How to Effectively Manage Inventory for Your Omni-Channel Strategy
Wednesday, May 15, 2019Eric Zegarski
Here's How You Effectively Manage Your Omni-Channel Inventory
Unleashing the power of your ERP can help you master your omni-channel commerce strategy. With omni-channel, you’re selling everywhere your customers shop. This means you can be selling your products via your own eCommerce site (Shopify
), online marketplaces (eBay, Amazon), and big retail (Walmart, Target, Costco), just to list a few. One of the challenges with selling at multiple channels is that no two channels are the same. As an example, your volume on your own eCommerce site is different than your Walmart volume. Therefore, inventory management is one of the biggest hurdles for omni-channel merchants to overcome.
If you don’t properly manage your inventory you can risk stock outs on some channels and not others and won't be able to fulfill orders. Whether you’re running Microsoft Dynamics GP, Sage 100, or any other ERP, these platforms are essential in ensuring you always have enough stock. Let’s look at some tips and tactics that can help you better manage your omni-channel inventory levels and get the most out of your ERP
Ensure You Synchronize Inventory Across All Channels
Imagine this scenario, you sell the same product on Amazon, eBay and your eCommerce site. You have preset inventory levels on each platform. However, your eCommerce site is not synced up to your ERP. You are currently running a flash sale on your site and are selling stock fast. As a result, you must manually change inventory levels for eBay and Amazon as orders come through.
This is not an effective or efficient way to manage inventory levels. You are not offering customers a real time stock update. As a result, you are putting yourself at risk of not having enough stock to fulfill incoming orders. Integrating and connecting your shops together in your ERP ensures you will always have an adequate amount of stock on hand. The last thing you want is to have to refund sales you earned because you cannot fulfill them.
Know Your Inventory Turnover
Knowing when to restock is essential to ensuring you have ample amounts of inventory on hand to fulfill orders. Due to you selling on multiple channels, keeping enough stock on hand to handle orders from all channels might seem costly. Therefore, it is important for you to know your average inventory turnover as well as lead times to acquire inventory. This will allow you to set up specific reorder points
per product an ensure you have enough on had without having to rely on holding a large amount of safety stock.
In addition, ERP integration ensures that these reports are timely and effective. It will allow you to eliminate manual data entry between your ERP and omni-channel points. Therefore, you will be able to automatically send out order requests if an inventory replenishment is needed.
Use Multiple Fulfillment Centers (If Possible)
If you’re just starting out with an omni-channel strategy, then this might not be feasible at the beginning, but it is important to keep in mind. Using multiple fulfillment centers allows you to shorten lead times between getting your product from your warehouse to either the end consumer or trading partner. In addition, if Amazon is not in your omni-channel strategy, it allows you to have fulfillment time closer to their two-day prime guarantee. Furthermore, this allows you to save on shipping costs related to getting your product to the end consumer. After all, it doesn't make sense to be sending product from New York to customers in California.
Once again, the key to success is integration. Connecting all your fulfillment centers with your ERP will ensure that each one has adequate inventory levels. If for some reason one fulfillment center is out of stock, then the order can be fulfilled from another one.
eBridge's iPaaS makes Omni-Channel Inventory Management Easy
eBridge's integration platform is universal. This means it works with almost all EDI
trading partners, ERPs
, and eCommerce
providers. It is also hosted on Microsoft Azure, therefore ensuring an almost 99.9% uptime and industry leading security. With an integration solution, you can ensure that your omni-channel commerce network has an automated inventory solution.