14 March 2017

Stock is something today’s retail, supply and manufacturing businesses must manage effectively – products can only be sold if they’re available, but storing everything all year round can be a major waste of valuable space.

The trick is to find a balance. You should have the right items to hand at the right times, and be prepared for seasonal spikes. Predicting the future is a daunting concept, but it’s not as farfetched as it sounds when you have the right technologies by your side.

All about the data

Information is key when it comes to managing stock levels – the more you know, the more efficient you can be.

Data from recent trading years will help you identify seasonal spikes around your products. It may be that one item is particularly popular around Christmas, while others only tend to get purchased in summer months when the weather’s better. Look back and keep this in mind when planning for the year ahead.

If you’re going to rely on data to predict seasonal demand – and you should – it must be accurate. The way in which you capture that information, therefore, is crucial.

Warehouse technologies

Your warehouse is the heart of your organisation, especially from a stock perspective. This is where products enter and leave the business, so it’s the best place to look when planning for fluctuations in demand.

Don’t just see your warehouse as a place to store items, though. Instead, treat it as a data centre, as the information it generates will go a long way to preparing you for the future. With this in mind, there are various technologies available to ensure the data you collect is both accurate and timely.

Handheld barcode scanners and mobile computers are prime examples of the equipment on offer. These solutions can replace pen and paper to help you track the movement of stock effectively, securely and cost-efficiently. The data collected can then be put to use immediately, helping you prepare for the seasonal trends ahead.

Business intelligence

Collecting and storing data are only the first steps – you must then be able to harness its power. The key here is to have the right software in place; applications that fit your business and its objectives perfectly.

Business intelligence software is the best place to start; it will help you manage and use the huge volumes of data your warehouse and sales processes generate, turning facts and figures into meaningful information that can be used to influence decisions.

An accurate big-picture view of your business will help you prepare for potential spikes and drops in demand, seasonal or otherwise. You’ll be able to identify trends that weren’t visible before, and then act on them to maximise efficiency and effectiveness for the business. What’s more, this actionable information will be available in real-time, so you can work completely responsively, capitalising on every opportunity.

With the right data and intelligence technologies to hand, you can prepare effectively for the months, seasons and years ahead. You’ll know when to get more stock in, and which items can be safely stored elsewhere when demand is low. You’ll also know when the time is right to expand and contract your team to cope.

The end result is a much more streamlined business, ready to maximise the space and resources at hand.

If you think our systems could help you to manage the seasonal demands put on your warehouse then get in touch with us today.