By Matthew Deeter
From time to time, senior management has asked us to achieve more with less — more results with fewer people, less money, and less time. For example, DC managers have continually improved inbound and outbound order management capabilities. They've accomplished this, in many cases, by keeping headcount at or below the previous year's staffing levels. But now that the major improvements have been made for the year and the holiday season is in full swing, you must focus additional management time on operational issues from the four areas most responsible for change — vendors, carriers, merchants, and stores.
Over the past several years, most retailers developed scorecard systems to illustrate the performance of a vendor in terms of shipping orders that were complete and on time. But in most systems, there is a lack of appreciation of the importance each vendor's individual products have with the end customer. It is very important to understand each vendor's hottest product and its contribution to category sales and margin goals. If this product does not have a good fill rate, the scorecard may hide the fact that this vendor needs attention. It is better to understand this problem early in the holiday season, before you start receiving calls from your stores.