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ASTUTE 2020 Update September 2020

Here at ASTUTE 2020, we can support your business throughout this period of uncertainty. Our world-class academics and technical experts from across our strong Welsh Universities partnership are available to support you through research and innovation activities. If you wish to discuss opportunities for working with us e.g. to modify your production to develop solutions to support the fight against COVID-19, you can contact us via email.


Respond to the Current Lockdown Challenge: Manage your Forecasting and Inventory Control Remotely with Support from ASTUTE 2020

Respond to the Current Lockdown Challenge: Manage your Forecasting and Inventory Control Remotely with Support from ASTUTE 2020


ASTUTE 2020’s close involvement with industry ensures that all research has relevance and meaning to the companies we collaborate with. The focus on applied research enables us to contribute to the needs of the local region through our collaborations, which provide access to world-class expertise and facilities in manufacturing systems engineering. It is more important than ever to ensure your business has a good forecasting and inventory strategy; how you manage this can make all the difference to your business. The ASTUTE 2020 team are available to provide remote support during these challenging times. In this article, we explore Forecasting and Inventory Control, how companies are enhancing the robustness of their manufacturing systems and how we can helping you to gain clarity, control and confidence in developing a sustainable forecasting and inventory strategy.

Forecasting and Inventory Control – What are they and How can they be Used in Manufacturing?

Demand forecasting provides an estimate of future demand for products forming the basis for planning and business decision-making. Forecasting aims to match supply with demand – striking the balance between what your customers want to purchase and the manufacturing and inventory required to meet the demand. Furthermore, it may be used in price-setting decisions, determining future capacity requirements, or even in assessing whether to enter a new market.

Inventory in a manufacturing company is perhaps one of the most tangible and visible components of the business, whether it is raw materials or finished products. Inventory control is based on appropriate levels of stock in a business, ensuring companies can provide goods and services in the right quantity, quality, cost, and timeframe.

Why Forecasting and Inventory Control is Important to the Manufacturing Supply Chain?

Forecasting facilitates core business functions like budgeting, sales and marketing, raw material planning, and of course production planning; fundamentally without inventory, there is no supply chain.

A good quality demand forecast can provide vital information for setting desired raw material, work in progress and finished goods inventory levels. This helps reduce disruption caused by the Bullwhip effect across the entire manufacturing supply chain, enabling optimised inventory levels and hence a reduction in out-of-stock or over-stocked situations, thereby improving customer service and reducing costs. 

What are the Opportunities and Challenges of Incorporating these Production Planning Systems?

The opportunities that good forecasting and inventory control can offer extend far beyond just providing good customer service, there can be many operational and supply chain benefits:

  • Improved utilisation of production capacity: Using the forecasted demand, current inventory, and availability of raw materials, production can be scheduled more appropriately.
  • Better inventory levels: Using forecasted demand enables the optimisation of inventory levels and a reduction in out-of-stock or over-stocked situations. 
  • Improved customer service: When inventory levels have been optimised, distribution and logistics can be improved which in turn enables customer service metrics like Delivery In Full On Time (DIFOT) to be met due to right-sizing and positioning of inventory.
  • Better supplier relations: Demand forecasts drive the raw material planning process which enables the Purchasing Managers to release timely purchase plans to suppliers.
  • Improved material pricing and terms: The increased visibility and transparency of material demand can provide leverage with which to negotiate more favourable terms from suppliers. 

However, as all companies deal with an unknown and uncertain future, there will be a discrepancy between forecast and actual demand. Therefore, the key challenge of forecasting is applying appropriate forecasting techniques to best minimise the deviation between actual demand and forecast. Because a forecast is a prediction of the future, factors that influence demand, their impact and whether these will continue to influence future demands must be considered in developing an accurate forecast. As such, expert guidance when applying these techniques is essential and can be accessed through ASTUTE 2020.

How Remote Collaboration can Benefit your Production - Implementing Forecasting and Inventory Control with ASTUTE 2020 Support

Forecasting and inventory control are highly data and software-driven; by providing access to expertise in manufacturing systems engineering, ASTUTE 2020 can assist with improving the use of resources in the manufacturing process and managing the supply chain of products and services. Collaboration is key to building resilient businesses and supply chains that can meet and overcome the challenges facing manufacturing in the 21st Century; the ASTUTE 2020 team is here to support you and can do so remotely.

How is ASTUTE 2020’s Expertise in Forecasting Systems and Inventory Control going to Enhance Business Productivity within the Manufacturing Sector?

ASTUTE 2020 has access to leading (and award-winning) experts in the field, including expertise in statistical and judgmental supply chain forecasting, statistical inventory control and inventory management, and forecasting within closed-loop / re-manufacturing supply chains.

Case Studies / Projects

BCB International Ltd. - Efficient and Resilient Manufacturing Systems and Supply Chains

BCB International has seen increased demand for their products and they have moved into new facilities in Cardiff. The collaboration with ASTUTE 2020 will play a critical role in the company meeting its future growth targets through enhancing the resilience of their manufacturing systems and supply chains.

Markes International Ltd. - Resilient Manufacturing Systems and Supply Chains

A full case study on our collaboration with Markes International is available at https://www.astutewales.com/en/case-studies.htm?id=92

Reid Lifting Limited - Reid Lifting Forecasting and Inventory Control

There is growing international demand for their equipment and Reid Lifting has successfully positioned its product range to capitalise on this market for several years. The ASTUTE 2020 collaboration will play a critical role in the company meeting its growth targets, through enhancing the robustness of their forecasting, inventory, and manufacturing systems.

ASTUTE 2020 can support manufacturing companies across a variety of sectors, such as aerospace, automotive, energy generation, oil and gas, medical devices, electronics, foods, etc., stimulating growth by applying advanced engineering technologies to manufacturing challenges driving cutting-edge research and innovation. ASTUTE 2020 collaborations inspire manufacturing companies to improve and streamline their manufacturing processes, manufactured products and supply chain, generating sustainable, higher-value goods and services and bringing them to a global market.

The ASTUTE 2020 operation has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and the participating Higher Education Institutions.

Get in touch to discuss opportunities for working with us; the team at Cardiff University will be happy to provide support on your Forecasting and Inventory Control manufacturing challenge, email HopkinsAC2@cardiff.ac.uk