Once the assortment time period (typically season) has begun, in-season planning takes over. The planner now uses the plan created in the pre-season planning process as the benchmark for successful in-season planning. To begin the in-season planning process, the planner reviews trends and ranks items or item/colors by relevant KPIs (such as sales, margin, turn, initial markup/IMU, and weeks of supply) compared against actual performance. The planner then reviews, and updates sales expectations based on trends and also applies statistical forecasts and promotional plans. Once the sales have been re-planned, an updated receipt plan is generated based on how SKUs are performing. Finally, the updated plan is approved, and reorders are proposed, reviewed, and approved for the creation of new or updated purchase orders.
The initial allocation of new items to the stores must also be considered:
- Is the original assortment strategy honored exactly?
- Or should changing business needs be taken into account?
If product is cross-docked, it may be challenging to have the agility to unpack, repack, and/or put away bulk products into a distribution center. If inventory is a challenge, it may be better to initially allocate smaller quantities to physical locations and hold back more inventory in the warehouse. This way, a retailer can then distribute products to the locations/channels that need them most and not have to initiate store transfers to balance stock.