Inventory Planning & Forecasting Solution helps Footwear Retailer rapidly grow to 4+ Million Customers

Softvision’s solution automates forecasting and increases in-stock rate by 10%+, reduces backorders by 30%.

Softvisions’ “partnership is invaluable. From everyday assistance on issues, to challenging us to ‘think out of the box’ to solve business issues, we could not be as successful without this partnership.” — Manager of Planning Systems

Overview
This footwear retailer pioneered the category of lower body health, combining product categories that include foot care, hosiery, knee and ankle bracing, low impact exercise, back care, and comfort and wellness footwear into an integrated merchandising concept. This company offers more than 100 leading brands in a product mix emphasizing stylish comfort, wellness, and therapeutic relief.

The company’s e-commerce website is an Internet Retailer Top 200 site serving more than 1.2 million unique visitors per month. With rapid channel expansion looming, they sought to enhance their ability to offer customers the comfort, style and lower body health they seek.

Situation
The demand forecasting tools previously used at the footwear retailer were linked to Excel spreadsheets then updated manually or via macros. They were unable to accommodate for the rapid expansion. The inability to easily reforecast sales and response curves left them constantly reacting to unplanned demand. They were inefficient and missing sales opportunities with late responses to market demand.

In addition, their SKU-intensive footwear offering was becoming a much larger percentage of the business. Due to the rapidly increasing assortments, SKU counts, and overall volume, the manual forecasting was time-consuming to plan by size and simply not accurate. A system was needed that could efficiently and accurately forecast future needs by SKU and time period.

Solution
Knowing that a significant system upgrade was needed, key personnel began to assess their specific needs and gather information from stakeholders. After exhaustive internal research, they drafted a detailed “business requirements” document to guide them through the evaluation of possible software solutions. Working with providers, they conducted live software demonstrations, then compared the results against their business requirements and ultimately our forecasting and assortment planning products as the best fit.

With the automated programs, our client hoped to consistently and easily create more accurate forecasts with which to buy their inventory, which would allow orders to be generated on a timely basis and reduce the purchasing team’s workload to a more manageable level.

Results
With our forecasting solution, our clients’ inventory planners now have a “one stop shop” where they can perform most of their work—entering orders, reviewing performance, forecasting, and event planning, all in one central system. As a result, they are able to spend their time more productively and produce more accurate outcomes. In a short time, the company has noted significant improvement in a number of key inventory performance metrics.

Product availability: The #1 objective of our clients’ purchasing department is to have SKUs in stock at the time the customer expects them, in support of a catalog or website listing. Our solution has enabled the company to increase its in-stock rate by more than 10%. Correspondingly, the backorder rate has been substantially reduced by 25-33%.

Inventory turnover: With our forecasting solution, our client now has the ability to forecast and buy accurately at the SKU level which have brought dramatic improvement to its turnover rate. Higher in-stock rates plus increased inventory turnover have created a better balance in its assortments, allowing the company to own more of the SKUs it needs, while owning less of the slower selling SKUs.

“We are thrilled with the efficient and accurate forecasts being done by our Purchasing teams and the end result in improved availability, backorders, and inventory turnover.” — Director of Planning and Purchasing

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