Number 1 Holiday Wish: More Demand Certainty

TopGrading Solutions, a recruitment organization specializing in supply chain planning and procurement, asked its network of supply chain individuals what they felt the top supply chain concern was for the 2010 holiday season. For many companies, holiday revenues represent up to 40% of their annual sales.

45% of respondents say that demand uncertainty is the top supply chain concern within their organization, almost three times the amount of any other option. Tied at 18% are inventory surplus and inventory shortage. 12% believe that lead times are the top holiday concern, while 7% say it’s "other."

"Bouncing back from some of the worst holiday seasons seen in years, companies are taking a more cautious approach when forecasting demand," says Jason Breault, managing director of TopGrading Solutions. "We are now dealing with a more frugal and experienced consumer and with unemployment still around 10%, consumer spending remains somewhat unpredictable,” he notes.

"We have seen our own client list grow based on the fact that a lot of companies got caught off guard by the recession because they did not have a demand planning process in place,” Breault adds. “They realize the impact this has to the bottom line and are putting teams together to be better prepared for the recovery. Although others seem somewhat split between inventory shortage versus surplus concerns, based on the results of our survey, executives are most concerned with inventory surplus, meaning cash is still a major concern."

Compared to last year, Cyber Monday sales were up 20% and although Black Friday sales remained flat, the highest number of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers came out since 2004.

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