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Suggested Stock Improvements Enhance Sales, Expand Supply Chain Flexibility

At TrueCommerce Datalliance, we never stop adding to or refining the features of our VMI platform. And, as part of our second free update for 2018, we’ve increased the flexibility for suggesting stock. Let’s look at how the feature is used and its benefits for suppliers and distributors.

Suppliers often have thousands of products in their catalog, but it is impossible for distributors to stock all of them. Thus, suppliers recommend which products to stock (i.e., suggested stock). Recommendations can fluctuate because of market needs, distributor location, seasonality, product phaseouts, regulation changes, etc., and suppliers continually adjust their suggested stock reports.

Suggested Stock_VMI

For the last several years the TrueCommerce Datalliance VMI platform has enabled suppliers to suggest stock for distributors. However, these stock suggestions could only be made if a distributor location already reported the item and one sale had been made in the most recent half of the planning horizon. Going forward, suppliers and distributors will be able to suggest any item regardless of its stock or sales history.

TrueCommerce Datalliance Customer Care Analyst Mario Gómez presented this change at our user conference Connections in May and since then, he has helped several industrial suppliers implement the expanded logic.

Gómez says, “Suppliers and distributors are really happy with the control this report gives them as it assures that they have the items they need. In addition, it allows suppliers to suggest items that have the potential to increase sales for the distributor.”

The enhanced suggested stock feature also enables planners to configure start-to-stock thresholds. In other words, planners can set the number of units of a specific product that must be sold before it is stocked. This is especially useful for do-not-stock items or slow-moving products.

Planners also have flexibility in choosing which lists of recommended items are included in the suggested stock report. Recommended item lists are used to alert distributors of replacement product SKUs during phaseouts or product introductions. The result is a more customized suggested stock report, which expedites the review and approval process.

Another benefit of the enhanced stock suggestion logic is that it gives distributors the ability to mark suggested stock SKUs as reviewed. “Prior to the update, a distributor would have to review every suggested SKU, even the SKUs they previously decided not to stock,” says Gómez. “Now, previously suggested SKUs can include disposition information, saving distributors from viewing the same items as “new” each week. Obviously, this helps the buyer be more efficient, and for every efficiency that we create for distributors, that translates to them having better relationships with their suppliers.”

If you are a current customer of TrueCommerce Datalliance, you can find the new setup page by logging into our VMI platform. From the main menu, select “Setup and Setting,” then “Distributor Setup,” and then “Suggest Stock.” For additional help or questions, please contact Customer Care 888.364.3361 or email support@datalliance.com.

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