SCM Focus describes how many vendors have hijaked the terms inventory management and multi echelon when they lack this functionality.
Inventory optimization and multi echelon planning are very specific supply chain technologies that in our opinion, are the most important ways to improve supply planning. However, these terms have been heavily hijacked by many software vendors that do not actually have this functionality. Unfortunately, the operations research definition of inventory optimization has been very much watered down by companies that only have inventory management software to offer. They have re-branded inventory management as inventory optimization. We once read a white paper by a major supply chain vendor that declared that their software dealt with "multi-echelon" supply chains. This statement was highly misleading, as the vendor's software in question had no multi-echelon capability. Multi-echelon capability has a specific technical definition which can be found in this website. Its important to consider that while all supply chain software deals with multi echelon supply chains, this does not mean that all supply planning software is multi-echelon in its functionality.
So one of the most important things to do when selecting this type of software is to separate the real companies from the pretenders. This can be hard to do if you are new to this area. However, this blog is dedicated to the education of people and companies on these exact topics.