Don't take our word for it...
"We now have an accurate inventory plan to guide us..."
Before beginning to work Dan Holman from Canadian Retail Solutions and Management One we used to buy our inventory based on what we had bought the previous season and what we had sold. We didn’t really have a grasp of how much we actually needed to buy to maintain and hopefully grow sales while maintaining our margins. We would always end up with a bloated inventory at the end of the season and would clear the bloated inventory aggressively destroying the margins of the product we had already sold. Along with this we were sitting on a good sized amount of historical inventory that just wasn't moving and was ultimately costing us money. Like most independent businesses we learn from making mistakes but as the retail climate changes you can only survive doing that for so long.
We made the choice to work with Canadian Retail solutions and Management One a little over a year ago. Since that time we now have an accurate inventory plan to guide us. Often this plan is scarily accurate, predicting sales down to the dollar. We can see what parts of our inventory are making us money and what parts are costing us money. We know how much inventory we need in each of our categories and when we need it. We have reduced our on hand inventory, and increased turns which has improved cash flow, allowed us to bring product in earlier and experiment with new brands. Having the plan takes the guess work out of controlling our inventory. Having the plan to follow and following it perfectly are two different things.
Our biggest challenge right now in an independent business where everyone wears several hats is making the time to execute the changes recommended by the plan. It does requires work to make the changes needed to achieve success using the plan. Dan has been a great asset working with us and his years of retail and buying experience offer us access to sage advice which is both comforting and invaluable. We have seen great changes so far but the store's entire inventory is a big ship and it will always be slow to turn. A little over a year in to the process we are very happy with our investment.
We can't wait to see where we will be in another year.
Before CRS, it was as though I was trying to find my way in the dark. Through their insightful and personalized planning, I was able to manage my inventory much more effectively and give my business its best chance at success. I would suggest that every retailer, regardless of their years in business or level of experience, incorporate their planning strategies into their own business.