4 Ways to Improve Retail Planning

4 Ways to Improve Retail Planning

Staying competitive in retail can be tough. With more and more online retailers and e-commerce businesses becoming increasingly available to the average consumer, retailers must find new and better ways to get ahead. However, before any retailer can launch sophisticated marketing campaigns or branch out into a wider range of products or audiences, they must first have the right tools in place to plan and to manage what’s already going on; and of course, to do so in a manner that is data-driven, with clear milestones and objectives along the way.

In this post, we’re looking at 4 ways to improve retail planning - so that you can make better decisions to help take the next major steps towards growth within your retail business.

1. Inventory and warehouse management: In retail in particular, inventory and warehouse management are key to cutting costs and enabling better decision making in the future. Having the right inventory management system in place, as with the case with Dynamics 365, can simplify and automate replenishment orders and to better handle any surpluses that may arise. Tracking inventory can further help you to see if your assumptions are true and whether or not you’ll need to adjust your upcoming orders. Dynamics 365 can further streamline warehousing efforts to improve efficiency through layout and to implement stocking limits, location profiles, and fixed picking locations. These, when managed together within a single dashboard, can not only help key decision makers to better understand what is going on, but to find ways to improve upcoming efforts across the business.

2. Supply Chain Management (SCM): If you want better plans for the future, understanding where all the different ‘parts’ come from and how they work together is key. Three key planning processes related to SCM that Dynamics 365 can help with are:

  • Master planning: Calculating net requirements based on current orders can help retailers to control replenishment on a short-term basis.
  • Forecast planning: This function helps retailers to calculate gross requirements based on future projections for better long-term planning of both materials and capacity.
  • Intercompany master planning: For better calculations of net requirements across different legal entities, this takes into account supply and demand over the short and long-term.

These different functions all satisfy cross-departmental needs within your retail business - enabling a holistic view for better planning, and ultimately better decisions and outlooks for the future. These can also be integrated with transportation management to help retailers identify the best routing solutions for inbound and outbound orders.

3. Business Intelligence: Because Dynamics 365 functions with a single and centralized real time dashboard, the reports that are being produced are based on recent and accurate data. This single dashboard can provide reporting insights into the following:

  • Sales analytics: top salespeople, sales cycle duration, conversion rates on leads and opportunities, and sales pipelines and forecasts by: month, quarter, year, salesperson, region, product, and sales stage, to name a few. 
  • Customer service analytics: satisfaction rates, case resolution information, open and overdue activities, service activities, contracts nearing expiry and others.
  • Marketing analytics: campaign costs analysis and variance, overall effectiveness and ROI, new lead volume, lead conversion, and insight into which market segments are most effective.

4. Financial management: One of the best things about managing all the previous functions with an ERP solution such as Dynamics 365 is how much it simplifies other parts of the retail business. This is particularly true when it comes to accounting - so whether you handle it internally or have an external team managing your finances, Dynamics 365 can give you better reports that are easier to get to the right people. This makes your planning processes easier and ensures that when it comes to compliance and tax requirements, you’ll have all the data you need available quickly and easily.

It’s clear that when it comes to planning, having the right basis of information to support your decision making is integral for getting that little bit of competitive edge that your retail business requires to be its most profitable self. By utilizing an ERP platform such as Dynamics 365, many of the major tasks necessary to support this data-driven planning and decision making can be improved or even automated - freeing up time and resources for other needs.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Dynamics 365 can improve your retail business for a more profitable and effective future, make sure to check out our new ebook Dynamics of ROI: A Guide to Achieving Retail Performance Excellence.

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Muhammad Aurangzeb's picture
Muhammad Aurangzeb is AVP - Enterprise Application Services at Systems Limited, with over 11 years of experience in providing business consultancy and enterprise IT solutions that enable Omni-channel Retail and growth in Manufacturing and Public Sector industries.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Systems Limited, or any other entity related to Systems Limited.

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