Optimizing Inventory for Automotive Aftermarket

Panelite, Dana Corp. and Chicago Rawhide select software for intermittent demand forecasting, better inventory management

Belmont, MA — April 21, 2004 — Smart Software, a supplier of demand forecasting, planning and inventory optimization solutions, announced that three companies recently joined the automotive aftermarket using its flagship product, SmartForecasts.

Panelite, Chicago Rawhide and the Heavy Vehicle Technologies and Systems Group of Dana Corp. said they would use SmartForecasts' capability to forecast intermittent or slow-moving demand and set accurate stocking levels.

SmartForecasts said its intermittent demand forecasting technology is designed for companies in the $158 billion automotive aftermarket to produce accurate forecasts of slow-moving, infrequently demanded items, thus ensuring both product availability and quick delivery, as well as minimize stocking levels to reduce inventory costs.

Panelite Inc., located in Oklahoma City, Okla., manufactures hundreds of different types of accessories for nearly all makes and models of class 8 trucks. The company sells its products to Fortune 50 customers. Of the 3,500 products that Panelite carries, approximately 93 percent have intermittent demand.

"We purchased SmartForecasts to help us service our customers better," said Pete Young, chief financial officer at Panelite. "When a customer places an order, they want it shipped the same day. SmartForecasts is helping us manage our inventory better so that we have the right products at the right time. Its intermittent demand forecasting capabilities have already yielded substantial improvements."

Panelite is aiming for a 95 percent on-time shipping rate and, using SmartForecasts, has already upped it to 93 percent in four months.

Dana Corp.'s Heavy Vehicle Technologies and Systems Group also purchased SmartForecasts with its intermittent demand forecasting technology for its Statesville, N.C. facility. The facility is part of the company's North American Off-Highway business and assembles transmissions and axles for off-highway vehicles. It is the third Dana Corp. facility to license SmartForecasts.

"Recently, we have begun using SmartForecasts as the foundation for a new [sales and operations planning] process," said Matt Schroeder, Forecast manager for the Statesville facility. "We are using the automatic and intermittent forecast features, along with safety stock recommendations, to help maximize delivery performance while maintaining target inventory levels. We anticipate significant improvements in forecast accuracy this year as this new program is implemented."

Chicago Rawhide, headquartered in Elgin, Ill., purchased SmartForecasts to optimize inventories. The subsidiary of Swedish-based AB SKF Group is a worldwide provider of sealing solutions, manufacturing almost 25,000 variants of shaft seals for the vehicle service and manufacturing and processing equipment markets. The company plans to use SmartForecasts with its intermittent demand forecasting capabilities to better estimate its inventory requirements for high volume and slow-moving products.