Forecasting demand for products: 'lean' inventories project wins innovation award

A project which helps businesses accurately forecast demand for their products has picked up a prize for Business Innovation at Cardiff University’s Innovation and Impact Awards 2016.

2016 06 07 073101

Cardiff University’s work with global logistics and freight forwarding company Panalpina set out to find the ‘hidden formula’ for ‘lean’ inventories.

The innovative partnership between the company and Cardiff Business School allowed Panalpina to develop a new forecasting software tool that can predict demand and decide the minimum level of inventories needed to satisfy customers.

2016 06 07 073041‘Demand Driven Inventory Dispositioning’ or D2ID has helped Panalpina to analyse their customers’ supply chain and identify opportunities to reduce inventory, free up cash, and improve service levels.

The innovative venture was forged through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), which allowed Panalpina access to a leading academic from Cardiff Business School’s Logistics and Operations Management (LOM) Section.

Professor Aris Syntetos, Chair in Operational Research and Operations Management at Cardiff Business School, said: “This project worked in a fantastic way, leading to the production of what is essentially a software package to facilitate inventory forecasting decisions on the part of Panalpina’s customers. It will make a major contribution to the operation of businesses. The project has allowed the University to demonstrate in the best possible way the impact of our work and to see knowledge created by our faculty disseminated throughout into Panalpina and their customers.”

Andrew Lahy, Global Head of Logistics Strategy and Innovation, Panalpina, said: “The project not only reduces customers’ costs in terms of inventories, but it also has the potential for a major impact in terms of environmental sustainability, reducing inventory obsolescence – cutting down the number of items that are transported and not sold or otherwise would have to be discarded. What’s more, reduced supply chain costs translate eventually into lower prices paid by end consumers, so there is a benefit for everyone.”

The KTP work was recently judged "outstanding" by the KTP Grading Panel for its achievement in exceeding its original objectives.

Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Awards take place on 22 June. Readers of your publications can vote for the People’s Choice from 5 shortlisted finalists including Panalpina:

The Awards are linked to Cardiff University’s Summer of Innovation.