NetSuite integrated by Lokad

NetSuite was one of the first ERP systems operating fully in SaaS mode. Over the years, the NetSuite solution has steadily expanded, and NetSuite now features an extensive business suite which includes financials, CRM and more. Today, we are proud to announce that NetSuite is now natively supported by Lokad. Thanks to the SuiteTalk integration (web service), Lokad can import the integrality of NetSuite data and deliver advanced inventory forecasts and/or pricing optimization solutions.

Supply Chain Antipatterns, a Lokad initiative

Most of the supply chain initiatives fail. Yet, over the years at Lokad, we started to realize that those failures are far from random: there are recurrent patterns that invariably lead to failure. Thus, we decided to start a side initiative to survey the most frequent misguided responses to supply chain challenges through our new blog Supply Chain Antipatterns. The blog comes with real comic strips produced in-house by the Lokad team.

Beyond software: inventory optimization as a service

SaaS is the promise of no software. However, as far inventory optimization is concerned, no matter how good the service, software alone can’t address the full challenge. Delivering inventory performance take significant efforts: Quantitative performance metrics must be carefully aligned with business goals; otherwise the “system” is just going to let your business accelerate in the wrong direction. Historical data must be thoroughly qualified ; otherwise, the “system” will fall for the too common garbage in, garbage out problems.

Data qualification is critical

Wikipedia lists seven steps for a data analysis process: data requirements, data collection, data processing, data cleaning, exploratory data analysis, data modeling, and finally the generation of production results. When Lokad forecasts inventory, optimizes prices, or anytime we tackle some kind of commerce optimization, our process is very similar to the one described above. However, there is another one vital step that typically accounts for more than half of all the effort typically applied by Lokad’s team and that is not even part of the list above.

Hiring our Chief Marketing Officer!

We are hiring a lead generation wizard! Lokad is a software company that specializes in quantitative optimization for commerce. We help merchants, and a few other verticals, to forecast their inventory and to optimize their prices. We are profitable; we are still small but growing fast. We are closing deals North America, Europe and Asia. The vast majority of our clients are not in France. Lokad is sold through the web, almost exclusively relying on inbound marketing.

SkuVault natively integrated

SkuVault is a warehouse management software tailored for eCommerce. We are pleased to announce that SkuVault is now natively supported by Lokad. Importing the SkuVault historical data into Lokad can now be done with a single click - or no clicks at all using our scheduling feature. Now SkuVault-powered businesses can get advance inventory forecasts as well as powerfull commerce analytics within minutes.

Competitive intelligence with Competera

Starting from today, Lokad-powered merchants can obtain the prices of their competitors by using their own Lokad account, thanks to our new partner Competera. The app benefits from a native integration within Lokad. Competera is a competitive price monitoring app. Give them the domain names of your competitors, the domain name of your own store, and Competera will begin extracting prices right from the web. Competera takes care of generating a price matrix where each one of your products gets matched with the prices of your competitors.

Currency exchange rates with Envision

Merchants frequently buy with one currency and sell using another. As online commerce is becoming more and more a global commerce, it’s not unusual to encounter merchants who are buying in multiple currencies, and selling in multiple currencies as well. From a business analytics viewpoint, it soon becomes rather complicated to figure out where the margins stand exactly. In particular, margins depend not only on the present currency conversion rates, but also on those that have been in place 6 months ago.

In the end, there can be only one

When it comes to the optimization of stock levels, or prices, or assortments … merchants need to look at many business performance indicators to be able to make the correct operational decisions. However, numerical optimization, much like statistical forecasting, is deeply counter-intuitive. In particular, there is a deep and subtle catch when using indicators to optimize an aspect of your business: in the end, there can be only one. Maintaining multiple indicators to drive the final decision that results from an optimization process is a recipe for picking a posteriori the metric that makes the management looks good, while damaging the business in the process.

Document your folders with MarkDown

Whenever Lokad produces a dashboard or a forecasting report, under the hood, the input data is stored as tabular files within your Lokad account. Those files are accessible through the Files tab of the top navbar. However, when you’re account grow large, with many files and many folders, it might also become a bit messy too. Keeping the data well organized and well documented is a critical part of a good data-driven commerce optimization initiative.

