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Top 3 Inventory Challenges in the Supply Chain

Even the largest, most established brands struggle to optimize their inventory to meet consumer demand. It’s a tricky balance—produce too much, and you risk ending up with excess inventory tying up working capital. Produce too little, and you risk stock outs and a critical missed opportunity to boost sales. You are also battling several external factors that could lead to inventory issues: market volatility, weather changes, shift in consumer spending trends, and more.

Brands are heavily investing in technology to proactively address some of the biggest inventory challenges throughout their supply chain. Below are some of the top inventory challenges today:


1. Lack of inventory visibility

Supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, making it even harder for teams to quickly identify where inventory is currently sitting, how different subsets of inventory are currently performing, and to predict future performance.

Key data often lives across disparate systems with different teams. As a result, brands risk making decisions based on incomplete or inaccurate information. Without inventory visibility, they risk delaying strategic actions that could have addressed emerging inventory issues earlier on in the supply chain. 

It’s important to identify the actions needed to stay ahead of any potential disruptions – such as finding a different supplier, looking for alternative delivery transport, or simply optimizing the management of existing inventory. Utilizing data at each stage also gives brands the power to collaborate with every party involved in their supply chain, allowing all teams to take faster action during critical periods. 


2. Reliance on time-consuming, manual processes

While many aspects of the supply chain have become automated, teams still rely on outdated, manual processes to manage and sell their inventory. Sales managers will often need to manually find and consolidate product data into massive spreadsheets, set quantities and calculate pricing, and navigate countless email chains and phone calls to negotiate on the product assortments they send to their buyers. By the time they’re ready to close a transaction, the inventory information may already be outdated.

This extremely time-consuming and error-prone workflow ties up valuable resources and prevents brands from going to market faster to maximize recovery. The complex nature of the data gathering can also harm relationships with buyers if the information ends up being incomplete or inaccurate. 

By utilizing digital tools to automate workflows, teams can optimize cost savings and re-allocate their resources towards more important tasks to help boost sales. 


3. No actionable data or insights

When you have limited inventory visibility and your team is bogged down by manual and time-consuming workflows, it’s possible that very little data is captured for business intelligence. Excess inventory, for example, is often addressed as an afterthought with brands attempting to offload products ASAP instead of leveraging data to strategically determine the best way to move the inventory.

Brands understand the need for actionable data to improve margins, reduce operating costs, and ultimately rise above the competition. As a result, more brands are investing in solutions that centralize and capture rich historical data, analyze trends, and provide ML/AI-powered recommendations at each stage of the value chain.


Does your business experience any of the inventory challenges above? 

As a leader in supply chain visibility, INTURN offers solutions that empower teams to proactively predict inventory at risk of becoming slow-moving or excess, as well as optimize existing overstock to maximize recovery and streamline workflows. 

We’ve partnered with leading brands across industries worldwide, each with their own set of unique challenges to solve. Get in touch to learn how our solution can help you optimize your inventory.