Brightwork Explorer and Intermittent Demand

Executive Summary

  • Common Question: Why Does Our Product Database Look Like a Service Parts Database?
  • Our reaction and the rising tide of unforecastability.


Due to constant pressure from marketing to grow the product database with new product introductions, demand histories are becoming increasingly intermittent.

Common Question: Why Does Our Product Database Look Like a Service Parts Database?

After analyzing many product databases from customers, it is apparent that companies are being saddled with “service parts” databases. This causes a basic mismatch between many forecasting and supply planning applications that are designed to work with non-intermittent demand histories.

This factors of product proliferation and increasing intermittency decrease the applicability of statistical forecasting methods and applications. All of this is in part hidden the fact that so few companies actually can calculate their forecast error at the product location combination. Secondly, with intermittent demand histories, the standard forecast error benchmarks cannot be applied.

Our Reaction

  • Seeing this rising tide of unforecastability at our customers, we built our error measurement tool with error measurements that can accept a large number of zeros in the demand history and or the forecast history.
  • Secondly, we customized our dynamic safety stock so that it worked with intermittent demand forecast error. With rising intermittency, never before has their been such a large discrepancy between service level expectations and inventory levels. Our application shows the direct tradeoff between service levels and inventory levels, and the total inventory level, not merely the inventory level at a product location combination.
  • Need an Easy to Use Way to Tune Forecasting and MRP Systems?

    We are close to releasing Brightwork Explorer, a new SaaS application which makes forecasting and MRP systems. Highlights include the following:

    • It contains our customized dynamic safety stock calculation, tuned after finding the limitations of the standard calulators.
    • It provides multi constraint visibility.
    • Has an amazing ease of use combined with sophistication.
    • It can provide visibility to tradeoffs related to service level and inventory in the most direct way we have ever seen in any application....and much more
    • It is free to use until it receives "serious usage" and is free to academics, students.

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