The holiday season is meant to be a time when we remember our loved ones and those whom we cherish most in our lives. No matter what holidays you observe and celebrate, this is supposed to be a time of happiness and excitement. But, if you work closely with inventory, you might tell a completely different story! The holiday season brings about all sorts of “what-if’s” and “maybe’s” related to inventory in warehouses across the globe. It’s never easy forecasting and predicting how much inventory your company may need, but throwing the holidays into the mix, makes the task even more challenging. In fact, the holiday season, defined by the National Retail Federation as sales in the months of November and December, “is the biggest time of year for retailers of all shapes and sizes, and can account for as much as 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales” – See more here!
But it’s not just the holiday season that brings about challenges with inventory. In fact, it’s every season. Most industries struggle with some seasonality within their inventory. Either the entire business or certain products or groupings have a seasonal component when items sell more, less, or not at all. This is why having visibility into your inventory that an inventory management solution provides is so crucial to many wholesale distributors.
At a recent conference I spoke with two gentlemen who worked for a candy wholesale company. In talking with them I discovered that while they may never have an oddly low season for candy, they do have to be prepared for 2 major events that occur each year. The two biggest holidays for candy sales are Halloween and Easter. When either of these events come around they must stock up on items that may not normally move as quickly. They do this by looking at past years and trying to emulate similar numbers.
Other industries may suffer from seasonality highs and lows all year long. It can become very taxing to try and maintain those patterns throughout the year. A lot of wholesalers make the mistake of trying to simply make sure they always have enough. This is not the most efficient strategy. There are tools out there that allow you to see your inventory in great detail, and even view your seasonality trends. You can look at these reports and design your stocking strategy based on the information given. This allows you to run a more efficient inventory.
So, this holiday season don’t fear the great burden of seasonality in your inventory, don’t try to stock simply so you don’t run out. Try to compare your numbers from this time last year, and the year before, and the year before. Use this information to try to match up any trends that can be seen within that season. If you are able to do this, you’re going to have a much jollier holiday season.
This is just one opinion on seasonality within inventory. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on the topic. Please, leave your comments below.