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08 Jun

Enabling the New Normal: A New Approach to Stock Management

Closeup of bar code reader in hand of unrecognizable warehouse worker doing inventory of stock

Retailers have long sought a flexible supply chain to enable responsiveness to uncertain time frames, ensure effective management of supply and demand and make inventory work harder. 

The best example of this during the Covid-19 pandemic are the many retailers who have used their physical stores as mini distribution centers to fulfill orders. Retailers as diverse as fashion giant Levis, bookseller Blackwell’s and Majestic Wine have used their store portfolio to support their change to a fully online business model. They are effectively using ‘dark stores’ in much the same way as the likes of grocers Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda in the UK, to support their online business as part of normal trade.

As lockdown lifts across the globe, the extreme conditions that have forced this pivot will begin to dissolve. Retailers will need to reduce the amount of stock they hold, which for many has been accumulating during the enforced interval caused by the pandemic. 

It’s likely that the fulfill-from-store model will gain more traction as retailers who have set their stores up using the approach will continue to find it a useful tool after the crisis. Similarly, other retailers will aim to implement the model to enable new, advantageous fulfilment options, a better use of inventory and to maximize the return from their physical estate. Technology will be crucial in achieving this outcome, resulting in an increased requirement for unified commerce platforms with strong order management and organizational capabilities.

Read other articles in this series:-

Enabling the New Normal: Greater Flexibility Around Staff Deployment

Enabling the New Normal: Creating New Customer Journeys

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