I’m not sure why this is the first thing I thought would be the best to write about…but then again in my mind, a WSSI is one of the most important tools you can have as a retail business so it needs to be the one thing you are thoroughly behind.
I have worked in a few businesses and have seen the top notch automatic press of a button WSSI (yes it was fancy!) to the one where you are literally having to tap in numbers to work out how much stock you truly have and will end the season on!
The key thing to remember is the ultimate use of the WSSI – it is there for you to understand how much stock you have at the moment, keep an eye on what you are spending and how it compares to last year.
In my last role I was targeted to reduce stocks from double digits on the year to single digits for the business in the space of a year and I did it, and learnt a lot from it.
Here are a few tips from me which I think are easy wins for companies using them:
1. If you’re using an Excel WSSI – Keep your WSSI simple and easy to run – ALWAYS make sure you get an automatic download of data from either your BI tool or your replenishment system and have VLOOKUPs – don’t waste peoples time entering data which although may cost you a little to implement, will save you thousands later on from what other work your admin staff could be doing for you.
2. Don’t give your team too many targets (a warehouse target, a branch target, weekly targets). I have found it best to make the team to work to overall targets for closing per season. Monthly closing stock targets are good, as they can control OTB and orders for that month, but as we all know, orders change, launches change, so these cannot always be static. Closing at the end of the season is most important.
3. Try not to over bombard your team. Understand your resource limitations and make sure your WSSIs can be managed within their workload. This means not adding lots of additional titles, or trying to give them seasonal WSSIs when they are already maxed out on doing the ones you have. Remember they have a lot of trading going on at the same time, so keeping it easier for them will also ensure that you get closer to your targets..
4. ALWAYS make sure you review with your team the WSSIs without fail every 4 weeks. I know this is a tedious task, but I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to keep those checks in place. In my last role I had to review nearly 30 individual WSSIs across 4 areas which is no mean feat! However I split them over the week so I didn’t have them all in one day to ease the pain..
5. Do you have an automatic OTB calculation in your Excel WSSI? If not, make sure you do! I have tips on how to make these easy for those who don’t always know how to work these through on WSSIs.
6. Make sure you have the right calculations and various vs. on the year columns – these make a significant difference to the output of your WSSI – I changed a lot of formulas and added new ones so the focus changed and teams could grasps things easier, for example, adding average stockturns for closing stock at the end of season for the store and warehouse and as a comparative vs. LY – this added another target which the teams could work to.
7. When setting initial targets for your team, make sure your recognise the importance of Markdown and Reprice changes and their impact. I also always gave my team at least a 10% increased target (i.e. If your overall target for them is to close 0% on the year, they need to close -10% on the year). From my experience, this buffer helps protect your own target and theirs and can be monitored better.
These are just some of the tips I have for better stock management, but I have a lot more and also it can be very business specific based.
Please contact me for further details or I will also be looking to be running workshops later on in the year through Bright Disposition which I can bring to you and your teams on this and a variety of other subjects.
There will also be some more tips and articles going forward…watch this space!