Accurate Inventory: Tips for Apparel, Footwear & Accessories
January 1, 2019
Casey Rebman Walker
The Apparel, Footwear, and Accessories (AFA) industry is known for it’s fast pace, high SKU count, and the need to provide a great customer shopping experience. You need to streamline your operations while keeping the perfect balance of inventory on-hand, while also forecasting for the next season. If you are using NetSuite to unite these channels to a single view, you are a step ahead of many of your competitors. But how can you maximize NetSuite to achieve omnichannel success?
In today’s environment, AFA companies can’t afford to be doing things manually. To make the best decisions, your inventory must be accurate. Your merchandiser needs reporting to effectively manage stock levels. Your inventory planner needs this same data to correctly assess and forecast demand. Your warehouse manager needs to know what product is available now and where it is located. Your workers must be able to find it quickly and have it ready to ship to the correct customer. And if you are working with big box retailers, don’t want to be fined for stockouts, mispicks or shipping delays.
By automating manual processes in the warehouse and retail store, you can ensure everyone has up-to-date information available to them at all times.
Why mobile technology is critical
The sheer amount of SKUs AFA companies are dealing with is enough to make your head spin. For example, let’s look at a shipment of shoes. It enters receiving off the truck. You have different styles and sizes in similar packaging that each need to be put away in the correct location. If you are doing this manually, there is an increased risk of errors. Using barcodes and scanning to automate this process can reduce errors and improve the productivity of your workers.
You should be automating:
Purchase Orders, Transfer Orders, Sales Orders, Work Orders – basically, all orders
Visibility to real-time, accurate information is the key to successfully managing your inventory. But not only does mobile technology save you time and provide visibility, by eliminating error-prone manual data entry, you can guarantee you are picking and shipping orders correctly. Combine that with accurate counts, and in just a short period, you can establish accurate inventory to prevent stock-outs while reducing safety stock by 1/3. Because of the continued growth of E-Commerce, cutting inventory costs is critical for Apparel Footwear and Accessories retailers.
To effectively manage your inventory, you will also want to leverage tools to further automate your operations:
Location (store) leveling dashboards: Currently, there isn’t a method in NetSuite to view multiple stores and their inventory. This can be problematic during a peak and you find yourself with low inventory levels. ALocation Leveling dashboard like RF-SMART’s native inventory tool provides an interactive view of your inventory levels and allows you to transfer inventory between stores – all within NetSuite.
Easy inventory allocations: Inventory is turning at a faster pace than ever before, and being able to determine how much product needs to be distributed to each store can be a challenge. A Preallocation & Distribution tool allows you to identify the items purchased for retail stores and then automatically create transfer orders directly from the purchase order. You can make those decisions based on a set number, weighted by store or based on existing sales history in NetSuite. By automating this process, you can focus on other tasks instead of manually keying in inventory transfers.
An Apparel Retail & E-commerce Leader
“RF-SMART is not just an investment for the future; we are seeing the benefits now...If you want to expand your company, you need RF-SMART.”
Frescobol Carioca is a luxury men’s resortwear brand that maintains three UK-based retail locations while distributing world-wide. With 96% growth projected, Frescobol Carioca looked to RF-SMART and NetSuite to help control their stock for better accuracy and reduce manual errors.
Needed an agile solution that would let them get control of their stock for better accuracy. Also wanted to reduce manual processes to increase speed and efficiency.
"Managing their inventory is essential." Implemented RF-SMART with NetSuite to ensure their inventory is correct and manageable. Frescobol Carioca uses RF-SMART for purchase orders and putaways, inventory returns, stock takes and bin counts.
Frescobol Carioca improved their picking accuracy to 99%. They were also able to reduce their seasonal staff without sacrificing the number of orders picked per day, saving $40,000 a year. RF-SMART also helps with planning. They are able to see the upcoming sales orders , when they are supposed to leave the warehouse, and whether they can complete the orders based on the stock on hand – all at a glance.
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