Back in the plain brick and mortar days you shipped goods to a physical location for the customer from your physical location.Then came e-commerce and now you had both brick and mortar and online sales. Now the same goods may be sold in multiple online manners such as Amazon, eBay and industry buying portals. With the proliferation of so-called “Omni-Channel,” you have to meet multiple demands with different expectations of quantity and cycle time.
...for your customers when they need it without stocking too much. It became common practice to segregate inventory for the e-commerce site to ensure you were not out of stock for something sold on a website where you already charged the credit card. This resulted in two locations with two minimum stocks and too much inventory. Then add omni-channel and the problem grows worse.
What can a distributor do?
In addition to having accurate inventory information Step 1, and partnering with your suppliers discussed in Step 3, what can a distributor do?
- First and foremost, you must have all information in one place! Make sure all of your demand is captured in real-time (or as close to it as possible)
- Determine the optimal sourcing option based upon the channel. For example, is it possible to drop ship directly to the customer from your supplier or manufacturer? If you have the option of Amazon fulfillment, can you drop ship to the Amazon location?
- Forecast, forecast, forecast!!! Use tools that can view your inventory holistically and provide the flexibility to forecast by channel, warehouse or in total.
In SAP Business One, we have a 6 step wizard that allows you to create multiple scenarios to plan your inventory every which way to Sunday!
Not only can you choose warehouses as a source to run your projections by but you can include one or more forecasts, current balances and transaction data to hone in on not only what you should order, but when you should order and how much is needed in each timeframe within your planning horizon.
With this powerful tool you can even exclude certain orders or blanket orders from your projections if you know these are outliers from your normal operations.
Save the scenarios for future and/or regular use. What if scenarios and risk tolerances are all handled by this powerful tool for managing inventory in an multi-channel 21st century world!
To learn more about what SAPDistribution can do for you, please contact us.