Lousy forecasting, poorly managed promotions and problems in the last fifty yards of the supply chain continue to dog on-shelf availability, according to young managers polled for our reader panel.
The overwhelming majority (98%) of IGD’s Leading Edge members said they continued to lose sales because products were not on the shelf when customers wanted them.
Out-of-stocks were blamed on a range of factors including inaccurate forecasting, badly managed promotions, extreme weather, poor supplier service levels, systems issues and a lack of communication between trading partners.
However, four out of five respondents cited instore logistics problems as the biggest contributor to out of stocks, with products getting to the store but not always making it to the shelf.
Contrary to popular belief, out of stocks were not necessarily more prevalent in the independent sector, claimed manufacturers on the panel.
As ECR UK prepares to publish its first major survey on on-shelf availability across the multiples, 84% of young managers surveyed said current measures of out of stocks were unreliable. This was mainly due to variations in the way retailers measured availability, with some conducting physical checks on key lines at different points in the day and others relying on systems checks.
One Leading Edge member said: “In my role I monitor availability levels on a daily basis. I think it’s very difficult to put a lack of availability down to one cause. The key is understanding how an individual product within the supply chain works, even down to store level.
“This is easier in an Every Day Low Cost environment as demand is flatter and availability more achievable.”