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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Customer service issues typically fall into one of three categories - inability to handle standard transactions (delivery, invoice accuracy, phone support, etc) on a consistent basis; knowledge staff; or product availability issues.
One of the topics we discussed at the meeting was the product availability issue. The client admitted to cutting their inventory value, but still was operating with a healthy inventory value. The challenge - they cut the dollar amount but didn't consider that they should cut more in C's and D's and ensure that they had A and B items!
While they need to reconsider their inventory dollar allocation, we also talked about making sure that they have the top sellers for the market segments that they sell to. A strategy to do this is soliciting supplier support. Ask your customers, "what are your top x products for y market segment (i.e. industrial) nationally and within my geographic area / region?" Then compare their information to what your top sellers are for them. If you have gaps, could you be missing sales to your customers? (and yes, there may be SKUs that are not on the supplier list but are on your list - but you know what your customers are buying from you.)
Contractors want a one-stop shop. Having their most frequently needed products helps improve your service levels. Don't let inventory for top sellers be a reason why you lose a sale. Get your top suppliers to help you adjust your inventory.
Having the right product, in stock, will help you take share, increase sales and improve your profitability ... while creating satisfied customers.