Top 5 Inventory Management Challenges in 2013

Focus: Apparel, Footwear, Fabrics, Retail Chain Stores, Grocery, Books Industries

In terms of producing results, the retail industry is unquestionably one of the most difficult on the planet in which to achieve consistent growth and success. 2013 promises to be no easier, with a large number of challenges facing retailers of all sizes.

As competition among manufacturers and distributors continues to rise, companies are constantly looking for ways to maximize their efficiency and gain better control over their warehouse inventory management for apparel, fabric, retail chain, grocery, and books industries.  By closely examining the company’s operational capabilities as they relate to changing warehouse environments, companies will be focusing on strategies to improve efficiency and optimize inventory.

Challenges to the warehouse environment can present themselves in a number of ways: acquiring new customers with complex order requirements, new ownership, and added channels (such as web stores, retail stores or distribution centers). In order to ease the effects of these changes, companies need to re-evaluate their processes, optimize their inventory, and find ways to increase overall efficiency.

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Warehouse Inventory Management for Apparel Fabric Retail Chain Grocery Books

RMS Consulting has gathered predictions from leading industry domains and researchers on what challenges they expect to happen in retail industry in term of Inventory Management and Warehouse Management.

Inefficient Processes

These cause a lot of time wastages, equipment wear, and strain on the people who do the work.  Most often, inefficiency distress warehouses that operate on a manual basis, but even automated companies suffer.  Inefficiencies are everywhere and are most often found when products are touched multiple times or delivery routes are undefined. Few warehouses use softwares to automate their system but these softwares are it self inefficient to overcome these loopholes.

Knowing the Inventory

The warehouse manager must understand the inventory inside and out.  In addition to knowing what the product is, the manager also has to know how often it ships from the producer, how big the packages are, the most cost-effective quantity to order, etc.  Above all, the manager must know at all times exactly what is on hand, where it is located, and when it will be replenished.

Higher Productivity Requirements and Fewer Resources

Companies are always looking for ways to squeeze extra expenses out of every part of the profit and loss.  One of the places they squeeze is in logistics and Inventory.  Warehouse management software both helps and hurts this aspect of the business.  It helps by finding those extra expenses, but hurts by making it appear as if there are more and more places to squeeze.

They need to focus of the profit loss ratio of the expenses they are making and what are the benefits they are achieving from that investment. Cost benefit ratio is very much important while choosing a process and software for your business.

Customer Demand

Most warehouses now manage products for customers.  This means that the customer places their trust in the warehouse to manage a substantial chunk of their assets.  It is the responsibility of the manager to understand what the customer expects and to deliver the results they require.  Otherwise, the manager can expect to lose business quickly as customers are quick to switch to other warehouses.

Increasing Competition

Emerging economies such as china, India, and nations in Latin America are building up warehouse management companies quickly.  With low  labor costs, material costs, and low currency values, these emerging markets can easily undercut established warehouses.  With the availability of fast international shipping, established warehouses are constantly challenged to compete.


Industry Specific Examples

In the following section, we have mentioned some real challenges faced by the leading industries in the market now a days. These challenges have been collected from the research and development team of RMS consulting after thorough research from large and medium sized businesses.

Fabric Industry

Fabric retailers have to manage large number of designs changing with different seasons and occasions. Most of the designs have to be managed for different colors. As the number of designs or products increases, the inventory management becomes more critical and complex.

Case Study: Inventory Solution For a Fabrics Retail Solution

Apparel Industry

Apparel retailers have to manage continuously changing fashions and designs. Management of assortments is a big challenge for apparel retailers. As the number of designs or products increases, the inventory management becomes more critical and complex.

Case Study: Inventory Solution For an Fashion Apparel Store

Footwear Industry

Footwear retailers have to manage large number of designs in varying categories like dress shoes, sandals, sports shoes etc. Management of assortments is a big challenge for footwear retailers.

Case Study: Inventory Solution For a Footwear Brand

Retail Chain Store

Chain Store retailers has a real challenge to maximize their profitability. Inventory movement and optimization across retail outlets is a big challenge for them. They need a smooth execution of the process as well as they want their system growing rapidly. Retailers need to know which items are moving and which ones are not. As the number of products and brands in the store increases, the inventory management becomes more critical and complex.

Case Study: Inventory Solution For a Retail Chain Store


Gift & General Retailers: Grocery retailers have to keep large number of items split in different departments and categories. As the number of items increases, inventory management becomes more critical and complex. Retailers need to know which items are moving and which ones are not.

Case Study: Inventory Solution For a Grocery Store

Books & stationery

Books & stationery retailers have to keep large number of books from different publishers and authors. Stationery items are also in large number and have to be managed. As the number of books or products increases, the inventory management becomes more critical and complex. Sometimes we have to set customer specific prices for bulk buyers. Customer invoicing should be done efficiently to keep them happy and satisfied.

Case Study: Inventory Solution For a Books Store



Successful retailing in todays’ world is more complex than ever where common challenge is Inventory management and Warehouse Management in all fields. In 2013, the economic situation in Europe and the US, a combination of rising production costs and flat prices, the pressure to improve working conditions, a lack of new production centres and low volume growth in retailing all add up to a worrying year. It is no longer enough to have carefully managed schedules and full understanding of supply chains to be successful.  Warehouse managers must now learn to automate warehouse beyond the corporate boundaries.

Hence, with the above trends and challenges faced by retail industry today, Retailers needs someone  who truly understands the retail industry needs and challenges, someone who is not just a technology expert but an industry expert and who can translate these challenges to opportunities to help you to grow your business.

RMS Consulting is committed to support the retails management industry enabling the chain stores and single stores to further optimize every aspect of their operations. We actively collaborate with all the corporate and the supply chain stakeholders while designing the detailed solution. We use the cost effective world-class technologies only where needed while preserving the existing corporate technology investments.


warehouse inventory management for apparel Fabric Retail Chain Grocery Books