There’s hardly an industry that isn’t affected by seasonality. From toys to textiles, every company has to prepare for a peak season or two. And while your mind may automatically wander to the holidays of Q4, there are plenty of occasions when you face high demand. Take back to school season, for instance. While children head off to class in brand new sneakers in September, their parents purchased them in late July. If you’re a shoe company, you’re not going to wait until July to manufacturer and get those shoes on the shelf. You’re going to start much earlier than that. We’ll leave the manufacturing up to you, but offer these tips for stocking and shipping this season’s hottest items.
Dig into last year’s data
Perks of having a modern inventory management system? A plethora of data. Dive deep into the data to figure out which products sold like hotcakes and which missed the mark. Even if you already feel like you know what’s going to be popular, double-check the numbers anyway. You may be surprised what you find.
Yes, we just told you to look into the cold, hard data from seasons past. However, stocking inventory is just as much an art as it is a science. Sure blue widgets were really popular for the past two years, but red widgets have grown in popularity the past three months. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. You’ll end up having an expensive surplus of one thing and a shortage of another. Our best advice is trust your instinct as well as the data.
There are two kinds of people in the world. The ones who pick up presents year-round, and those who do all of their holiday shopping last minute. Have you ever waited until the last second to get something? Whether it’s a plane ticket or a holiday ham, waiting until the twelfth hour leaves you disappointed by the price or selection. The worst thing you can do when ordering for your peak season is to wait until last minute. Last-minute restocks tend to be expensive and sometimes impossible. That’s why it’s important to know how long it takes items to make it through the supply chain. Not only will this help you get ahead of the game, but it will prepare you for last minute orders.
Keep a safety stock
Are shipments delayed? That’s okay, your safety stock will help buy you some time. Once again, use historical data to determine the minimum amount of a widget that should always be maintained on the shelf. Be sure to only do this with your most popular items, otherwise you’ll be tying up too many of your assets in physical inventory. Bonus: tie this number to your inventory management system so you automatically reorder the product when it’s running low.
Optimize for inventory turnover ratio
How long does it take for your products to transfer from one hand to the other? Whether you’re a warehouse or a local supermarket, it’s crucial that you know how long your products sit on the shelf before moving on to the next step of the supply chain. You can calculate your Inventory Turnover Ratio by dividing sales by inventory.
Sales ÷ Inventory = Inventory Turnover
Items with a higher turnover rate will need to be replenished faster, and therefore stocked near the loading docks. Discontinued and less popular items can be stored farther away or on higher shelves because they won’t be accessed as often. Take it one step further and calculate the Days Inventory.
(Average Inventory ÷ Costs of Goods Sold) * 365 = Days Inventory
Days inventory will let you know how many days your stock will last you. It will also enable you to benchmark yourself against the competition.
Divide and conquer
In order for a successful peak season, you need to have a trained team by your side. The retail industry hires thousands of temporary employees to lend a helping hand when times get tough, and so should you. To maximize efficiency and productivity, let your long-term employees handle the main operations. Leave the smaller, less critical tasks to temporary workers.
Bar Code Direct can help your business maximize its efficiency before and after your busy season. Contact us today for a free consultation.