Empty shelves are the scourge of manufacturing and retail. Just look at the annual shortages of the Christmas season's hottest toys or the rain checks stores must write regularly on sale items. At any given time, 7 percent of all U.S. retail products are out of stock, says AMR Research analyst Lora Cecere. Goods on promotion are out of stock more than 15 percent of the time.
That's why manufacturers and retailers are pushing for the next breakthroughs in demand forecasting, what has emerged as the discipline of "demand-signal management." Instead of just relying on internal data such as order and shipment records, manufacturers are analyzing weekly and even daily point-of-sale data from retailers so they can better see what's selling where. This sort of timely, detailed data lets manufacturers spot trends much sooner by region, product, retailer, and even individual store.
Source: Intelligent Enterprise
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