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Out-of-Stocks: Finding a Way Out


Along with sophisticated demand prediction tools that use algorithms to make predictions based on the reams of data now available across the retail supply chain, successful retailers are also looking at the places where they can apply practical real-world tools to ensure seamless inventory control. That means ensuring the links between your retail and distribution facilities, your suppliers and transport partners are made as efficient as possible. Refer to Part 3 of the Food & Grocery Series for more information.

Wake up from the Nightmare

You don't want to end up with a nightmare situation where a supplier can’t  deliver an order because the DC is too backed up. It comes down to fundamentals like managing the flow of goods through your facilities, by implementing smart systems to control activity in your yard and at your dock doors.

Dock scheduling systems are the glue that holds the entire operation together. Using our cloud-based technology, you can manage the arrival and departure of vendors' shipments at all of your retail locations.

Retail locations don't typically have the luxury of multiple dock doors to receive the numerous smaller orders that an order-to-shelf system requires. This increases the degree of complexity and the importance of making and keeping an appointment schedule for inbound trucks.c3solutions_article2_artworks-04It's a big job for the retail store management to keep track of inbound orders, have the dock free and staff on hand to unload the trucks at the right time. Asking them to do this manually is just asking for trouble. Papers get lost, people make little errors and spreadsheets get messed up inadvertently all the time. As soon as one truck gets delayed waiting to unload, it starts a cascade and then the out-of-stocks start to happen.

But with a scheduling system in place, vendors can make their own dock reservations automatically. Your staff will spend their time on more productive tasks than taking calls and trying to juggle appointments manually. Labor on the receiving docks will be better utilized. Orders will be tracked from door to door, enabling better visibility and planning.


Sweet Dreams are Made of This

As we have seen, out-of-stocks mean immediate lost revenues as customers are forced to either substitute, not buy or go to a competitor. That five percent loss will hurt your bottom line. And when they find stock-outs are a regular occurrence you'll lose even the most loyal customer.

We know it's not easy to forecast demand, especially when you are trying to predict orders coming in from e-commerce alongside in-store walk-in traffic. There is a huge premium on getting it right in the era of omnichannel e-commerce. Customers are unforgiving and very demanding. You don't get a lot of chances to get it right these days.

But when you do, the rewards are huge.

  • Customers buy what they want when they want it
  • Vendors know that they can trust your stores to be ready to receive them when they arrive
  • Upstream staff knows the vendors will be happy and keep supplying your stores
  • You can count on your own inbound loads to receive the same timely and accurate scheduling service that applies to every inbound truck

Scheduling is not a detail, it's a key operational advantage in today's fast-moving, on-demand market. Having control over the movement and timing of loads into your retail stores means you can manage the out-of-stock risk and keep store shelves stocked.  

At C3 Solutions we think it's worth being proactive and providing yourself with tools that will give you a leg up over the competition. Being the retailer that's known for being organized at the docks, keeping commitments and being easy to work with is no pipe dream. It's a sweet, achievable dream, and one that will keep the Nightmare on Inventory Street at bay.