Product Inventory - Using ABC Analysis to Improve Operations

There is an old rule that is still as relevant today as it has always been, and that is the 80/20 rule. This rule, when applied to your product inventory, says that 80% of you sales are from 20% of your inventory items. Know which items of the 20% are garnering the most sales can be crucial to growing your profits. That’s where ABC analysis can come in handy. ABC analysis within an inventory management software system is a practical report that can show you which items are most profitable. Here is how it’s typically broken down.

In an ABC analysis, inventory items are analyzed and ranked, based on a percentage of sales. Often, the software will give you the option of ranking your items based on either the “cost of goods sold” (COGS) during a chosen time frame (annual is the most popular), or else by the number of ‘hits’, which is the number of times the items have been sold.

When the analysis is done, items are typically ranked in descending order, using the following scale: A=80%, B=Next 15%, C=Next 4%, D=Next 1%, and X representing no sales. Many systems will even let you sort out specific product lines or items on which to perform the ABC analysis.

ABC Analysis can be extremely helpful for planning purposes, since it gives managers a clear picture of top performing items and can help solidify marketing plans, sales forecasts, purchasing plans, and more. By focusing on the 20% of the items that are responsible for 80% of your profits, you can create a smart plan to increase your profits down the line.

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