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Whether you have an extensive collection of thousands of products or you deal in smaller quantities, hitting the sweet spot when you optimize your inventory and storage is often a wasteful and cumbersome process.

In fashion, in both retail and wholesale, when you begin the task of preparing for pre-season a lot of factors begin weighing in on you, and as a result businesses often get their strategy wrong, wasting a great deal of time and money.

Maintaining control of stock variations, analysing product performance, and getting the optimum levels of stock to ensure productivity and efficiency is a massive task, but get it right and you’re set to trump your opposition.

That's why we’ve teamed up with James and James.

Using their outsourced warehousing and order fulfilment expertise, we’ve put together some solid advice for managing the problems associated with maintaining an optimized warehouse in fashion retail. They have also written an incredible white paper with us to give you access to industry leading advice for optimizing warehouse inventory. Download the free white paper here.

So how can you clear these massive hurdles?

In our experience, fashion brands and retailers often get caught up in a loop of vast unending spreadsheets. Cumbersome at the best of times, a spreadsheet is no fit way to organise a modern business. Ecommerce runs at such a pace that by the time you’ve finished one part, the rest of it is out of date and the competition around you is storming ahead.

To avoid finding yourself in a constant rut of admin stresses, there are a few strong ways to get ahead. This blog focusses on ‘Just in Time’ ordering, but check out the white paper for more great ways to help you succeed as a fashion retailer, including drop shipping, outsource fulfilment and more.

Just in Time!

Just in Time ordering, or JIT, is a strategy which enables a growing retailer to better manage the risks associated with inventory management by offsetting the risks to the manufacturer.

Essentially instead of taking the gamble on buying in lots of stock and managing it efficiently, a JIT system would enable a seller to only buy what they sell.

When you bulk buy a large warehouse order, you are essentially locking in a large amount of money and waiting for it to pay itself back. Errors in the process mean that idle items could be costing you dearly, and taking up space.

Instead of large occasional warehouse deliveries, stock or parts arrive only when they are needed (just in time), reducing costly wastage problems. JIT also enables the seller to offer outstanding customer service without any inventory, since they can be responsive to customers’ needs rather than locking them into a particular product or path.

There are risks associated with JIT strategy however. Retailers and brands need to have a very developed sense of trust with suppliers, and often need to set up a costly method of sharing technology infrastructure. Additionally, sellers risk upsetting their customer base as a result of a problems at the distributor end of things.

That said, with a developed and healthy relationship with a professional supplier, fashion brands, retailers and wholesalers can really reap the benefits of a low-risk, low-stress inventory with JIT.

Want to learn about more industry leading tools for optimizing your warehouse (and saving yourself time and money)? Download our white paper “Warehouse Optimization: Assortment Strategy for Fashion Retailers” now, where we discuss more strategies and tools for ambitious businesses.

Have you ever been caught in the endless trap of spreadsheets? Do you have any tips for how you manage your inventory and warehouse? Drop a comment below - you might just make somebody’s day!

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About the Author

Passionate about ending the reign of click-bait, Joe Walton is all about creating engaging, practical content for multichannel retailers at Brightpearl.