Speed is often the key to success. Those who decide faster – based on data – have been proven to achieve better results. But … in industries like retail, planning ahead is meticulous. Does that fit together? Yes! A WSSI tool is the solution.
Decide faster, decide better!
In autumn 2020, right between two lockdowns, I marched into a department store to buy some simple sports equipment for the home office. Could I have done that online? Sure! But who likes getting dumbbells in the post? Besides, I wanted to support local retail.
The only problem was: there were no dumbbells in the department stores. No weights either, no exercise bikes, not even skipping ropes – sold out and no new stock. Either the (now insolvent) department stores had failed to anticipate the increasing demand, or the empty shelves were a conscious decision – in which case the alternative must have looked even worse.
A WSSI tool might have helped.
What does WSSI stand for?
WSSI stands for Weekly Sales, Stock and Intake and basically describes a weekly stock and planning analysis using modern software. WSSI tools are still largely unknown in Germany. This is different in Great Britain: Here it is a well-known and important tool, even for smaller and medium-sized retailers.
WSSI – simply explained
A WSSI tool uses sales data, sales forecasts and inventory forecasts to determine the Open-To-Buy (OTB) budget as well as free warehouse space and achieved margins on a weekly basis. It constantly calculates forecasts for operational planning from last year’s historical data, compares them with the current data, makes adjustments and finally generates a dashboard with all relevant key figures from which the merchandising team can monitor and control the current situation – every week.
In-season planning in real time
This is the strength of the WSSI. Thanks to largely automated processes, the effort required for in-season planning is significantly reduced. The strategic focus can then be placed on fast reaction times – a huge advantage when the meticulous planning of the pre-season has to be adapted to changing circumstances. In addition, WSSI also saves time in seasonal planning and creates free space, for example for trend analyses or the simulation of scenarios – which in turn improves in-season performance. This combination of data aggregation, forecasting and simulation allows in-season planning in real time.
Because plans change
Granted, good merchandise planners can certainly foresee that demand for home sports equipment will increase when all sports facilities close. But while customers are used to having any product in their hands in a matter of days, retailers around the world have had to learn to deal with unprecedented situations over the past year. A WSSI tool empowers them to react immediately to any change and make better decisions to keep shelves full and margins strong.
Merchandise financial planning and WSSI – Retail planning with bdg
Of course, a WSSI tool alone can generate a lot of added value – especially for companies that have so far mainly planned with Excel datasheets. But it is really exciting for growth-oriented retailers who are looking to scale up. A WSSI application can be part of a comprehensive retail planning solution such as the bdg | Retail Suite. Here, planning modules, for example for the entire merchandise financial planning, assortment planning and WSSI, can be combined and implemented as required. The connection of upstream systems is possible without any problems. And best of all: the modules of the bdg | Retail Suite can become part of a comprehensive, integrated corporate planning system in which, for example, finance and HR are also integrated with corresponding modules.