INFOREM, IBM’s Inventory Forecasting and Replenishment Modules, is a “bottoms up” system for tracking inventory. It tracks items, forecasts demand based on each item’s history, and develops recommended order quantities based on those forecasts. Most suppliers are still using this system.
GRS, Walmart’s Global Replenishment System, is a “top down” system with better capabilities for separating baseline data from seasonal and promotional sales. It works with cleaned data — data that has had the irregularities resulting from special events removed.
Walmart started working on GRS in 2008 and had rolled it out to some food and consumables suppliers by 2012. There was a schedule at that time, but by now it may be switched with little or no warning.
Suppliers can prepare for the change by doing some data cleansing and separating baseline from event sales at the item level and the store level. Retail Link won’t do this automatically. (Need support with this or other forecasting and replenishment efforts? 8th & Walton offers training classes and one-on-one support.)
The two systems run parallel for a while to ease the transition.
Last time we wrote about GRS it had 3 Likes on its Facebook page and it is now up to 25. This highlights the slow progress of the initiative, but it may also show that those suppliers who’ve tried it are finding it valuable.