If your brand sells direct-to-consumer in 2022, you know how important it is to meet shipping deadlines.
With rising delivery demands and increasing postal delays, missing a shipping deadline means your consumers will receive their purchase late, resulting in poor reviews at best and demands for refunds at worst. Still, an estimated one-third of businesses regularly miss shipment deadlines. Why?
They’ve sold a product that wasn’t in stock. In other words: Poor inventory forecasting.
Inventory forecasting can feel a bit like mind-reading. Inventory management is challenging enough without trying to keep track of what product you currently have on hand and how quickly it’s selling and how quickly the product will sell in the future. Trying to plan for future demand manually is a recipe for wasted time and inaccurate forecasts. Instead, you will need to implement inventory forecasting software to forecast your inventory needs effectively.
This post examines five top options for inventory forecasting software in 2022. We will discuss the features, best use-cases, and pros and cons for each solution, giving you all the information you need to make an informed decision.
What Is Inventory Forecasting Software (And How Does It Work)?
We’ve discussed the importance of inventory forecasting, but let’s step back a pace and establish what inventory forecasting means. Inventory forecasting is a method of predicting the amount of inventory you will need in the future. This process, also called demand planning, is achieved using data, trends, and upcoming seasons or events to reliably meet customer demand without overstocking.
To create accurate and reliable inventory forecasting, you need inventory forecasting software that considers several data points that help you synchronize sales pace and inventory availability. These data points include current inventory levels, outstanding purchase orders, maximum stock levels with current warehouse space, sales trends, and upcoming seasons or events.
No inventory forecasting software is the right solution for every business. This post will cover five excellent options for inventory forecasting software, each tailored to a slightly different industry or use case, giving you all the information you need to find the solution best suited to your business.
Lokad is a quantitative supply chain optimization software. You can use Lokad to replace your current system of spreadsheets, helping your business improve stocking, pricing, production, and more. Lokad is best suited for small- to mid-sized businesses in aerospace, automotive aftermarket, and manufacturing.
Some pros of Lokad’s solution are the data import and export capabilities, enabling you to import data from another program which can help you get all your data in one place, increasing your accuracy. One significant downside of Lokad is that users report struggling to use the software on the Windows operating system.
Intuendi is a demand forecasting and inventory optimization software solution. Omni-channel support is at the center of Intuendi’s solution, making them a good fit for businesses looking to coordinate inventory across multiple channels and locations.
One pro of Intuendi’s solution is the ability to include causal factors like promotions, stockouts, or calendar events in your forecast calculations. Additionally, users appreciate the simple user interface of the program. A negative that users have reported is the difficulty of manually uploading data from external sources to use in their forecasting processes.
Toolio is a merchandising platform that automates workflows, provides insights in real-time, and supports collaboration over the cloud. Toolio offers personalized layouts, custom metrics, and dynamic open-to-buy plans. Toolio is a good fit for fashion retailers in particular.
You can use Toolio to plan your merchandise to fit your growth, profits, and more goals. One downside of using Toolio is that it does not provide an API, which can make it challenging to integrate Toolio with other tools in your tech stack.
NetStock offers a predictive inventory planning solution that can help your business with forecasting, replenishment, and more. If your team is looking for a simple-to-use solution that can be leveraged without data analysts on staff, NetStock may be a good solution to consider.
Pros of working with NetStock include its integration with Microsoft Dynamics, the ease of use, and its “what-if” feature which allows users to do scenario planning. Users do have struggles with NetStock, as well. Some challenges with NetStock include issues with the time fence horizon, and inefficiencies that require the user to export and reimport data regularly. NetStock also requires an ERP and does not connect directly with sales channels.
Flieber uses integrations and API to connect to multiple data sources to bring all the data into a single platform and to make sure you're leveraging real-time data. We also use AI and machine learning to leverage that data and get to a more accurate, predictable forecast.
Flieber offers a robust demand planning dashboard, replenishment features, real-time adjustment recommendations to shipping or sales, and more.
A major positive of working with Flieber is our forecasting method. Our forecast preprocesses your historical data to automatically accommodate for elements that can impact your forecast, such as stockout, price fluctuation, or larger-scale influences such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
One potential challenge of using Flieber is that the system is built for online retailers, so some brick-and-mortar retailers may not be able to leverage Flieber to its maximum potential. However, we should note that showrooms or brick-and-mortar stores with separate online channels will still be able to leverage all of Flieber’s functionality.
Getting Maximum Benefit From Your Inventory Forecasting Software
Inventory forecasting software can help your business plan for fluctuating demand patterns, reduce stockouts and overstock, and optimize your supply chain processes. Implementing a software solution with the features and functionality your business’s needs can help you identify cost-savings opportunities and prevent inventory-related issues.
Flieber understands the importance of effective inventory planning. Our solution is built to help you eliminate the struggles associated with inventory management. Improving your inventory forecasting processes will simplify your decision-making and ordering processes, giving you the space to focus on growing your business instead of spending countless hours wrangling your inventory processes.
To see how Flieber’s inventory forecasting software can improve your business processes, schedule a demo today!