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Distribution network and inventory optimization for retail

The challenge

Build a more agile supply chain

Retail supply chain managers face numerous challenges. Complex supply chain networks. Increasing commodity and energy costs. Volatile consumer demand. Changing consumer shopping behavior across channels, resulting in new business models. Separate yet overlapping distribution networks. And duplicate inventories for a single retailer. The distribution network and inventory optimization solution for retail from IBM can provide more robust decision-making insights through applications and methods to address these challenges.


The solution

Make informed decisions for the best impact

Smarter retailers are serving customers as a single brand—regardless of channel, touchpoint or device. But it's important to extend this strategy beyond the shopping experience, into cross-channel alignment of supply and demand. We can help you reevaluate your supply chain design and distribution planning from a strategic perspective, using analytics to provide insight into the best strategies for balancing cost, flexibility and service levels.

Using an instrumented approach, we can help you collect the data you need to answer vital strategic questions. How many distribution centers do you need and where should they be located? How are goods flowing through them? How much inventory is optimally needed at each location? How can you flex capacity and routing to support variations in demand, while reducing inventory and minimizing costs?

We can help you evaluate different replenishment and allocation strategies, merchandise flow paths and transportation plans to help improve logistics costs and reduce inventory levels. Discover how to align your supply chain infrastructure—distribution centers, transportation assets and service provider contracts—to develop an interconnected system that can reduce your fixed supply chain costs. Gain the intelligence you need to make the right decisions about changes to your processes. Examine the impact that specific changes might have on costs, budget and inventory levels. Compare multiple "what-if" scenarios. Find hidden drivers—such as forecasting errors, lead times and lot size—so you can prioritize improvement opportunities based on the overall inventory impact.


The benefits

Optimize your distribution network

We can help you develop a clearly-defined vision and strategy for an optimized distribution network. We can help you:


The specifics

Take advantage of advanced analytics

Our portfolio of analytical decision support software and services capabilities includes: