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Oh, the pains of year-end planning and budgeting for the coming year! Fresh in the minds of every marketer, so it’s important to remember the value of technology as it relates to supporting the management and planning of marketing. This is especially true for warehouse and distribution. We often overlook these valuable insights, but they can dramatically improve the ease of planning and budgeting.

Companies that align inventory technologies typically experience improved buying processes through the automated management of low inventory thresholds and the elimination of waste through accurate use knowledge. Campaigns can be reverse-engineered with these tools, allowing for improved planning processes based on the best combination of inventoried elements and on-demand production strategies. These inventory thresholds are set to ensure that buyers have time to re-order without incurring rush charges, and to avoid running out of inventory before it can be restocked.

More importantly, leveraging inventory management systems that provide real-time reporting equips marketers with the comprehensive data that can help to deliver key insights such as usage and waste, as well as forecasting information including demand, priority, and campaign process cycles. Having transparency into the accuracy of certain marketing tactics and collateral elements can enable you to more precisely coordinate planning efforts throughout the year. Tracking inventory demand monthly, seasonally, and annually allows savvy marketers to leverage the reported counts for forecasting marketing spend with precision. The more accurate the information received, the less stress during budget time!

For example, access to product or campaign usage reports can provide data insights that translate into actionable trends on spend across the organization. Meanwhile, accurate demand statistics for a costly inventory product can provide a baseline for re-stocking costs and also pinpoint when they may hit throughout the year. In addition to ensuring that your warehousing partner provides reports with key insights, it is important that the report is designed to your specific needs. Many reports will include valuable insights, but they might be too cumbersome to connect to other tracking, reporting, and analysis practices that occur within your organization. It is therefore critical to align yourself with a partner that will collaborate with you to build a custom reporting structure with integration in mind.

2017 is rapidly coming to a close, and many businesses are caught up in the bustle of closing out the year. That said; while the frustration of planning is fresh consider a better approach for inventory management in the coming year.