Limited Supply Slack Webinar by Prediko: Cash is King [Part 1]

By Youri Moskovic
Last Updated:
May 24, 2024

In this webinar with Limited Supply, learn simple and effective ways to boost cash flow with efficient inventory operations.

At Prediko, we worked with the Limited Supply group and community to do a webinar on Inventory operations titled "5 Ways to Boost Your Cashflow by Improving Your Inventory Ops."
This post shares the main insights and takeaways from the webinar and shares strategies to help business owners and supply chain managers not only navigate but also thrive in the complex world of inventory management apps.

We have broken down this webinar into two posts. This is part 1 of this blog series.

If you prefer watching over reading the post, feel free to see the complete Limited Supply webinar:Β 

From establishing strong supplier relationships to leveraging advanced technological toolsΒ (part of Part 2 blog of the Limited Supply Webinar series), Youri, founder and CEOΒ at Prediko shares important lessons on managing cash flow

1. Importance of Supplier Relationships

Establishing Strong Foundations

Successful inventory management begins with solid relationships with your suppliers. By setting up strong, reliable connections with suppliers, businesses ensure a steady flow of products, which is essential for maintaining consistent service levels and customer satisfaction.

We shared with the Limited Supply Slack community that personal engagement, such as visiting suppliers and interacting with them face-to-face, significantly strengthens these relationships.

Here are some practical tips shared during the Limited Supply webinar for engaging suppliers:

  • Sell Your Vision:
    Communicating your business vision to your suppliers is crucial. It’s about making them a part of your journey, ensuring they are as committed to your success as their own. This involves more than just contract negotiations; it's about inspiring your suppliers with your brand story and future goals.
  • Personal Visits:
    While digital communication has become a norm, Youri advises making the effort to meet suppliers in person. Whether they are located in Asia, Mexico, or Europe, taking the time to visit can leave a lasting impact and foster a deeper commitment to your business.
  • Mutual Growth and Support:
    Engaging suppliers is not just about getting them to fulfil your immediate product needs. It’s also about discussing future growth and how they can continue to meet your evolving demands.
supplier relationship

Navigating Supplier Negotiations and Partnerships

Effective negotiation is an important part of good inventory management. Youri advises Limited Supply community that every order placed with a supplier presents an opportunity to renegotiate terms that can lead to significant improvements in cost, quality, or delivery timelines.

Here are some specific strategies from the webinar:

  • Continuous Improvement:
    The importance of viewing each interaction as a chance to negotiate for improvements, whether in unit costs, production times, or payment terms. This approach ensures that operations become more efficient and cost-effective over time.
  • Be Upfront and Honest:
    Being transparent with your suppliers about what you're looking to achieve from each negotiation. This clarity helps in aligning goals and expectations, fostering a relationship based on trust and mutual benefit.
  • Leverage Volume for Better Deals:
    As your business grows, use increased order volumes as leverage to negotiate better terms. Suppliers are often willing to offer favourable conditions in exchange for the promise of more substantial and consistent business.

Strategic Partnerships

We also delve into how strategic partnerships with suppliers can enhance operational capabilities and drive business growth in Limited Supply Slack Community.

However, he is cautions that while partnerships can be highly beneficial, they must be approached carefully to avoid potential pitfalls:

  • Selling the Vision:
    One of the key elements to securing a strong partnership is to sell your business vision to the supplier. Make them see how being associated with your brand benefits them, not just through immediate financial gains but as part of a longer-term strategic alignment.
  • Visit and Engage:
    The importance of visiting suppliers and engaging with them personally. This effort not only strengthens the relationship but also provides deeper insights into the supplier's operations, fostering collaboration and innovation.

Diversifying the Supplier Network

Mitigating Risks Through Diversification

Diversifying your supplier network is a strategic move that strongly advocates for enhancing supply chain resilience.

We share with the Limited Supply D2C community that reliance on a single supplier or a small group of suppliers can expose a business to significant risks, as evidenced by the disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diversification helps mitigate these risks by ensuring that if one supplier faces issues, others can step in to fill the gap, thus maintaining a continuous supply chain.

  • Broader Geographic Spread:
    We suggest considering suppliers from different geographic regions to avoid the pitfalls of regional disruptions, such as political instability, natural disasters, or pandemics. For example, if a primary supplier is in Asia and there are delays or shutdowns, having a secondary supplier in Mexico or Europe can maintain the flow of goods.
  • Reducing Dependency:
    We emphasize the importance of not letting any single supplier become too critical to your operation. This approach not only strengthens bargaining power but also gives companies the flexibility to negotiate better terms and ensure product availability under various circumstances.
setup strong supplier network

Choosing Suppliers Strategically

Choosing right suppliers involves more than evaluating cost-effectiveness; it's about strategic alignment with your business goals.
We offer the following advice on how to select suppliers that can truly add value to your business:

  • Alignment with Business Objectives: It’s crucial to select suppliers who understand and align with your business goals and customer commitments. This ensures they can meet your quality standards and delivery schedules, which is vital for maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Capability and Reliability: Assessing a supplier's capacity to meet your needs now and in the future is vital. This includes their production capabilities, quality control processes, and ability to scale operations in response to your growth.
  • Cultural Fit: A supplier's culture should align with yours, especially in terms of communication, work ethics, and corporate responsibility. A strong cultural fit enhances collaboration and the long-term sustainability of the partnership.

