It’s near impossible to buy a new car with a manual transmission. It’s true- there are very few three-pedal cars anymore. Why? Automatic transmissions became ubiquitous because they require less work of the driver, provide a more comfortable ride and perform better. And with the aid of computers, they keep getting better. A computer controls the transmission and tells it how and when to shift in virtually any situation to get the performance, speed or braking required by the driver. Ferrari doesn’t even sell manuals anymore (I think).
So why is a company like ERS who is laser-focused on Inventory Productivity talking about automatic transmissions? Because it’s a great metaphor of what we have been working hard to accomplish. We have the expertise and great solutions to help our clients, but they are becoming more time, focus and resource-starved. We’ve long provided actionable reports. We took the next step and created RetailNarrative- the first retail solution with augmented intelligence that analyzed data and provided recommendations. Yet there are certain aspects and functions of planning that require pure mechanics and human interaction. Forecasting and Ladder Planning are great examples. No two companies forecast or format the same way. While there are great reasons to make the leap (standardization, improved accuracy, greater visibility, etc.), many companies choose not to because of the steep learning curve and onboarding. They lose out on all the benefits and greatness eludes them. We reduce that pain point by automating as much of the set up as possible, hand-holding and relying on “smart” features to automate much of the process.
We rolled out several new enhancements to our forecasting tool kit in 2019, and 2020 will see even more. Item Planner, our ladder planning solution will be enhanced with a smart feature that adjusts estimated sales based on changes to the promotional plan. It checks the strength (or weakness) of how similar promotions performed in the past in similar circumstances and applies the optimal result. It’s a task that would require hours by hand and still relies on a great deal of guesswork.
Automatic doesn’t solely apply to software. Our hybrid business model provides an advantage because it enables our clients to simply subscribe to ERS, entitling them to pick up the phone and talk to our planning experts (consultants), and receive their Reports, Forecasts, Item Plans, Data Interpretation in whatever format and delivery method they prefer. Whether a client uses our tools on their own or we use it on their behalf and deliver the results to them they are covered.
Please check out our recently updated website that reflects these principles that have proven so successful. You’ll also see our tagline which I think sums it all up: “Smart companies manage inventory by the numbers, not by chance”. We think it’s really clutch!