Supply chain disruptions and a pandemic-driven bullwhip in orders made getting enough products to meet high demand difficult this year. In response, companies increased production, pulled forward orders and made other adjustments to build their inventories.
Home Depot and other shippers chartered vessels and focused on high-velocity SKUs to ensure adequate supply. Companies reported spending more on technological upgrades for inventory and networking optimization. Shoe and apparel company Allbirds buoyed its inventories thanks to planning, secondary sourcing and regional diversification.
But the increase in inventories following the surge in demand raised the question: Has it really been a pandemic-driven transition from just-in-time inventory strategies, or merely an increase in orders to satisfy the extra demand?
Here are a few of our top stories about inventory management in a challenging 2021.