In last month’s post, we went over Replenishment 101: What is Replenishment? This month, we thought we’d dig in a little deeper and look into monitoring store-level inventory.
In order for an item to be considered replenishable in Walmart’s system, you’ll need to check the order book flag, item status, effective date, MBM code, and positive forecast.
It’s also important to note the difference between traited and valid. An item can be one and not the other, or both.
Products are usually traited for certain stores depending on their likelihood of high sales performance. For example, if a store is next to a beach, then bathing suits would likely be a traited product there and may not be so at a store located inland. It’s important to keep track of your traited and valid store counts to ensure you have sufficient inventory to cater to these stores (and especially if the store count changes).
With our Retail Intelligence software, you can graph traited and valid store counts over time and quickly spot changes in the Performance Report.
Instocks are an incredibly important metric to keep track of as well. There are three instock metrics to keep in mind:
These metrics will help you examine your instocks on a corporate level. Walmart has a corporate instock goal of 98.5%, though there is some minor variation between departments. If you fall below your departmental instock goal, it’s time to look under the hood and see which stores are having issues.
There are four things you’ll need to check in order to get a full picture of your replenishment cycle. Each of these statuses counts towards what’s “in the pipe”.
If you see that you have no OH units and nothing on the way (in the pipe) for certain stores, you’ll likely need to start doing further analysis to determine the root cause. Consider things like
If you have determined that your supply chain is healthy, you can also reach out to your RM to determine if there are any blocks on ordering for certain stores, confirm that the order book flag for the item is on, etc. You can also work with your RM to determine store-level forecasts to ensure the correct amounts are being ordered at the store (and not just Walmart distribution center) level.
One quick fix to keep in mind may be to create a store-specific order (SSO) in order to quickly replenish inventory while waiting for forecast recommendations to take effect.
SupplyPike’s Retail Intelligence software goes into deep detail about your replenishment statistics, showing you such metrics as traited and valid store counts, forecasted units, forecast variances, and your Walmart GRS Sales Forecast.
Another interesting angle you can examine to get to the bottom of persistent replenishment issues is your items’ pack size quantities. These quantities determine item order increments that are shipped not only from the supplier to the Walmart distribution centers but from the distribution centers to the stores as well.
You want to ensure that Walmart has the flexibility it needs to replenish stores quickly, while also balancing the costs of packing product efficiently for your company. Generally speaking, smaller pack sizes are better for replenishment as Walmart can order, for example, single units to stores, though they are, of course, more costly (with increased packaging) and demand more labor from suppliers.
To understand pack sizes, you’ll need some definitions:
To help illustrate the concept pack sizes, here are some example item configurations based on the graphic above:
Walmart also has a “pack and a half rule”, meaning that one and a half inner cases must fit on the shelf. For example, if you can fit nine units on a shelf, your inner pack must be six (i.e., six plus three). Having smaller pack sizes also helps with the pack and a half rule.
SupplyPike has a dedicated analysis tool for measuring replenishment for your stores. You can view your replenishment goals, your forecasts, and your traited and valid store counts. The best part? You can get started for free today. Just schedule a tour!
SupplyPike builds software to help retail suppliers fight deductions, meet compliance standards, and dig down to root cause issues in their supply chain.Visit their Website ➝