Inventory Management

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Note from the editor

To stick with lean inventories or not?

It's a critical question many supply chain managers have faced throughout the pandemic, as global supply and demand shocks disrupted just-in-time practices. 

Factory shutdowns, port congestion and unpredictable demand all contributed to retailers' fears that they may not be adequately stocked for the holiday season. 

Long term, businesses across industries are rethinking what it means to have lean inventory on the balance sheet and safety stock to meet sales. The stories below examine challenges and best practices in inventory management. 

Shefali Kapadia Lead Editor

Just-in-time and safety stock require a careful balance

Over the course of the pandemic, inventory has gone up, but so have sales. Are companies rethinking lean or just trying to keep up with demand?

• Published Nov. 10, 2021

'We're going to see a lot of bare shelves': Retail preps for a holiday beset by supply chain pain

Bottlenecks from factories to cargo ships mean fewer goods on shelves and fewer discounts for the season.

• Published Oct. 5, 2021

Walmart and Target say they'll be stocked amid global supply chain squeeze

The retail giants outlined proactive measures they have taken to get goods into the country and onto shelves. For their smaller peers, the pressure is tighter.

• Published Oct. 18, 2021

6 strategies to ensure supplies are delivered on time

A tight supply environment leaves companies thinking outside the box for supply continuity.

• Published Dec. 9, 2021

RFID's e-commerce growth spurt

The need for visibility drove companies to invest in solutions for their complete supply chain while Adidas is using the technology to verify provenance.

• Published May 4, 2021

Supply chains play inventory catch-up against a growing backlog of orders

Clorox grew inventory 50% and 3M's grew 6% in a race to meet elevated demand.

• Published May 4, 2021

The inventory-to-sales ratio reveals a divide between retail and automotive

Retailers are building up inventory as demand balloons, while auto dealers struggle with a global parts shortage.

• Published June 22, 2021

Macy's plan to speed up its supply chain starts with inventory management

Integrating store and warehouse inventory will allow the retailer to increase delivery speed and inventory utilization, according to Dennis Mullahy, chief supply chain officer at Macy's.

• Published July 13, 2021

What the future of inventory management looks like

Factory shutdowns, port congestion and unpredictable demand all contributed to retailers' fears that they may not be adequatedly stocked for the holiday season. Long term, businesses across industries are rethinking what it means to have lean inventory on the balance sheet and safety stock to meet sales.

included in this trendline
  • Walmart and Target say they'll be stocked amid global supply chain squeeze
  • Just-in-time and safety stock require a careful balance
  • Macy's plan to speed up its supply chain starts with inventory management
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.