Retailers and distributors try to solve their inventory challenges by using forecasting tools to determine what and when to buy – instead look at the flow of inventory and synchronizing supply chains based on the variability of demand.

In a matter of minutes, a seamstress turns out a beautiful blue cotton shirt in just the right size. A few minutes later, the shirt is boxed in tissue paper and handed to the happy customer or dropped off at a parcel carrier for the last mile delivery.

In Supply Chain Utopia, retailers would always have ample capacity, raw materials, and labor to meet periods of average and peak demand. Inventory optimization would be taught in The History Of Supply Chain 101; inventory managers would bore their grandchildren with stories about distribution centers, stocking points, and back of the store storage rooms from the good old days.

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