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For years, inventory planning solutions have been burdened with defining the right demand for each node of the network. Now that demand is less fixed, developing a dynamic supply-chain network solution can ensure optimal service with minimal stranded inventory. Reaching this result requires considerable planning and solutions that ebb and flow with a supply chain’s needs.
Here are some critical elements of a modern inventory solution.
Product catalogues: Creation of robust data management processes can facilitate channel expansion as product preferences warrant. This provides you the optimal flexibility to market each product group as needed.
Channel science: Products often have a diverse market to which they appeal. Understanding consumer preferences of products helps you understand where to market each item — and how to market them for optimal performance. No longer are you bound to a single channel, presentation or image.
Climatic factors: Shifts in demand occur as the weather and seasons change. Understanding this progression is key to reading product performance and potential demand spikes.
Macroeconomic influences: Comfort in buying is directly linked to personal financial security and general economic climate. Demand inflection points can be foreseen by understanding the economic factors driving your consumer trade-offs.
Inventory availability: As merchants expand their channel usage, order routing based on inventory availability and service level will be critical to optimizing selling opportunities and exceeding customer expectations. Developing robust business management processes will ensure success.
This year, more companies will embrace multichannel digital commerce to realize economic expansion. Developing the technical infrastructure to understand and react to demand will be pivotal to success, as will adjusting planning techniques to maximize sales and minimize inventory.
M. Scott Moon is vice president of Tompkins Digital Commerce.
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