In Retail, sales and cash flow tend to rule, but Inventory can be an enabler for improving sales rates but only if you have visibility.
Inventory is keenly awaited by Merchandisers and Sales teams, but once it’s in the stores or on-line, it settles quite nicely on the balance sheet and can be ignored by line of business functions as sales and stock turn ratios tell us it is behaving correctly and the next time we look at it keenly is at year end stock take.
Of course, most line functions don’t have time to spend analysing inventory as they are busy dealing with day to day issues. And as long as the ratios are within tolerance, very little changes.
However, over time the picture at line level can get a little fractured, sales are made in multiple channels, customer returns come back, often in a different channel and they may be faulty, or just to small to deal with and then the end of season arrives and we hope to clear it all through sale. If only!
Often sales and distribution planning takes place in it’s own unique channel and the problems of managing a product line across channels can be non-trivial.
Even the larger Retailers struggle with this from time to time, and only significant change allows them to take another look at the issue and even fewer have the courage to address it, especially as mentioned in the link here
Of course, ideally we should have one view of inventory, and be able to make strategic decisions on realising the most efficient return, by ensuring the necessary Inventory is available to the best channel.
Sometimes this requires reviewing your reporting tools and then your systems, to ensure that your return is as effective as it should be.
Should you need an interim resource to assist with this, then please do get in touch, so I can help you to review and formalise a strategy to address any shortfalls you may have. Or if you have the resource but don’t know where to start, I can advise as well.