executing an Inventory Plan

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InventoryInventory is one of the largest assets on the balance sheet of most manufacturing and distribution companies ― understandably making it a favorite cost reduction target by financial executives. My perception is that too often the effort is placed on reducing inventory levels without a good, manageable plan. View Article…