Practical Steps for Supplier Diversification

We detail several practical steps businesses can take to effectively diversify their supplier base:

  • Conduct Thorough Market Research:
    Understand capabilities and strengths of different suppliers in various regions. This research helps you identify potential new partners who can meet your specific requirements.
  • Develop Multiple Supplier Relationships: Gradually build relationships with multiple suppliers by starting with small orders to test their reliability and service quality before committing to larger volumes.
  • Regular Supplier Reviews: Continuously evaluate your suppliers based on performance metrics such as delivery times, quality, cost, and responsiveness. This practice helps identify risks and opportunities for improvement and ensures that your supplier base remains robust and adaptable.

2. Advanced Inventory Planning Techniques

Advanced inventory planning helps in preventing common issues such as stock-outs and excess inventory, both of which can have detrimental effects on cash flow and customer satisfaction.

Effective inventory planning not only ensures that products are available when customers need them but also helps in managing resources efficiently, thereby saving costs and optimizing operations.

  • Forecasting and Demand Planning: Accurate forecasting is foundational to inventory planning. We suggest leveraging historical sales data, market trends, and upcoming events to predict future demand accurately. This approach allows businesses to adjust their inventory levels proactively rather than reacting to stock issues after they occur.
  • Technology Integration: Implementing sophisticated inventory management software can significantly enhance the accuracy of inventory forecasts. These tools can automate data analysis, track sales trends in real-time, and update inventory needs dynamically.

Prediko assists brands in moving beyond manual spreadsheet management to more precise, automated systems that reduce errors and time spent on inventory management.

3. Leveraging Technology

The importance of using technology to streamline inventory operations, making them more efficient and less prone to human error.
There are several technological strategies and tools that can be instrumental in enhancing inventory planning:

  • Real-time Inventory Tracking: Advanced systems provide real-time visibility into stock levels, which is crucial for timely decision-making and efficient supply chain management. This visibility helps prevent both overstocking and stockouts by allowing businesses to respond swiftly to changes in demand or supply.
  • Integrating POS Systems: Integrating point-of-sale (POS) systems with inventory management software can provide valuable insights into customer purchasing behavior, which can further refine forecasting models and inventory strategies.
  • Automated Replenishment: Automated replenishment tools can help in maintaining optimal inventory levels by automatically placing orders when stock falls below predetermined thresholds. This ensures continuous availability of products without manual intervention.

4. Strategic Inventory Reviews

Regular reviews and adjustments of inventory policies are vital. We recommend these practices for maintaining effective inventory control:

  • Scheduled Reviews: Conduct regular inventory reviews to assess the health of your stock levels and identify any discrepancies or opportunities for improvement. This should include analyzing inventory turnover rates, carrying costs, and the performance of different product lines.
  • Adapting to market changes: Stay adaptable by continuously monitoring market conditions and customer preferences. This agility allows you to adjust your inventory planning accordingly, ensuring that your business can respond effectively to external changes and maintain a competitive edge.
  • Collaborative Planning: Engage with suppliers, customers, and internal teams to ensure that your inventory plans are aligned with broader business goals and market demands. Collaboration helps in fine-tuning your strategies and making informed decisions that benefit the entire supply chain.

5. Effective Strategies to Manage Inventory Levels

There are a lot of pre-sale strategies to manage stockouts.

Stockouts can significantly hinder sales and damage customer relationships. Pre-sale strategies can be an effective tool to manage customer expectations and maintain sales momentum even when inventory levels are low. Here's how businesses can implement this approach:

  • Transparent Communication: Clearly inform customers about the availability timelines of products. This transparency builds trust and can even enhance the perceived value of products as customers feel they are worth waiting for.
  • Incentivize Pre-orders: Offer special discounts, exclusive access, or additional benefits for customers who opt to pre-order out-of-stock items. This not only secures sales in advance but also helps in forecasting demand more accurately.
  • Automated Updates: Keep customers in the loop with automated updates about their order status, expected shipping dates, and any changes to the delivery timeline. This proactive communication can greatly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Managing excess inventory is equally crucial as it ties up capital and incurs storage costs. Here are a couple of ways to do it practically

  • Mystery Boxes: This strategy involves selling products at a discounted price without specifying the exact items in each box. It's an exciting way for customers to receive more value for their money while helping businesses clear out excess stock.
  • Flash Sales and Promotions: Temporarily reduce prices to clear excess inventory quickly. This tactic can be particularly effective when paired with targeted marketing campaigns to drive traffic and convert high volumes of sales in a short period.
  • Bundle Offers: Package slower-moving items with best-sellers. This not only helps in moving excess stock but also increases the average order value, improving overall sales metrics.

This is Part 1 of the blog post series of the complete Limited Supply Webinar.

Read the Part 2 of blog in the Limited Supply Webinar series.

Ready to manage your inventory
without ripping your hair out ?