Order Optimization: Smaller (standard) order quantities, more full-pallet orders AND reduced retailer inventory

If you work in the Supply Chain between CPG and Retail this probably sounds too good to be true, but stick with me and I'll show you a win:win opportunity.

Inventory modeling is not "Normal"

We can build models to know how much inventory we need to hold of each product in each location. Do this well and you improve service levels AND reduce inventory.   I've posted on this topic before including an online calculator from a relatively simple Excel model to help you visualize the relationship between uncertainty, lead-time and case-fill rate. (Check out How much Inventory do you really need ?).

I wrapped up that post with a warning/disclaimer that the spreadsheet model was really too simple for real life use, but I didn't tell you why.  Now here's the kicker:  many packages appear to have the same problem and can cause you to severely underestimate your inventory needs and lose sales.

Inventory modeling in action

Inventory modeling and inventory optimization attempt to drive out unnecessary inventory from your systems, to improve service levels to your customers.  This does work and can drive very significant reductions in inventory, but, if you lack discipline around execution you will not get as much value as you should.