Inventory can be a killer to the bottom line for demand capture. Too much of the wrong stuff and you’ve a margin-crunching clearance catastrophe on your hands. Not enough of the right stuff and you’re missing out on valuable refills sales and cannibalising hard earned retail for space.

Sure, we can remedy part of the issue with a pre-book release but the reality is that our Retailer partners will often buy conservatively and estimates from sales teams can be unreliable. And when the stock does arrive and rips off the floor, we’re often left scrambling to keep up with demand.

Consider having the capacity to automatically open an in-season product for future delivery months that correspond to supply lead-times. Brandscope’s Demand Capture tool achieves exactly that. You can implement the setting for as many products as you want and, if demand outstrips supply, the system will automatically drop in a future bucket/s at size level to capture your Retail partner’s every whim.

The system then notifies your merchandising team that there’s orders for products that need replenishment, but within a timeline that that can successfully deliver.

“Our business is really expanding into new markets such as outdoor and leisure,” says Peter Forras, Olympic skier and founder of the performance high altitude brand, XTM. “We wanted to really stamp our mark in these new channels so aggressively experimented with new base and under garment products in merino and polypropylene but really had no idea as to market acceptance and consequent demand.

“We’d pre-booked but the issue was when the product landed in store and Retailers aggressively hit the refill button on the B2B. There was the option to send the guys back out on the road and collect backorders but then the supply plan had to be communicated back to the Retailer. It was just a messy process.

“The automated “demand capture” tool just does all this work for you in a seamless process right when the Retailer is looking for more stock… which is a dream. If they see it’s running low, the system opens up a new delivery bucket with an accurate future date which gives them the certainty and confidence to place additional orders when they’re in a committed frame of mind.

“All we need to do is bundle it all together, run the reports from the B2B and hit the button on a re-run to feed growing demand.

Even core lines that are typified by structured forecasting and re-supply programs can also fall victim to no-supply, and often at the most critical times.

“We sell products that really don’t change that much”, says Mitch Bert, Managing Director of Pure Fishing, distributor of leading fishing brands such as Penn, Abu Garcia and Berkley to over 700 independent retailers around Australia.

“We’ve got forecasting systems in place but there are times where an item slips through the cracks and our Retailers are left hanging, wondering when an item will be back in stock. The Demand Capture function is an automated process so activates when you need it to capture order when this occasionally happens.

“We can also customise the name of the future bucket with a specific MONTH (based on a manufacturing lead-time) or BACKORDER and add in comments guiding the Retailer (e.g. this product will be backordered and you will be contacted as when delivery can be confirmed.) Even though we have sophisticated processes in place to manage this type of thing it’s a powerful automated backup if something is missed”

In the sports industry, forecasting is a key requirement, especially with major retail accounts whose spasmodic order volumes can play havoc with inventory levels. The allowance to customise the future bucket name, awards Suppliers with a huge amount of flexibility when accompanied by an ordering descriptor.

“Managing the growth of Hoka One One was a monstrous challenge,” recalls Reflex Sports co-founder, Ian Thomas, who was tasked with launching one of the world’s fastest growing sporting brands into Australia. “The stock burn was through the roof and, despite pre-booking, we were constantly chasing our tail in-season.

“Introducing the Demand Capture tool and configuring it to offer a future bucket called FORECAST really helped us manage expectations. Below each automated bucket we had the option to place a small descriptor such as “Please place your forecast here for review to assist us with managing future inventory required. Please note these forecasts will not be treated as hard orders.”

“This combined process allowed us to capture confirmed orders but give the retailer an opportunity to provide estimations which we could use to plan future requirements. It was a win-win for both sides of the fence.

Demand Capture allows the flexibility and automation to better manage inventory requirements across a range of pre-book and refill scenarios. It’s a tool that is very easy to administer and offers a huge level of potential in capturing Retailer demand that would otherwise be lost in the madness of day to day business. The feature also reduces inventory risk which fuels business growth and greater confidence to take risks. It’s indeed a win-win.