Forecast alerts showing opportunities and liabilities

By Jim Lewis, CEO Enhanced Retail Solutions LLC

Last week I attended the Inspired Home Show (formerly known as the Housewares show). I had attended the show for at least 15 years prior to the pandemic. It was always my favorite of all the trade shows because you could eat your way through it. Literally- the South Hall was lined with celebrity chefs cooking with their sponsor’s pots and pans. Local restaurants even had space and offered delicacies along the way. The atmosphere was uplifting and fun.

That’s all changed. Like most trade shows coming out of the pandemic, it was physically smaller and less trafficked. It really depressed me. Not that the show was bad- in fact the educational portion was terrific. I got a lot of great information there. While there were still some big brands there, none of our larger clients go any more. Sadly, neither will I.


One thing that I did pick up that stuck with me came from one of the educational seminars. It’s important to note that most of these conferences are sponsored by the presenting companies. It’s the same model as those apps on your phone with ads. You can play the game but every few minutes an ad pops up. It was a branding agency and they talked about how they could take your strategy from good to great. That concept also applies to what ERS does as well.

We are in the inventory planning business. We help companies turn inventory faster and forecast more accurately. When we approach a company, many say “we do it already”. But there is a big difference between just doing it and doing it great. That difference can be worth millions of dollars to the bottom line.

BI Tools

BI tools and software have become commoditized. You can subscribe to several good ones like Tableaux or Domo. But making it work for you takes a fair number of resources. And designing reports and dashboards that will truly be usable and actionable takes someone who knows the business. It’s hard to find that person with a balance of technology chops and has merchandising in their blood. Many of the companies we talk to have cobbled together a planning “system” using spreadsheets and some 3rd party data integrators. Sure, it works, but it’s not efficient and can easily break when components are updated.

At the same time, we watch companies struggle with trying to implement huge, expensive enterprise ERP or forecasting systems. They end up not improving or going backwards in terms of efficiency over the long period it takes to implement them. Many just abandon that approach and throw their arms up. That’s where external expertise can pay off.


What we do is take our 21+ years of experience at building inventory planning tools and curate it into a modern BI tool. We prefer Microsoft PowerBI. The data translators, item attributes and forecast parameters can still easily be updated in our application but are mostly invisible to the user. This provides a seamless experience to the user who can easily track their business and forecast demand in a format that is comfortable for them. Additionally, it takes advantage of all the latest AI technologies to help them uncover opportunities and liabilities that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Inventory planning dashboard

Customizable Inventory planning launchpad

Forecast by month showing beginning and ending inventory, estimated sales and recommended buys

Forecast by month showing beginning and ending inventory, estimated sales and recommended buys

The response has been tremendous. They realize that they don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a big forecasting tool when what we offer provides a smarter approach and can easily be changed at any time. They now have alerts, stock out predictions, item performance, a forecast, sales plan, ladder plan, action priority list and more without having to learn a new system. They’ve gone from good to great and the payoff is tremendous.

To learn more about our modern approach to forecasting, check this out.

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