Frequently Asked Questions
- Created: Monday, 09 February 2009 23:10
- Last Updated: Monday, 01 April 2013 22:53
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How is Inventory Management Explained different from other books on inventory management?
Though the book covers the same basic topics you would find in other books on inventory management, it goes into much greater detail and offers unique insights from the author (me). The book truly was written to explain inventory management, not just to introduce topics and calculations.
Can a book like this really be written for both beginners and experienced practitioners?
Ultimately you will have to judge for yourself, but I wrote this book with the intent that it would be an advanced discussion of the key planning areas of inventory management written in a way that should be understandable to readers that have not previously worked in inventory management. Now when I say "advanced discussion", I'm not talking about a bunch of stuffy academic theory. Instead, I'm talking about providing a thorough explanation of topics. Technically, this shouldn't be considered advanced, but in contrast to the typical glossing-over approach that these topics usually get, I'm calling it advanced.
Do I need Microsoft Excel in order to understand the examples in this book?
No. The book is written with the intent that you will be using a spreadsheet program to do the examples, but you don't absolutely need Excel. The majority of the examples can easily be done in other spreadsheet programs including the Free Openoffice.org Calc program (though you won't be able to do the Regression Analysis or Solver examples). See my Calc Notes. Technically, you don't have to do the examples at all. The spreadsheet examples are included to help explain the calculations, but the calculations are also explained in plain English.
Is there a disk or download included that contains the spreadsheet examples?
Absolutely not. I'm a firm believer that people learn best by doing. So while you are setting up your own spreadsheets following the instructions in the book, it is hoped that you will actually be thinking about what it is you are doing. That said, I do understand that some of the formulas included in the book are complicated (and really long) and are highly subject to typos, therefore I have included Cut&Paste examples of some of these formulas on this website.
Why does it appear that some of the values in the examples in the book don't add up?
Well, barring any actual errors (I'm not aware of any at this point), there are some places where formatting/rounding used to present the data in tables in the book result in the appearance of an error. However, if you set up the spreadsheets (as is assumed), you will see the numbers in the book are correct. So given my choice of having the numbers appear accurate versus having them actually be accurate, I chose the latter.
Why can't I just download the complete spreadsheet examples?
I covered this in the FAQ for those considering purchasing the book. But basically it comes down to my belief that people learn better by doing. Sure, I could easily upload the files to this site, but the point of this book is to convey knowledge, not to provide software. I did, however, provide Cut&Paste Formulas for some of the longer and more complicated formulas.
Based on the complexities and inherent inaccuracies of the history-based forecasting and safety stock calculations you've described in the book, isn't there a better way to predict demand?
Funny you should ask that because I did experiment a little with building a time machine based on Einstein's Theory of Relativity. However, it quickly became apparent that even though I could theoretically travel forward in time, there was no way for me to get back. Therefore, this information would be of no practical use.
What's the deal with the oddball comments in the book?
Well let's put it this way. Writing a book about inventory management is not exactly fun, in fact it can be a rather unpleasant experience at times. So if a humorous or interesting thought crosses my mind as I'm writing, I just go ahead and throw it in there. This is more for my amusement than anything else. I'm well aware that not everyone shares my sense of humor, and some of the obscure pop culture references may even confuse a few, but if one of my comments catches just one unsuspecting reader off guard and results in some of their favorite beverage squirting out of their nose, its all worth it as far as I'm concerned. And if others don't think its funny, or are even mildly offended by it, so be it. Hell, you should see the stuff I edited out of it.