Inventory Management: 10 Steps to a Better Holiday Season
3. Publish a web marketing promotions calendar. Identify all high-impact web events, when they occur and the planned feature products. Ensure inventory is available to support each promotion by doing the following: As control buyer, you and your web marketer should agree on what products will be featured, when they'll be featured and the expected impact on sales.
An effective alternative approach is to identify a limited list of high-potential items. Also, order budgeted excess inventory of each, and provide it to the web marketer to feature at his or her discretion.
4. Clean up vendor and product information. Review and update all your vendor lead times and product costs. Your reorder cycle depends on accurate lead time information. Incorrect product costs can equal lost days you can't afford. Review your data now so you don't lose days later.
5. Qualify your credit with vendors. Ensure that all new vendors are credit-qualified with your accounting department. Don't lose time in the buying process waiting for credit approval.
6. Establish a weekly inbound purchase order tracking process. Domestic vendors sometimes misplace purchase orders. Without tracking, you may not be aware until the order doesn't arrive. This can snowball into six weeks of lost time on a domestic order, resulting in many back orders.
Import tracking is even more critical as these purchase orders tend to be larger and the customer implications of late delivery are greater. The visibility you have with tracking also gives you control over expediting partial quantities when needed.
7. Forecast demand for drop-ship SKUs. It's easy to assume your suppliers have inventory on hand. But they share your inventory challenges during the holidays. If they run out, your customers are still disappointed and you still lose the sales. Help your suppliers stay in stock by providing them with routine forecasts of your expected future sales.