We work together to turn our research into practical tools that help businesses become more efficient.
Demand-driven Inventory Dispositioning (D2ID)
Today's logistics providers focus is not on the storage of products but more on holding as little inventory as possible for its customers, and working with them to keep products moving. Logistics is about the constant flow of products and asset velocity is key.
The overall goal is to have the right inventory at the right place at the right time and, most importantly, at the right levels. Too much inventory ties up working capital and raises the risk of obsolescence, particularly with fast moving products such as mobile phones, tablets or high fashion items. Too little inventory will lead to stock-outs, missed sales and disappointed end consumers.
The hidden formula
A few years back, we set out to search for the ‘hidden formula’ for lean inventories. Our innovative research centre has led to the creation of Demand-Driven Inventory Dispositioning (D2ID), a new and advanced application for demand forecasting and inventory optimisation.
D2ID allows organisations to analyse supply chain data in order to optimise inventories at SKU level, free up cash and improve service levels. Using the very latest in statistical methods, the application identifies the life cycle behavior of products and can forecast future demand. Inventory and service level requirements in the supply chain can then be planned and optimised accordingly.
3D printing (3DP), also called additive manufacturing, is one of the most exciting frontiers of digital transformation and evolving supply chains. It has the potential to dramatically change the traditional manufacturing and logistics industries, enabling the customisation and personalisation of products at the latest possible stage in the supply chain.
Introducing manufacturing services and 3D Printing (3DP) requires a major change for any company. Following a successful collaboration with Cardiff University to develop the new inventory optimisation application D2ID, PARC used a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) programme to combine academic research in the fields of 3DP and supply chain design.
As part of this partnership a new solution has been developed which assesses the potential impact of 3DP on supply chains, identifying key items which could benefit from transitioning to additive manufacture and restructuring the supply chain to improve performance.
Supply chain analysis
This process evaluates all the products in the supply chain to identify those best suited to additive manufacturing. The analysis initially excludes unsuitable products (eg fast moving and high volume parts) and runs a simulation to compare existing manufacturing methods with 3D printing, thereby identifying the most appropriate parts for the technology.
Here we create a suitable design for additive manufacturing, resulting in a digital file that can be 3D printed. The analysis can include scanning existing products, modifying original drawings, or redesigning the product from scratch. It also includes material selection from a database of more than 30 materials, prototype production and initial quality control.
The printable parts are then stored as files in a digital warehouse, accessible through a webshop or e-commerce platform. This includes a sophisticated order management system that allows production orders to be processed quickly and efficiently at any of our partner's 3D printing locations worldwide.