Forecasting 3.0 with Quantile Grids

Delivering better forecasts has always been the core focus for Lokad. Today, we are unveiling the third generation of our forecasting technology based on quantile grids. In layman’s terms, quantile grids demonstrate an unprecedented level of performance which means that your company can service more clients, more reliably, and with less inventory. Unlike all the existing forecasting methods available on the market, quantile grids do not provide one demand forecast per product, but provide the entire probability distribution for (nearly) all possible futures.

Wanted: competitive price monitoring partner

We are seeking an awesome competitive price monitoring app that would be natively integrated into Lokad. Our goal is to offer a 1-click solution to Lokad-powered merchants to allow them to obtain their competitors’ prices. If you happen to know such a solution that you would like to see implemented in Lokad, don’t hesitate to forward this post to a relevant contact. If you happen to work in such a company, well, read on.

Salescast and Priceforge have been merged

Innovation is a messy process. If we knew the final destination from the start, the path to getting there would be a lot less convoluted. Lokad is no exception. Over the last year, we constantly kept innovating, right from the beginning of the year as far as inventory forecasting is concerned, and have moved on to pricing optimization more recently. And along the way, we introduced a series of apps, Salescast and Priceforge being the most important ones.

Advance scheduling of your forecasting reports

It was already possible to schedule the refresh of an inventory forecasting report through the usage of a WebCron, however, the actual walkthrough was somewhat convoluted. Thus, we decided to make things simpler, and starting from today, Lokad supports a built-in integration with EasyCron.com. The Configure Project section has been expanded with a new subsection named Schedule the project runs as illustrated in the screenshot below. In order to get started, you should start by opening an account on EasyCron.

Local management of inventory settings

As far as data management is concerned, Lokad’s philosophy is to keep data centralized in the original business app whenever this is possible. We do not want to be an ABC management software (replace ABC by commerce, warehouse, store or entreprise), because our clients already have this software in place. Yet, it is not always possible - or practical - to stick to this principle; so we need to adjust.

Unleashed Software natively supported by Lokad

A few weeks ago, we announced our native support for Vend, a very nice POS app coming from New Zealand. Today, we are proud to announce that Lokad also provides native support for Unleashed Software, another great piece of software, and also from New Zealand! Unleashed Software delivers a powerful inventory SaaS service, and thanks to their great API (Application Programming Interface), it is now possible to import all the relevant data into Lokad in one single click.

Scheduling your Salescast executions

Update 2015-02-10: we have now a built-in WebCron integration which is now the approach we recommend as it is more secure. Inventory optimization should be business as usual. Yet, Salescast, our inventory forecasting app, does not natively support scheduled executions yet. However, it is possible to obtain scheduled executions with 15min setup. In order to do that, we are going to combine the API of Salescast which offers a programmatic control on Salescast with webcron service.

Orchestrating Priceforge projects with Salescast

One of our key goals for 2015 is to deliver a better integration of our apps, namely Salescast and Priceforge, so that it feels like using Lokad rather than using Salescast plus using Priceforge. The built-in dashboards of Salescast were already a step in this direction, and today, we take another step. It’s now possible to configure a Salescast project to execute a specific sequence of Priceforge projects. Just go to the Priceforge runs section within the configuration view of your Salescast project to get started.

Vend natively supported by Lokad

This list of apps natively supported by Lokad is growing, and today, we are proud to announce that our native support (beta) for Vend is live starting from today. Vend is a very nice POS software, very affordable too, and, and we have been impressed by the overal level of polish for all the parts of the app (technical documentation included!). Managing a couple of outlets via Vend? Now, in just a few clicks, you can connect your Lokad account to your Vend account, and get inventory forecasting reports, pricing optimization and overall commerce intelligence through Lokad.

New pricing based on business turnover

Our last major pricing evolution took place almost 2.5 years ago, and since that time, Lokad has been making steady and constant progress in developing its business. As a result, our old pricing had simply become out of sync compared to what Lokad has become; and an extensive revision was long due. Originally, Lokad only had a single app Salescast. Then, we introduced BigFiles - a file hosting service, followed by Sync - our data integration service and finally, we released Priceforge, a full-fledged data processing engine.