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Do it Backwards

Planning, Analysis and Control. That’s what all retailers need when managing the flow of merchandise through their business.

However when reviewing their processes and systems, they often start in the wrong place.

Control: is the foundation upon which everything else is built. Without solid processes and systems to control and track, Sales, Stock, Margin and Procurement, your data will become corrupt and any investment in the next two stages will be of limited benefit.

Analysis: Data on its own is useless. Most retailers nowadays suffer from too much data, not too little. Recognising that different audiences require different approaches is fundamental.

Hard copy reports are correct for working with low level detail, but inappropriate for reviewing business performance. Key Performance Indicators give you an overview of how a business is performing, but rarely answer the question of Why?

The area most often missing in retailers is a way of drilling down from the KPI’s to the answers that are hidden underneath. Tools that can achieve this are one of the most cost effective investments a retailer can make.

Planning: How can you plan if you don’t know where you are? Hundreds of millions of euros have been spent by retailers on advanced planning systems, before they were in a position to capitalise on the investment. These tools can deliver huge benefits when implemented at the right time and in the right way, but until you are ready, a solid planning process and some simple tools are what you need.

So when approaching your merchandise flow processes and systems, do it backwards. Control, Analysis, Planning.