3 ways wholesale distributors can improve inventory and replenishment planning

With the right strategy, wholesale distributors can keep pace with partners - including retailers, restaurants and other foodservice and hospitality providers - and the end consumer.

Shoppers’ expectations of convenience, choice, price and experience continue to change. To win means being ahead of the trends. When it comes to inventory and replenishment planning, retailers have historically maintained a lead over their wholesale distribution counterparts. But there’s good news. You can now easily and effectively connect your supply and replenishment planning to your retail customers and, ultimately, to their shoppers. In this blog, we will cover 3 keys to close the gap.

1. Know when, where and how inventory is being fulfilled.

The impact of omni-channel retail has affected distributors faster than ever expected. As ecommerce continues to grow, stellar replenishment and inventory planning are key. Systems must be able to dynamically process a complex and diverse group of orders and update fulfillment execution based on best practices. Automation is also vital, so that store reps can avoid manually touching orders each day, freeing them up for other tasks.

2. Observe what your retail partners are doing.

As retailers strive to create a consumer-centric world – fluid information transfer with real-time access to Big Data and analytics – that will enable them to achieve perfect availability, they cannot forget one crucial aspect: they depend on supplier partners. Working together efficiently is key. They must take advantage of tools that provide more efficient visibility and enhanced partnerships, such as vendor portals and business intelligence analytics that measure collaborative performance, can result in a clear line from one end of the supply chain to the other.

3. Ensure you have a handle on your demand forecasting.

This is essential for anyone in a retail network and especially important for distributors. Look for a tool that can support varying demand streams as well as aggregate demand signals and offer dynamic allocation distributions based on customer needs. Mature solutions on the market are falling short and we often see customers in the unfortunate position of having to combine disparate solutions to solve a single challenge. By implementing a single solution to handle everything, users master that solution rather than have to split their attention and learning across various applications.

In this game of keeping up with the consumer, can retailers and their supplier partners synchronize their pace so that everyone wins? I believe they can. With so many options available at their fingertips, the right technology, if embraced properly, can get everyone across the finish line faster and more profitably.

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