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Replenishment 101

Updated: Mar 7

What is replenishment

Replenishment planning is a crucial aspect of supply chain management that involves the systematic process of restocking products to meet customer demand while maintaining optimal inventory levels. This white paper explores the significance of replenishment planning, its key components, benefits, challenges, best practices, and a real life implementation in the food industry. 

From trade promotion management to optimization

The importance of replenishment planning

Customer Satisfaction: It ensures that customers receive products on time, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Cost Reduction: Effective replenishment planning can minimize carrying costs associated with excess inventory and reduce the risk of stockouts.

Revenue Generation: By aligning inventory levels with customer demand, businesses can capture more sales opportunities, increasing revenue.

Supply Chain Efficiency: It enhances supply chain efficiency by optimizing inventory turnover rates, reducing waste, and improving resource allocation.

The right technology

In order to optimize your replenishment process, and by extend your supply chain, you need to adopt technology. In the rapid changing world of today, companies cannot afford to lose time in their operations. With qualitative technology you can overcome this. Check out our digital ecosystem for planning tools for the latest updates.


Despite its benefits, replenishment planning comes with challenges:

  • Demand Volatility - Fluctuations in demand can be hard to predict accurately. A dedicated demand planner helps to control this. This function works as a tandem with the replenisher.

  • Lead Time Variability - Suppliers' lead times may vary, affecting order fulfillment.

  • Data Accuracy - Inaccurate data can lead to poor forecasting and ordering decisions. Hence the importance of technology in your company. By tracking and analyzing data, you can avoid major shortages or overstock.

  • Complexity - Managing numerous SKUs and suppliers can be complex and resource-intensive.

Best practices

To overcome these challenges and maximize the benefits of replenishment planning, businesses should adopt best practices, including:

  • Data Quality - Ensure data accuracy and cleanliness to improve forecasting accuracy.

  • Tactics - It starts with a good strategy but also continuous critizing this strategy in relation to the operations. 

  • Collaboration - Collaborate with suppliers to reduce lead time variability.

  • Technology Adoption - Utilize advanced software and tools to automate and optimize the replenishment process.

Case study

Company X had a need for a centralized inventory management to avoid shortages and overstock. It deals with food products so there is an additional shelf life challenge. Because of limited storage place, large stock levels were not possible. At the same time, the company has an annual growth of +10%, which means that extra stock is necessary to facilitate this.

We introduced a replenishment planner as key position between production and sales. The position is responsible for restocking the warehouses so shortages are avoided. This by closely collaborating with sales, in order to have a detailed overview of products who are growing significantly. This resulted in an immediate impact on service level reports, confirming the need to have someone following the stock levels closely.

Stock levels are important for every company as they can cost a lot. A replenisher looks closely to these numbers. We did the same for company X and this resulted in 15% less stock every day without impact on the service level. Key was the analysis done with sales and production in order to have a perfect puzzle in inventory. This saved the company thousands in holding costs and working capital. Moreover, By opening up space, the company can grow more without the need of heavy capex investments. 

Communication for both sales and operations is now centralized in one person resulting in a more streamlined process. Production changed into a pull based method where the replenisher gives the trigger for the quantity of production. This important turnaround was strategy based. The company is a sales focused organisation, this created the importance of someone who translates sales targets into operational excellence. This proves the importance of tactics in every part of the company. 


About the author

Tuur Luinstra is consultant in the Gent office.

Do you want to know more about Supply Chain Optimization, contact us.


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