The Inventory Mentor

Dec 10, 2020


Planning for 2021 in a Post-2020 World

Planning for 2021 in a Post-2020 World

Wrap the lessons of 2020 in a 2021 planning strategy that’s capable of handling unplanned uncertainty.

There is one truth when it comes to the 2020 global pandemic – everybody is tired of talking about the pandemic. However, it did leave a legacy of important lessons. Such as how unprepared many companies were for the changes it brought, and the uncertainty it wrought. It was more than just a ‘bump in the road’ it was a mountain that appeared in the middle of the business roadmap and forced companies to make massive changes to how they operated and survived. 

But there are questions…

How can your business plan for the bumps that lie ahead? How can you unpack the data from 2020, as erratic and unusual as it was, to refine 2021 planning? And what tools are best suited ensuring that your inventory management is planned and managed intelligently for today and tomorrow?

  1. A lesson

There are five things that every organization should take out of 2020:

  1. Uncertainty is certain. You may not be able to fully prepare for what lies ahead, but preparation and planning are critical to minimizing risk and loss.
  2. Agile strategy is key. If you can adapt and pivot as situations change, then you can find opportunities in challenges.
  3. Inventory management tools are vital. With intelligent insights and strategic planning, you can adapt to sudden changes and shift focus on demand with minimal risk and maximum value.
  4. Forecasting and planning. These two words have never had more weight than they do today. With the right tools, you can forecast your stock and inventory management as close as heck to perfect, and with agile planning you can leverage the forecast to stay ahead of the game.
  5. Make budgeting a priority and put some wriggle in it. Leave room in your budget for the unexpected and the unplanned, because if anything 2020 has shown how easy it is for budgets to fail.

And, within all this, organizations need to know that their inventories are healthy and capable of withstanding challenging situations. Take the NETSTOCK inventory health quiz to find out how your inventory tracks in 2021. 

Unpack the tools

Traditionally, many companies use spreadsheets to track their inventory, manage stock and ensure that systems are healthy and capable. However, spreadsheets are primarily manual which means that they take up a lot of time and the repetitive burden of inputting the information and complexity of the data often introduces errors. They still stand as a capable tool in a pinch, but ultimately spreadsheets are not as reliable when it comes to inventory planning as modern tools that automate many of the processes. Using intelligent technology that does the hard work, inventory planning tools wrap the data in analytics and insights that can make all the difference to how the business unpacks and uses its data.

Read more about why not to use a spreadsheet for your inventory management

For example, if one person manually enters the data into the spreadsheets, the process can take several hours or days to complete. Only then can the data be interpreted and used in reporting that allows for relevant decision making. Now, if the process is digital then the information can be pulled from multiple sources, automatically, and the insights customized to enhance decision making at speed. This reduces time spent on data capture and errors, and it increases the company’s ability to pivot in alignment with sudden market changes. 

Reliable and accurate tools will save the business time on planning, forecasting and ordering. They will minimize stock-outs and increase sales, and reduce the risk of excess stock, freeing up cash and increasing budget wriggle room in the event of an emergency. Get in touch with NETSTOCK to find out how our Inventory Planning platform can help you refine 2021, perfectly. 

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Written by Barry Kukkuk

Barry comes from a systems architect and application development background. He started his career as the co-founder and chief developer for Icon Retail Management, a full-fledged retail management system that integrated with mainstream ERP. Barry later conceptualized and developed Inventory Optimiza for Barloworld Logistics and provided technical support for the application. It was here where Barry’s passion for Inventory Management solutions began and the industry where he would later return. Barry went on to start his own business in 2008, where he was an avid user of cloud-based apps and would only use online solutions for his business. In 2010 Barry began his journey with NETSTOCK. His enthusiasm for Inventory Management and his strong belief in “all things Cloud” collided, and we saw the release of the Inventory Management solution - NETSTOCK. Barry is the CTO at NETSTOCK, where he is responsible for all customer-facing technologies and systems that keep thousands of NETSTOCK customer instances working correctly.

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