ASSORTMENT MANAGEMENT: WHICH PRODUCTS SHOULD YOU STOCK?

STUB OUT THE PRODUCTS BURNING THROUGH YOUR MARGINS!

Did you ring 2020 with a new resolution to quit smoking, lose weight or exercise more? And we know these resolutions sound familiar because we work very hard to leave any habit that is detrimental to our health.

Just like our habits, many business leaders know they are offering products that have a detrimental impact on the financial health of the organization. However, stubbing these products out is often easier said than done! So what can businesses do to give up lousy buying habits and adopt a healthier approach to assortment management?

Having an efficient assortment is vital for all types of business. The assortment plan will define the products that make up the category, subcategories, segments and subsegments. An efficient assortment will allow you to cover the maximum number of needs and therefore satisfy our buyers. So let's explore how to refine your approach to assortment management strategically.

MAKE ASSORTMENT MANAGEMENT A PRIORITY IN 2020!

What can you do to ensure that the exploding assortments are as successful as possible?

Through adopting the following 4 simple steps, you will be better positioned to offer your customers the products they want while systematically removing the items put your finances under pressure:

  1. Analyse your assortment and identify what products matter most to your customers
  2. Prioritise items within your assortment in order to determine a more strategic stocking strategy
  3. Establish robust business rules to ensure your assortment remains in line with the corporate objectives of your organisation
  4. Re-focus your investment, time and energy on the products that add the most value

One of the leading causes of obsolescence, excess stock and firefighting is that planners spend too much of their time focusing on the wrong products. However, undertaking a carefully considered ABC-analysis can provide a perfect solution to overcome this issue.

Step 1: Conducting an ABC-analysis

An ABC-analysis starts with the division of all stock articles based on their contribution to the overall revenue. You will find out by yourself that 80-90% of your total revenue is generated from a meagre 10-20% percent of all the items within your assortment. It would be best if you made a similar analysis based on the contribution to the profit margin. The final ABC-analysis should be based on both revenue and profit margin, resulting in three article categories in which A-articles contribute the most and C-articles the least.

Step 2: Determine the right stock strategy

The stock strategy is focused on two things: when to order and how much to order. What this strategy should depend on is the article category. In general, to prevent costly out-of-stock situations, you would most likely place orders for A-articles more frequently than C-articles. For every category, a balance must be found between the target service levels and the costs of inventory.

Step 3: Set the parameters

The stock strategy you’ve chosen in the previous step should be translated to the right parameter setting in your inventory management system. How should the service level be taken into account? What should the order moments be based on; fixed or variable intervals? How should the order quantities be calculated?

Step 4: Focus on A-articles

Once the correct parameters have been established, the planners can pay full attention to the products that require it most. Given the importance of A-items, this will mean that the planners should focus on these items. Thus, monitoring sales forecasts and keeping a close eye on how demand is developing is critical here. Are there peaks in demand? Should any of the estimates be adjusted as a result of any new market information or planned promotions?

To prevent obsolescence, it’s also essential that planners have a tight grip upon product lifecycles. Is an article beyond its peak level, and is demand decreasing? Is it time to switch to a new forecasting strategy?

By adopting the steps above, your inventory levels will decrease dramatically. Furthermore, through establishing more appropriate service levels, planners can ensure they focus their time on where it is required most — ultimately resulting in higher profits and happier customers.

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