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Are Dynamic and Real-Time Inventory Visibility Different?

This is an archived post from OrderDynamics, now Tecsys retail division.
Are Dynamic and Real-Time Inventory Visibility Different? Yes, dynamic and real-time inventory visibility are different concepts. In earlier posts, we have described both notions. However, how do they stack up and differ from one another?

What is Real-Time Inventory Visibility (RTIV)?

RTIV is exactly as it reads. A robust order management system (OMS) will tie into all systems that touch retail inventory. This includes the warehouse management system (WMS), in-store RFID solution, POS (point of sale system), ERP system (enterprise resource planning), and any other technology a retailer has for inventory tracking. But, it goes beyond that.  A good OMS will monitor systems that touch retail inventory. This includes all incoming and inbound merchandise. That means transport trucks with pallets. It includes inbound shipping containers with goods. Incoming stock might also include returned items in good condition. After all, there is no reason to throw away or discount returned items in good condition. If it is in good condition, the system can re-inventory it right away. In many cases, the retailer can even resell it at full price. Finally, the OMS also tracks POS sales, m-commerce, voice-commerce, e-commerce, marketplace and social commerce goods ordered. All these done in real-time or near real-time. Combining these moving parts gives the system a real-time view of all goods. This for all of a retailer's online ordering sites. Yes, you might be tempted to call this a dynamic system. But dynamic inventory visibility is a different beast altogether.  

Read More: Retailers Need Ecommerce and Dynamic Inventory Visibility

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What is Dynamic Inventory Visibility (DIV)?

Dynamic stock visibility includes the clever use of inventory pooling. In essence, it lets retail show consumers different views of inventory, depending on certain attributes. The easiest attribute example is geography. Dynamic inventory visibility lets a retailer pool their merchandise. In our case, the retailer creates a high margin pool and low margin pool of products. Doing this lets the retailer show only high margin products to shoppers outside certain low-cost delivery zones, for example. It means a retailer can maintain a presence online in areas where they have no stores. But, they can do this while only fulfilling orders that are profitable. This is done to meet customer demand outside physical store areas. For cases with DIV there is enough margin to cover the long distance shipments. Although this is a great example, DIV isn’t just for margin protection and enhancement. Other uses for DIV include: Channel partner alignment by territories Restricting Goods by regions Unique Products by region (ie: 120v vs 240v) Labeling compliance Service coverage regions (ie: cellular) When assessing how useful DIV can be to your retail operation, also think about whether your vendor offers nested inventory pools. As your needs become more complex, you want to know that your OMS is ready to support you.

Dynamic and Real-Time Inventory Visibility 

There are two important points about inventory visibility that retailers need, today. You might have one or the other, but the right order management system gives you both. Dynamic and real-time inventory visibility are two must-have capabilities. One gives customers an accurate view of stock at different retail locations, in real-time. It influences and drives foot traffic to your stores. The other gives you flexibility. Here, retailers get the flexibility to show different digital customer groups the inventory they can buy. Dynamic inventory visibility is important to help your retail chain capture profitable sales. These are sales you might have taken as a margin loss which could be worse than just losing the sale. Between dynamic and real-time inventory visibility, you don’t need one OR the other. You need both!   Author: Charles Dimov is the VP of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 21+ years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, Director Sales and Category Management for ecommerce and channel goods. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.
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