Beyond ABC: A High Impact Approach to Forecasting, Planning, and Inventory Management for High-mix Product Categories

Geoffrey Fry

Vice President, Global Supply Chain at Cree Lighting

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If you are managing product families that have some products with steady demand, some with sporadic or infrequent demand, and some with one-time shots or customer-specific demand, then the standard ABC categorization of SKUs will lead you astray. How can you focus your forecasting, demand planning, and inventory management efforts for the greatest impact, when you are dealing with thousands of SKUs that have a wide variety of demand patterns? Learn one practitioner’s approach that has been applied in both distribution and manufacturing environments.

Key Takeaways:

  • Think beyond the basic ABC method of classifying SKUs

  • Select your classification scheme based on your primary goals and critical attributes

  • Ensure the whole enterprise is aligned with playbooks that contain a game plan for each group of SKUs

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