Attribute-based demand planning, a method by which distributors customize products by adding additional and value-added accessories to deliver a newly created product, is a underused method of inventory and cost control, says Eval-Source.
As technology pushes forward and networks and systems become more complex, retailers are finding more innovative ways to control their inventories. The consumer demands real-time information and retailers are forced to employ systems that show inventory visibility to the item level and to provide that information to internal parts of the operation that handle production, procurement, shipping, customer service, and financials.
A shift from a traditional push model based on a time-series analysis to a more consumer-driven pull model for demand planning has started to emerge. Previously, technologies were not available and network bandwidths and even down to POS equipment did not accurately support real-time inventory levels. This made it difficult for vendors to not only predict sales but also to become reactionary to market situations rather than be proactive about misreported inventory levels.
Now that network bandwidth, internet connectivity, software capabilities, and hardware are all capable of building a conduit for bi-directional data flow so information can be shared from procurement all the way to customer delivery has now become reality. Vendors such as Red Prairie and Manhattan Associates have adopted new techniques and approaches to inventory tracking and visibility. In the case of these vendors, “demand sensing” technologies are very prevalent in their inventory strategy and visibility for organizations to keep a breast of what is going on at store level or with their consumers.