Multi-channel Inventory Allocation: Keeping All Your Customers Happy

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Are you a multi-channel distributor? If so, you know that the competition is fierce out there. Customers have so many choices of what to buy and who to buy from that they know they are in the driver’s seat and can demand the service they want. Keeping your customers happy will ensure their loyalty and enhance your business.

So, what do customers want? They want to know that you’ll have on hand the items they order and that you’ll pick and ship them quickly. And what do you need to ensure that you can meet those demands?

Finished goods multi-channel inventory allocation

If you’re using Microsoft Dynamics for your ERP solution, you’re already on the right track. Solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 have been helping distributors stay on top of their demand forecasts and product stocking and shipping. But with a little tweaking, your system can do so much more.

Let’s draw a picture: Say you’ve analyzed the demand for your product and figure on ordering 500 units this month. Your various outlets are your own retail stores, at least one big-box retailer, and an online e-commerce website. After you’ve placed your order, the big-box store says they want 400 units from you; your retail stores want to stock up for the holidays, so they order 200 units; and your website has already received orders for 100 units. That’s 700 units that you need right now, and you’ve only ordered 500. How would you allocate those 500 units? Of course, you’ll order more, but meanwhile, who gets served first?

If you had an easy way to allocate finished goods inventory based on having all the information you needed at a glance, you could:

  • Identify and alleviate potential issues early.
  • Ensure high priority customers are always taken care of.
  • Fill the right orders in the right order.
  • Improve demand forecasting, and keep your customers happy and loyal.

Some distributors work these kinds of dilemmas out on a case by case basis. Your best employees may be able to make an educated guesstimate about upcoming orders and they recognize the need to reserve inventory for high priority customers. The problem with this method is that it is not automated and doesn’t scale across your product lines and teams. And it doesn’t keep pace with new product and purchasing trends.

So, how can you be sure to set up a finished goods inventory allocation that works for your business and insures that you get the most out of your Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP solution? Ask for help from the experts.

Creativity and experience

At Western Computer we can configure and extend your Dynamics 365 solution to include the intelligence and flexibility you need to handle these dynamic situations in an efficient manner.

While the above example of the 500 units may describe a challenge faced by many distributors, the solution can be uniquely tailored to your specific products, processes, objectives, and channels. You can crunch all the pertinent data and the intelligence from all relevant sources to present an actionable plan that will work for you. Perhaps that means integrating EDI, machine learning, historical data, CRM notes, current orders, and more—and then creating Power BI dashboards for various departments across the company. Sales can see which customers they need to proactively contact, warehouse staff will know which orders need to be picked, packed, and shipped in what order, and management has the intelligence they need to make decisions and adjustments in real time.

At Western Computer, our experts are ready to tackle your biggest challenges. We specialize in helping distributors and finding creative ways to meet their specific industry needs. Our deep experience and expertise with Dynamics 365, means you can depend on us for even the most complex customizations.

Contact our experts at Western Computer and let’s discuss your options for a multi-channel inventory allocation solution designed to fit your distribution needs.

By Western Computer

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