supply chain

6月 142018

With all the technology advancements and innovative trends driving Industry 4.0 right now, you might expect geeky topics like the Internet of Things (IoT) or artificial intelligence (AI) to be the hottest topics of discussion among industry leaders. Instead, many leaders are still more focused on workplace culture. And here’s [...]

Workplace culture still No. 1 challenge for manufacturers was published on SAS Voices by Roger Thomas

2月 272018

“Quick response forecasting (QRF) techniques are forecasting processes that can incorporate information quickly enough to act upon by agile supply chains” explained Dr. Larry Lapide, in a recent Journal of Business Forecasting column. The concept of QRF is based on updating demand forecasts to reflect real and rapid changes in demand, both [...]

Is quick response forecasting a reality or just another buzzword? was published on SAS Voices by Charlie Chase

8月 172017

Analytics-driven forecasting means more than measuring trend and seasonality. It includes all categories of methods (e.g. exponential smoothing, dynamic regression, ARIMA, ARIMA(X), unobserved component models, and more), including artificial intelligence, but not necessarily deep learning algorithms. That said, deep learning algorithms like neural networks can also be used for demand forecasting, [...]

At the end of the day, it’s all about analytics-driven forecasting was published on SAS Voices by Charlie Chase

4月 062017

The widespread adoption of the term "analytics" reminds me of the evolution of the term "supply chain management." Initially the term focused on supply chain planning. It involved demand and supply balancing and the heuristics and optimization tools that came out of advanced planning and scheduling. Over time practically everything was included [...]

When everything is analytics, nothing is analytics...? was published on SAS Voices by Scott Nalick

12月 202016

Black Friday 2016 took everybody by surprise. The biggest shopping day of the year is a crucial date in any retailer’s calendar. And rightly so. Auditors and analysts predicted that 2016 would see the majority of consumers splashing out more cash than ever before on everything from scented candles to […]

5 ways for retailers to thrive in post-Brexit Britain was published on SAS Voices.

11月 162015

Once upon a time, the festive countdown began when towns and cities switched on their Christmas lights. We all sat at home, eagerly waiting for Christmas adverts to debut. Retailers could plan based on the number of weekends left until Christmas. But last year, all that changed – the Black Friday phenomenon arrived in the UK and totally changed the way we shop for Christmas.

This year, Black Friday week is expected to be more popular than the week before Christmas for festive shopping. One in five British shoppers plan to go bargain hunting, with 25- to 29-years-old being the most likely group to shop during that week according to our research. Younger age groups are notoriously difficult to predict as they are the most likely to compare prices online and are more open to purchases via different channels, incRetail Offersluding mobile. It’s putting retailers on the spot as so much of their revenue will be determined by a single day’s trading. Amazon and Argos have even started their Black Friday sales three weeks early to bring some order to proceedings!

But, retailers be warned. Brits may love a good price - three in four (75 per cent) of us are primarily motivated by price and half of us (51 per cent) are motivated by getting a bargain. But just under half of us (46 per cent) by the product being in stock. Even if retailers tick all the boxes to win over consumers, long queues are one sure way to lose sales. Consumer tolerance for bargain hunting is limited to one-minute for each one per cent discount when waiting for a store to open. This ‘patience ratio’ drops to about 40 seconds for each per cent discount at the checkout.

It all means retailers are facing the most unpredictable Christmas shopping period yet. Black Friday has changed market dynamics from a fulfilment and a predictability perspective, and for many retailers it’s set to be the busiest trading day this year. Price wars are extremely difficult to forecast and cater for when squeezed into a shorter timeframe. If retailers don’t attract enough customers they lose out, but if they can’t deliver on what they promise they also lose out.  It’s a difficult balancing act. And it doesn’t end there. The channel used must be evaluated – John Lewis announced earlier this year that it would now be charging for its ‘Click & Collect’ service as it was costing them too much to deliver it free of charge. Regional variations and weather patterns complicate the picture too.

Analytics can spare retailers a nerve-jangling finger-in-the-air experience this Christmas. By extracting insights from data in marketing, merchandising, supply chain, operations and more, it gives them the ability to make evidence-based decisions as to what is driving demand for which customers, when and via what channel based on their habits and preferences.  Only then can they make sensible decisions about pricing, stock levels and optimising their resources and supply chain.

It’s intriguing to see what happens next and who the winners and losers are.  Some US retailers, such as REI, have even pledged to remain closed on Black Friday this year – basically removing themselves from the game. One factor is that it’s a holiday period in the US, being the Friday after Thanksgiving, so there’s some feeling it should be a quiet time with friends and family rather than a time for frantic shopping.

To find out more about UK consumer spending habits this Christmas, check out the key findings from our 2015 SAS Christmas Shopper Survey.

tags: analytics, demand forecasting, online store, retail, Supply Chain

Retailers facing most unpredictable Christmas ever was published on Customer Analytics.

4月 232015

Profitable growth is at the forefront of manufacturing executives’ minds¹.  The math is simple:  increase revenue and decrease costs.  Easy, right?  Unfortunately, getting there isn't that simple.  The good news is that analytics can help.  The better news is that there’s a new place for manufacturers to discover analytic best […]

The post New source for manufacturing best practices appeared first on SAS Voices.

3月 032015

Retailers love to forecast a busy Black Friday.Black Friday might seem like a long time ago now, but the impact of this new phenomenon in the UK still ripples. Retailers such as Dixons Carphone embraced the shopping day and once the results were tallied, that turned out to be a good move. The retailer attributes the success to careful planning around promotions and supply chain in anticipation of Black Friday, which contrasts with press reports of other retailers not faring so well for the opposite reason - a lack of planning.

With all indications showing that Black Friday is in the UK to stay, it puts the pressure on for retailers to improve their planning. And considering the complexity of today's operating environment, effective planning means being able to balance multiple constraints and business goals simultaneously to consistently get the best result.

That process begins with better demand forecasting and builds from there into sensible decisions about how much of each product to have in stock and on the shelves.

The so-called ‘casualties’ of the UK’s Black Friday will need to be planning at a much more granular level. When it comes to the detail, it’s the unpredictability of the season that is proving a challenge. For example, Argos Chief Executive John Walden talks about being more strategic about what is put on sale - "balancing the things that make money versus the things that may not."

For me, this all points towards success being based on real knowledge and data. Crucially, knowing the difference between simple planning based on what happened the year before and much more accurate forecasting based on solid insights as to what will actually happen this year. Accurate forecasting based on solid insights is the difference between hindsight and the insight and foresight made possible from analytics.

This by no means applies exclusively to Black Friday. Retailers will be planning for the next big event, whether Valentine’s Day, Easter or Mother’s Day – but ask yourself and your colleagues what foresight does your organisation have? Our recent research with retail analysts Conlumino suggests nearly half of all retailers in the UK are still relying on gut instinct - certainly not the best approach.

A better way is to use historical data and current trading conditions to properly plan for future events. For even more details about the difference that analytics makes in retail, I encourage you to download this recent SAS report, EKN Report: 3rd Annual Analytics in Retail Study.

tags: analytics, demand forecasting, Inventory Management, retail, Supply Chain
10月 302014
Have you ever thought about how to improve your Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) process beyond where you might be today? There's certainly no lack of advice on the topic of S&OP on the Internet. Some articles focus on the overall process while others focus on S&OP software and related support tools. In […]