Inventory Control

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Beyond the Speed-Price Trade-Off

In response to increasing consumer demands for faster deliveries without added cost, more companies are implementing IT solutions that enable access to real-time sales data and inventory data across the whole enterprise. Real-time sales and inventory information, coupled with advanced analytics enables networks to accommodate fluctuations and changes in the business environment quickly, a quality the authors call distribution agility.

The Store Is Dead — Long Live the Store

At the same time that many traditional retailers are closing offline stores, digitally native vertical brands such as Bonobos and Warby Parker are aggressively expanding into offline locations. And both online and offline retailers are converging in experience-oriented “showrooms.”

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Managing Risk to Avoid Supply-Chain Breakdown

By understanding the variety and interconnectedness of supply-chain risks, managers can tailor balanced, effective risk-reduction strategies. The authors show how smart companies use “stress testing” to identify parts of the supply chain that might break in the event of a natural disaster, terrorist strike or other upheaval. They then explain a variety of ways that supply-chain partners can collaboratively prepare for and effectively manage risk.

The Bullwhip Effect in Supply Chains

Distorted information from one end of a supply chain to the other can lead to tremendous inefficiencies: excessive inventory investment, poor customer service, lost revenues, misguided capacity plans, ineffective transportation, and missed production schedules. What happens when a supply chain is plagued with a bullwhip effect that distorts its demand information as it is transmitted up the chain? How do exaggerated order swings occur? What can companies do to mitigate them?

Returns Policies: Make Money by Making Good

ALTHOUGH RETURNS POLICIES HAVE BEEN WIDELY USED FOR MANY YEARS, THEY CONTINUE TO BE A SOURCE OF CONTROVERSY. THE AUTHORS present a framework that explains when and how to adopt returns policies. They analyze the benefits and costs of accepting returns from distributors, and also compare returns policies to alternative ways of coordinating the distribution channel.

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