In order for companies to have the right stock on their shelves, they need to assess a variety of factors affecting inventory management. However, getting inventory in line for the holidays is just part of the story. The wider picture that needs to be assessed is the supply chain management that leads to inventory management. This series of connections acts like dominoes to bring a product from raw materials to a finished good in a customer’s hand. Undoubtedly, supply chain management is one of the biggest factors affecting inventory management and it’s important to understand how it’s features can be applied to make the holiday season a success.
Leverage Data Analytics
With current technology, companies today collect big amounts of data. With large stores of data collected from a wide variety of sources, they have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips. This data can yield information about overall previous sales figures, buying habits, individual stores monthly sales, previous trends, promotions and effective marketing campaigns. With a variety of extremely informative data sets, data analytics can produce helpful correlations. The analytics can help forecast and predict trends and behaviour around previous holiday seasons. The information gathered from data analytics will allow a company to set up their supply chain in a more advantageous manner for the holiday season.
Although data analytics are extremely helpful, they are not foolproof in predicting customer demand. Once the holiday season arrives and people are out buying, these consumer goods companies will need to keep a close eye on their supply chains. Companies need to make sure that the real-time buying habits are on par with the forecasted predictions. By having real-time information on inventory levels and buying patterns, companies can manage distribution throughout their supply chain to keep customers satisfied. Real-time supply chain optimisation works when brands are able to precisely match supply to demand and shift supply flows along the supply chain in real-time.
Omni-channel fulfilment supply chains harness a central stock pool. This central stock pool controls pricing, ordering, fulfilment, sales and stock management. The omni-channel strategy expands the fulfilment options for a company, giving them the ability to utilise a variety of retail channels including stores, franchises, catalogues, e-commerce platforms and mobile channels. Additionally, inbound supply, manufacturing capacity and supplier availability are part of this experience. With this approach to supply chain management, there is decreased dependence on customer distribution locations to meet customer expectations and demands. By using this during the holiday season, it can help ensure the right goods make it to the right consumers at the right time. This can lead to better profits during the holiday season.
The logistics behind all of the providers, manufacturers, and retailers come together to determine whether or not companies will be able to fulfil customer demands during the holiday season. Whether you realise it or not, supply chain management is an integral part the holiday season. It plays a very important role in the delivery of a successful holiday season for people around the world.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.