Lose the Excess Inventory

Jim Klekamp

Senior Business Consultant

View From The Ridge: 56

May 13, 2016

What do inventory management and weight loss have in common? My wife is a manager of a local weight loss clinic in the Atlanta area. Over the years, I’ve realized there are quite a few similarities between losing weight and properly managing inventory.

With a wife working in the weight loss industry, you’d think that I would be at my ideal weight. Well… there are numerous dynamics that come into play when two people have been married over 25 years. That’s a different subject for another time.

Everyone seems to want a magic pill, silver bullet, or secret switch. Where is the shortcut? Believe me, I have looked all through our solution, and many others, and it isn’t there…and it’s not coming in a new version. The reality is, there are no shortcuts in either process. Both processes require the elimination of bad habits, as well as ongoing maintenance and self-correction if you deviate. Results are delivered gradually and steadily, but dramatic over time. This is why it’s so important to set a stake in the ground.

You must have a starting point to measure from and gauge progress toward your goal. For weight loss, the measurement is your scale or tape measure. Each time you step on that scale, you’ll instantly know how close you are to your goal.

However, the scale is not the only measurement of progress. Overall heath must be considered when losing weight. You will lose the weight on a starvation diet, but that will have negative consequences to your health- you won’t be able to maintain the weight loss.


Similar to weight and nutrition control, a plan for balancing your company’s goals regarding inventory and sales is an absolute necessity. Think about this; if you stop buying altogether, sure you will reduce inventory, but you’ll damage the health of your company and you won’t produce sustainable results. Even diligently working Demand Exceptions is similar to a quick step on the scale. You know where you stand today, but the result is what it is.

To reach real company health, discovering the cause of demand exceptions and taking steps to prevent them is the best course of action. For instance, meet with sales, store operation, merchandising or marketing to discover the impact they believe will occur on demand. New customers, spiffs, promotions, and supplier advertising can all impact demand and you can reflect that in your forecast to fulfill demand and minimize inventory excess.

Use analytics to keep you mindful of your overall goals. Blue Ridge Supply Chain Analytics gives preemptive awareness and instant feedback; you can measure inventory levels, service levels, excess inventory and forecast accuracy.


Your inventory goals can be achieved on your own, but it’s easier with a partner- someone to look over your shoulder and keep you accountable. Many lean on my wife’s company for support and guidance. They get questions that are out of the ordinary; for example, some people ask how to handle situations with a busy travel schedule or how to stay on track over the holidays.

At Blue Ridge, LifeLine is your partner for managing your inventory health. We provide regular contact to evaluate overall progress. Are you meeting your goals? If not, we can help understand which issues to focus on. When you aren’t quite sure what to do or how to handle unique situations, LifeLine is only a call or email away. Our team of Supply Chain experts can provide insight on how to utilize our products and services to best meet your business needs.

So, make a plan that considers your long-term health, stick to it and adapt to the conditions in your environment. Use your resources, inside and outside your company to help you achieve your goal.