We often hear from prospects that they have a good handle on planning. Yet if we get the opportunity to work with them, almost immediately we uncover a significant amount of stagnant inventory, missed opportunities due to slow reaction and a lot of reporting that takes enormous effort to create but gets little use. It’s usually because of a lack of expertise, disciplined process or the right tools. All three are necessary to manage and plan inventory properly- especially given all the factors affecting the supply chain and the retail landscape.

With inventory the biggest capital investment it’s what makes or breaks a retailer or wholesaler. One must laser focus on each stage of the product’s lifecycle to ensure it all makes sense. These 6 steps offer a starting point to not just improving inventory productivity- but educating your team and making them smarter and better decision-makers

1.) Optimize the Gathering, Managing & Interpretation of Retail Data

Companies are spending a fortune collecting data but don’t know how to make good use of it. Step 1 is ensuring you have clean data, integrated POS, ERP, PLM or other 3rd party data that is important to your business. 2.

2.) Implement Discipline of a Planner

Formalize your planning process by outlining weekly, monthly, quarterly, ad-hoc, pre-season and post season tasks. Learn what KPI’s are important and what is considered good or bad for your category. Contact us and ask for a copy of our Discipline of a Planner- it’s free.

3.) Focus on Opportunities & Liabilities that Would Otherwise Go Unnoticed

Build action-oriented dashboards & reports that each has a specific theme- like monitoring troubled inventory or checking for changes in the rate of sale by SKU by store.

4.) Smarter Forecasting and Item Planning

For both on-line and brick & mortar automate a POS forecast, then back it into inventory- both retail and wholesale. You need visibility to inventory throughout the entire pipeline.

5.) Habitual SKU Rationalization

Constantly monitor performance and label the low hanging fruit. Score your previous buys- did your big bets work out? What is the optimal number of items that enable profitability for you?

6.) Automate Vendor Managed Inventory

In today’s environment, you can’t afford to miss a sale on anything- yet you don’t want a mountain of inventory. Collaborate and double the resources with more eyes and technology on every SKU-store.

Inventory management isn’t just for companies that are in trouble. In fact, it is vital to healthy companies, so they don’t get in a trap where resources are tied up in unproductive inventory and sales decrease.

Enhanced Retail Solutions is a service-oriented business with the goal of helping retailers, suppliers, distributors and brands achieve greater sales, profit and inventory productivity. We do this with a combination of old-fashioned hands-on personal consulting and 21st Century technology.

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