Inventory Planning Advice From Mike Tyson
With so many demands on your time, it's tough to break away and attend any function, but the NEMOA Spring Conference is simply one of the best events of the year. More than 500 catalog and internet retail professionals gather to network and learn from each other. It's worth attending.
There's even a value promise guaranteeing that the conference "will generate actionable, profit-boosting ideas that more than cover the cost of attending." Everyone I've ever met at a NEMOA event agrees that guarantee is more than fulfilled.
Last week's conference was no exception, as Bill Levesque and I, attending with Direct Tech, can attest. I left with pages of helpful notes, and one learning came from an unexpected source, former heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson: "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."
Jim Speltz, CEO of Brookstone, included this quote as part of his presentation on innovation. Speltz's presentation was about product and marketing, but as I listened, my mind turned to the truth of Mr. Tyson's words for inventory planners.
Those of us on the "numbers" side of retailing are all about the math involved in planning. Musicians love beautiful sounds; artists thrive on the visual; merchandise/inventory planners and buyers get stoked about numbers.
We love our number-driven plans. They're perfect. After all, we've spent hours, days and weeks developing them. We believe so completely that we bet money on their validity — e.g., buying inventory, placing purchase orders, filling up warehouses. Everything sails along …
Then, of course, we get punched in the mouth. The customer sees our product offering and buys other than what we'd planned. Ouch! We're staggered, maybe knocked down. Now what?
Pick yourself up! Don't be a victim; you just became the most important person in the business. Sales depend on your ability to fulfill customer demand. Don't wait to be told what to do, use your knowledge and act.
Joe is Vice President of Product Solutions at Software Paradigms International (SPI), an award-winning provider of technology solutions, including merchandise planning applications, mobile applications, eCommerce development and hosting and integration services, to retailers for more than 20 years.
Joe is a 34-year veteran of the retail industry with hands-on experience in marketing, merchandising, inventory management and business development at multichannel retail companies including Lands’ End, LifeSketch.com, Nordstrom.com and Duluth Trading Company. At SPI, Joe uses his experience to help customers and prospects understand how to improve sales and profits through applying industry best practices in merchandise planning and inventory management systems and processes.