Inventory Management: 10 Steps to a Better Holiday Season
8. Provide forecasts of weekly SKU demand to your distribution center. Share your best estimates of weekly SKU demand to assist your fulfillment center colleagues with bin profiling. Knowing sales volume and timing by SKU is key to their ability to adjust bin size and location at the appropriate times.
9. Identify all products that require special handling. Provide your distribution center with advance notice of products requiring inspection, repackaging and/or kit assembly. Build the handling time into your lead times. If your distribution center requires two weeks to assemble kits, make sure the component inventory arrives two weeks before you need the inventory. Understand when your distribution center is staffed for special handling projects.
10. Keep purchase order dates accurate in your enterprise resource planning system. Provide accurate weekly reporting of incoming back orders so there are no surprises to the distribution center or customers regarding back orders. Try scheduling 30-minute weekly meetings with operations and control buyers to discuss critical incoming orders.
Make these 10 tips part of your annual business practices to manage the season more efficiently and deliver better sales, profits and inventory metrics. Once they're established, you'll have a baseline from which to build year-after-year improvements.
Ray Goodman is senior vice president of multichannel systems provider Direct Tech (email@example.com). Joe Palzkill of Direct Tech also contributed to this article.