Modulus 365 > Blog > The wrong trousers create a media stir

The wrong trousers create a media stir

5 min read

[image: Simon Jack’s X post]

When the BBC’s Business Editor Simon Jack took to Twitter (now known as X ) recently to complain about stock shortages, his message reached around 6 million people.  That’s not good news for any brand!

It attracted the attention of clothing retail supremo Johnnie Boden, who told listeners to the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme how hard it is for even the experts to predict demand.

Some retailers jumped in to explain that no one wants to end up with excess stock you can’t sell and so they might buy less of the sizes where they’ve previously had their fingers burned – even if that means selling out. We’re all human right?

Most would agree that it’s difficult, but how easy is it to do a better job than we do today?

Let’s start by looking at why a item might go out of stock. These include;

  • Unusual demand – for example due to a mention on a TV cooking show
  • Low levels of safety stock – the stock you keep for emergency or supply chain issues
  • Unforeseen manufacturer or supplier problem
  • Human error
  • Inventory and warehouse management discrepancies

All of these could come down to bad luck or poor planning and it really doesn’t help making decisions on hunches or emotional triggers.

At Modulus we would argue that a data-driven digital approach should be the basis for your stock planning decisions to help you move service up to a new level. With so much going on in your warehouse, it can be easy to lose track of your inventory – it could go missing, expire, or get damaged during routine checks or organisational shifting — and if you fail to notice, you could end up selling items you don’t actually have.

From our experience supporting multichannel and online here are some tips for creating a smoother system where stock outages are a thing of the past or at least less frequent.

Know what you’ve got, and where it is

Many retailers have poor inventory management, slow stock count processes, and complex remedial adjustment processes within their systems.  We designed Modulus to underpin any ERP system, and take the pressure off users in all these areas. 

Know what you’ve got coming and when it will be available

If you don’t have the item today, being able to tell the customer when it will be available, and when he/she will receive it can save a sale, and build a positive brand experience.  The key factors are always communication, and delivering on your promise.  You need the systems in place to automate the process, and keep in sync with your customer’s requirements.

Fulfil from anywhere

Optimising customer service means being able to ship any item from anywhere in your estate to where the customer requires it – be that a store for collection, or a home address.  Modulus joins up all your stock locations with your customers’ requirements to seamlessly deliver what they want, where they want it.

Read the trends

Mr Boden is right to say prediction is difficult.  Especially in fashion, or for any new product.  We can’t know sales in advance, but we can take fast action when data starts coming in.  If merchandisers and marketers work closely together, predicting where problems will occur (too many, as well as too few, of an item), then the opportunity to buy more, and to optimise the location of stock, will be maximised.

So what can you do?

Here at Modulus we’re always available to talk to retailers who want to put the customer at the centre of their thinking. Our passion is serving you, and helping you serve your customer.  It makes the best business sense, so talk to us today about your challenges.

Nobody wants to be called out for providing a poor customer experience. It may not have been you today, but what would it mean if next time it was?

Contact us for a chat today…

Author: Anthony Williams
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