Out-of-shelf trilemma

Shopping Cart logo

Most people are familiar with the notion of dilemma when two possibilities are offered neither of which being acceptable. Safety stock analysis is a classical mathematical dilemma: you can choose between more stocks or more stockouts, yet both of them generate extra costs.

However, it exists situations where the trade-off is more complex in the sense there are more than 2 unfavorable options to balance. When there are 3 unfavorable options to be balanced, the situation is called a trilemma.

Out-of-shelf (OOS) monitoring, ala Shelfcheck, is facing a trilemma when it comes to the quality of the alerts being delivered:

Pick any two, but you can’t have them all. In fact, for any given demand forecasting accuracy, improving any of those 3 metrics come at the expense of the 2 other metrics.