Wouldn’t it be nice if every day was Christmas? A time of giving and receiving, a time when people take a step back from the rush and smell the roses. A time of celebration.

If an inventory manager were to write a list of requests to Father Christmas, a tongue-in-cheek wish list would probably look something like this:

A sudden influx of customers

You’ve been sitting with shelves loaded with stock and the economic realities have hit the consumer hard. All of a sudden, you are inundated by shoppers who for some reason are most interested in your slow movers – the items that are nearing their expiry date and have been taking up valuable space on the shelf for months. This would help free up much needed storage space and eliminate having to write off a large amount of expired stock, putting much needed funds into your Xmas kitty.

A ‘Red-handed’ alert

For months now, you have been struggling to reconcile stock. The system simply doesn’t tally. How nice would it be if a system could be deployed to monitor staff and customer movement and immediately raise the alarm as soon as a crime is committed? Flashing Christmas lights would be an added bonus just so the culprit is easily identified. A state-of-the-art system like this would all but eliminate the arduous and tedious stock take - ensuring that business is in absolute equilibrium all the time.

Actuaries on call

Demand planning and stock management is a tedious process, often requiring a financially savvy individual. The reality is that unless you are a bank or insurance company, you will never have access to a group of actuaries that could do an intelligent analysis of the business. So imagine having an army of actuaries available every month to advise you on what is driving the business and key market behaviours and trends. This will allow you to align operational and sales activity to this intelligence. Imagine! You could be told what to order, when and what the most cost effective price points are in order to maximise revenue.

Proactive product intelligence.

Imagine if your products were able to have an identity of their own – much like an online profile which provides information such as “I’m too warm” - if I were a fish in a freezer or “I’m close to my expiry date” - if I were a bag of crisps. If this information could be proactively communicated, it would surely help you to manage your inventory better.

A crystal ball

Well this would be the most valuable of the lot! What are the trends going to be next season? What is the state of the economy going to look like? What products are going to be in demand? Imagine, as an inventory manager​, being able to plan precisely based on this knowledge - you would never run out of stock and you would always have stock of the right things. Products would be priced exactly right so as to maximise revenue and be extremely competitive. Knowing this, you’d be able to discontinue products that are not fashionable and replace them with fast movers – and be wealthy in no time.

Enjoy more free time this Christmas

The question though is this – where would all the fun go? Life would become too easy and predictable and there would be no spice!

These pipe dreams are actually not all that far from reality if were you to consider investing in a Business Intelligence capability for your business.

A Data Warehouse Automation Platform will automate most of the manual input and guesswork to allow the business to more accurately plan, predict, analyse and act on information. This will effectively free up valuable time for an inventory manager to do more strategic analysis - and of course, enjoy that extra beer or glass of champagne come Christmas season.