Six Ways Retailers Can Better Manage Inventory Today

Tips that Move Product and Keep Customers Satisfied
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As a retailer you know that there is an art to asset management. An inventory strategy should always be focused on keeping your costs low, with the right SKU allotment, easy access to more product should you need it, and an ultimate objective of customer satisfaction. ITS Logistics wants to help retailers perfect that art, with six easy tips that will increase move product and improve customer relations.

As a third party logistics (3PL) provider, Kasia Wenker of outdoor and cycling industry specialist ITS Logistics often stresses that quality is more important than quantity. Having a multitude of products on the floor doesn't mean that there will be a multitude of sales. Products and services that are tailored to your customers' needs will result in more DPT than sheer number of product.

Here are 6 easy things retailers can do, today, to meet those objectives:

• Inventory control. The general 80/20 rule means you need to stay on top of what's selling to best manage inventory.
o Measure your inventory against the units you sell
o Figure out how much stock you have in terms of weeks of sales
o On-site stock for slow moving products should be reduced to a minimum. It is taking up valuable space and tying down your cash.
o Keep inventory on hand only for high movers
o (3PL advantage): Real time inventory management is key, which is where a 3PL increases efficiency, allowing you to manage inventory from a remote location. This technology also allows a 3PL to analyze order data, manage assets and provide guidance to retailers about high and slow movers.

• Measure.
o Develop a way to forecast inventory, and measure the accuracy of the forecast
o Determine how much stock is on hand, and how much has sold in the past week
o Measure success, and change estimates accordingly
o Shorter the time increments are better – weekly or monthly stock assessments – to react quickly, better serving customers needs
o (3PL advantage): A 3PL keeps retailers up to date with stagnant inventory so you know when to cash it out
• Relationships.
o Develop relationships with suppliers to work together for mutual gains. This can include the oversight of supplies of high movers to avoid out of stocks, and/or working together against manufacturing errors, so you don't get caught holding the wrong product.
o Discuss consumer trends
o Give incentives based upon performance metrics, such as shipment speed.
o Track accuracy of orders. Service should be perfect and fast for out of stock products or slow movers.
o Ensure needs and expectations are understood,
o Understand suppliers' capabilities so you can leverage them.
o Agree upon a standard timeframe for shipments, and
o Demand a high accuracy rate.
o (3PL Advantage): Let a 3PL focus on their core competency-–fulfilling your shipment quickly and accurately at a low-cost rate—freeing up your time, so you can focus on what you do best.
• Liquidate.
o If you have slow movers that are taking up cash and space, you need to reinvest
o Create a budget plan for markdowns, and a plan for execution
•sell at reduced cost
•donate
•destroy
•recycle
o Same applies to returns: if you can't resell them at full price, move them
o Work with customers who make returns, to find out why they aren't satisfied and what you can do to prevent it in the future
o(3PL Advantage): A 3PL can handle returns and liquidations, so retailers don't have to add more to their plate
• Location.
oPlace inventory closer to your customers
oSelect a location that offers optimum service to your customers so that their shipments are expedited and low cost
oThis will help you process returns faster too
o(3PL Advantage): 3PLs often have warehouses all over the country, and should be able to offer a convenient location, or find one for you.
• Supply Chain Visibility.
oKeep track of product availability, so you're not caught off guard when supply runs low
oPrevent backorders and customer dissatisfaction by talking to suppliers far in advance if you have forecasted needs
o(3PL Advantage): 3PLs can alert you when supply is running low, and expedite the process of getting new product to the store.


Links:
ITS Logistics: http://www.thesportsrunner.com
Online Press Release: http://www.pitchengine.com/itslogistics/six-ways-retailers-can-better-manage-inventory-today

About ITS Logistics:
Based in Reno, NV, ITS Logistics is a warehousing, distribution and fulfillment company that helps companies distribute goods nationally and globally with superior performance. Please visit http://www.thesportsrunner.com for more information or a free consultation.

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