The Leap from Spreadsheets to Automated Retail Merchandise Management
In my experience, just about everyone in retail wants to get out of the spreadsheet trap and leave their error-prone, standalone, manual process behind.
No spreadsheet can keep pace with the up-and-down trends of seasonal and fashion-driven demand, as well as demand signals by location, there’s too much uncertainty for spreadsheets to handle. Retailers must get to the SKU, store, week level in their planning, which often involves too much data to manage practically in spreadsheets. Although I would say that the majority of retail planners have not yet switched to a hands-off system to reduce the need for manual review, I do see more and more organizations headed that way. Spreadsheets don’t provide the ability to react adequately to store-SKU level demand and replenishment signals (which can be lumpy). This results in many retailers handing over an advantage to their more automated and optimized competitors.
Some key points to keep in mind as you retire your spreadsheets and adopt a retail merchandise planning solution: