3 Signs Your Brand Is Not Effective in Excess Inventory Management4 min read
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A variety of factors can lead to the buildup of excess inventory management, including things like changing consumer trends or spending habits, unexpected weather, forecasting errors, and purchasing setbacks. Many brands, even those with strong planning solutions in place, struggle with excess inventory due to uncontrollable external factors like market disruptions and global events. Recent significant events, like the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, increasing economic uncertainty in the US, or the ongoing war in Ukraine, have each made an impact on the rising levels of excess inventory.
Inventory discipline will be critical this year and beyond as brands struggle to navigate between inventory shortages and excess inventory management issues. Excess inventory in particular, is quickly becoming a major challenge as global brands and big-box retailers alike lose profits because of it. Despite this, many companies are still ill-equipped to Excess Inventory Management.
Here are the top 3 signs that your brand is falling behind the competition when it comes to effective excess inventory management.
- Lack of actionable data: Brands without access to historical sales and engagement metrics often experience difficulty in developing a proactive go-to-market strategy to move slow-moving or excess inventory as efficiently as possible. By understanding how prior sales transactions with retailers have performed, sales teams can better curate product assortments to increase sell-through and recover margins.
- Lack of inventory visibility across the supply chain: Teams waste a lot of valuable time identifying excess inventory, as well as locating, collecting, and consolidating the inventory data across different systems. At the end of this process, the inventory data gathered may still be incomplete, requiring teams to spend even more time addressing the data gaps in order to send the information to buyers. This lack of visibility into inventory status, its key attributes, and where the inventory is located significantly impacts a team’s ability to go to market quickly.
- Reliance on outdated systems and manual processes: When it comes to selling excess inventory, many brands still rely on a decades-old process revolving around spreadsheets, emails, phone calls, and in-person meetings. While this is the status quo for many brands, the reality is that this type of process slows teams down when curating product assortments for buyers or even the negotiation process itself. The process introduces a greater risk for human error, as sales teams manually edit quantities, pricing, and other information within spreadsheets as they pass these product assortments back and forth with their buyers. At points, the inventory data within the spreadsheet can also quickly become outdated, forcing teams to manually reconcile the differences or risk over-selling. As a result, valuable time and resources are wasted on duplicative work, leading to substantial capital losses and missed business opportunities.
How to Get Rid of Excess Inventory
To get ahead of inventory challenges, brands need to focus on a proactive approach with regard to managing and selling their excess inventory. A proactive approach enables businesses to reduce inefficiencies, improve margins, and maximize cash recovery. If your team experiences any of the signs above when it comes to managing and selling excess inventory, here are some things you should look out for to get ahead of the competition:
- Invest in a technology solution that not only provides greater inventory visibility, but also integrates well with your existing systems.
- Implement a system that automates tedious, time-consuming processes so that your teams can work more efficiently and focus on more important initiatives
- Consider utilizing machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict inventory at risk of becoming slow-moving or excess. Excess inventory management can always occur at any time, but by leveraging a system to predict which products are at risk, your team will be able to address the problem earlier in the product lifecycle and increase your margin recovery potential.
Excess inventory management is creating headaches for many brands due to poor visibility, lack of data, and tedious internal processes, and these challenges will only continue to grow. Evaluate how existing processes and systems are currently working for your team in the areas described above to enable your teams to act faster and make strategic decisions when managing and selling excess inventory.