Smart Software Inc., a provider of demand forecasting, planning and inventory optimization solutions, has been awarded a second Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Smart will use the research funds to extend and improve its current intermittent demand forecasting solution by developing an advanced proprietary method.
Upon successful completion of its SBIR research, Smart Software will offer a next-generation forecasting solution for intermittently demanded items, such as service and spare parts. The commercial impact of this project will be to improve demand planning and inventory management for companies with large, often expensive, inventories of service/spare parts.
This new research extends work undertaken more than ten years ago under Smart Software’s first SBIR Phase I and Phase II grants, which led to the development of technology known as the Smart-Willemain method of forecasting intermittent or “slow-moving” demand. In 2001, Smart received a US patent for this new method. This technology is currently available in Smart’s supply chain planning and forecasting system, SmartForecasts.
The innovation in Smart’s proposed research is that companies can achieve even greater accuracy and power in forecasting intermittently demanded items, such as service and spare parts, by approaching the problem in an unconventional way. The research has already established the statistical validity of a new way of conceptualizing and analyzing a firm’s “portfolio” of service/spare parts, one that moves beyond the conventional one-item-at-a-time approach and deals with multiple items simultaneously. The need for this new solution is based on Smart’s experience working with customers in major industries—aerospace, automotive, utilities, high tech—where large numbers of service and spare parts must be inventoried.