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How to Keep Up with the High Pressures and Demands of Seasonal Inventory Management

How to Keep Up with the High Pressures and Demands of Seasonal Inventory Management


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How to Keep Up with the High Pressures and Demands of Seasonal Inventory Management

18 May 2021

Aptean Staff Writer
Family having a BBQ in the garden

With summer right around the corner, I’m itching to get my hands on some new summer gear: sunglasses, beach towels, lawn chairs, glass pitchers for iced tea and lemonade. It’s a time of year where daylight is endless, and everything is doused in a honey-colored light. It’s a time to breathe in the fresh air and relax a little bit, right?

Well, for me, sure. But for a lot of other folks, that’s not the case. Many sectors within the consumer goods industry are at their busiest during those summer months. Those new sunglasses, beach towels, lawn chairs and glass pitchers—those had to be imported and distributed before they could make their way into my hands.

And this is true no matter your peak season—whether it’s those summer months or at any point throughout the year. If you’re going to keep up with the demands of seasonality and come out in the black, you’ve got to be prepared.

For importers and distributors to master those high-demand months, it’s all about planning and forecasting. And having the right amount of inventory. An all-in-one consumer goods enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution can help you manage peak demand and improve seasonal inventory management in a few significant ways:

1.     Forecasting for long lead times – Imagine you could accurately predict and plan your inventory needs. No more guessing games, no more inventory problems. It’d make life a whole lot easier, especially during those busy seasons. With its dynamic forecasting tools, a consumer goods ERP enables you to meet vendor-specific requirements, create accurate forecasts and successfully plan your inventory. You’re no longer kept awake at night, wondering if you have enough inventory or whether your predictions were reliable. An ERP enables you to make data-based decisions on how to prepare for your peak season. 2.     Demand planning – To meet customer demand, it’s essential to have the right products at the right time. Enter demand planning. It’s hard to do, though. Particularly with long supplier lead times. But the automated tools within an industry-specific ERP enable more accurate demand planning. Like, distribution resource planning (DRP) tools. They can integrate point-of-sale data, customer forecasts, seasonality and supplier lead times and historical sales trends to help you make more intelligent, more accurate purchasing decisions. 3.     Managing product lifecycles – It’s your product. It’s only fair that you know how it’s doing. An ERP with integrated product lifecycle management (PLM) functionality allows you to do this—you can track your product—from concept to sale to consumer. With PLM functionality, you have complete visibility on product development, production and sales performance. It makes communication and collaboration easier because all that data is centralized within the ERP. You’re making decisions based on the same, up-to-date level. And because of this, you and your teams are empowered to choose task functions, priority levels and team assignments based on your suppliers, products and factories. 4.     Monitoring your budget – You always want to ensure profitability. Always. But between all the to-do lists, the shipments, the inventory, the production team, the demanding deadlines, whether or not you’re actually bringing in money is pretty easy to overlook. To ensure profitability, we encourage you to optimize your operations. Run a tight ship so that you aren’t spending money where you don’t have to. You want an ERP that allows you to determine how profitable your business actually is. How profitable each customer, product and supplier actually is. Hard data for above-the-line and below-the-line costs. And in real time. With that kind of information at your fingertips, you can make confident, data-driven decisions to ensure the success of your business. 5.     Leveraging historical data – One of the best things about an ERP: it stores all your data. Not only does this ensure everyone is working with the same up-to-date data, but it also means that you now have a data repository. It’s incredible. All the data you’ve ever had and all the data you’ll ever have is stored in this one integrated solution. It’s a single source of truth. When managing high seasonal demand, you can use historical data and patterns to determine accurate lead times, reorder points, and how much product you need. 6.     Efficiently drop shipping – Online shopping is at an all-time high. Truly. In the United States alone, ecommerce sales are expected to surpass $740 billion by 2023. This means two things. One, ecommerce is the new brick and mortar. And two, it’s vital you have an ecommerce presence. It’s easier said than done, though. On the backend, that means fulfilling thousands of orders a day. Which is a big task if you don’t have the right tools to help facilitate that uptick and streamline your processes. To efficiently drop-ship, you need to do several things: reduce the time it takes to pull product and pack each order, bulk pull all the product you need instead of walking the same aisles over and over, use one system to produce labels and paperwork, properly slot product, enable your operators with hand-held devices, and last but certainly not least: automate data entry.

It’s during these hectic times—when there aren’t enough hours in the day, when the to-do list keeps growing, when you have to move product like your business depends on it— that you need a solution to support efficiency, automation and profitability.

Our ERP can help. The Aptean Distribution ERP is designed to handle everything consumer goods importers need to run and grow their business—especially during those high-demand seasons. If you’re looking for a more detailed resource, we wrote a whitepaper on how to effectively manage seasonal demand not too long ago.

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