Food rots while apparel goes out of style  

March 22, 2024
1 min read

Food rots while apparel goes out of style  - a simple difference that drives totally different inventory planning needs.

For planners who cut their teeth in apparel before joining food & beverage companies, the shift can be jarring.

The Advantages:

  • Relatively Stable Demand. People gotta eat! Aggregate F&B demand is more consistent with replenishment/subscription models rather than fickle consumer interest in new styles.
  • Shorter Lead Times. Perishability means supply chains are measured in day/weeks versus months/seasons.
  • Smaller Assortments. Typical F&B companies have dozens or maybe hundreds of SKUs. In apparel, color and sizing tends to drive a lot more complexity.

The Challenges:

  • Supply Planning Complexity. The supply-side of Food & Beverage has a lot of complexity and constraints that are hard to model in spreadsheets. We’ve met so many planners who struggle heroically with intricacies like ingredient-level MRP requirements, expiration dates, spoilage, and last-mile distribution needs.
  • Perishability. Short shelf lives mean the cost of getting it wrong is steep - excessive waste, stock-outs, and lost freshness.
  • Logistics Nuances. Load optimization, LTL shipments, and direct-to-consumer scenarios require tailored logistics planning.

Furthermore, the availability of specialized inventory tools for F&B is limited. Most solutions are generic rather than addressing the industry's unique needs.

Are you thinking about these issues as much as we are at Atomic? Reach out to us!



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