COVID-19 has shaped and affected every sector of business. When it comes to retail, panic buying has placed an enormous strain on supply chains and turned inventory management upside down.
For many suppliers, what was once a week of supply turned into a month of supply overnight. Some are racing to ship as much as they can in order to keep pace with at least a portion of current demand.
So, what does all this mean for Walmart’s On-Time, In-Full Mandate (OTIF)?
It’s clear that Walmart understands the position suppliers are in, and they have been very gracious in how they approach OTIF. For the months of March, April, and May, they removed fines, and we would not be surprised if this continues for June and beyond.
That being said, it’s still crucial to manage your inventory and supply chain efficiently. Here are our top tips for staying on track during the pandemic.
- Be transparent. Work closely with your retail partners to come up with solutions that will benefit both the merchant and supplier.
- Check your forecast frequently. Change is happening fast in the age of COVID-19, and retailers are tweaking the event forecast often.
- Use the right tools to plan for increased demand. Walmart Supply Plan on Retail Link® is a useful tool that provides suppliers with a 13-week projection of their orders from the retailer.
- Request an updated PO for the amount you are able to fill. Make sure you aren’t sending partial Purchase Orders but invoicing Walmart the full PO amount.
- Keep track of your OTIF scores. If you can’t keep up, make sure you are canceling PO lines using the correct reason codes to avoid OTIF accountability.
While everyone has been impacted differently in this crisis, we need to remember that we are ALL being affected. Work with your retail partners openly to come up with solutions that will benefit both the merchant and supplier. While this means you’ll likely have a few tough conversations, it can also be an opportunity to form a true partnership with your merchant team and come out on the other side of this crisis with a stronger relationship and potential for upside.
Still have questions about OTIF? Reach out to our team here.