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Netstock’s inventory management trends for 2024

Adapt to the evolving landscape of inventory management in 2024. From AI to market dynamics, explore the trends shaping inventory management.

This year will be vital for businesses to reassess their inventory management strategy, enhance collaboration, and leverage advanced technologies to navigate the intricate tapestry of inventory management.

1 Looking back at 2023

The similarities between this year’s and last year’s trends underscore a continuum of strategic evolution in inventory management software and processes. SMBs are adapting to ongoing challenges and building on established foundations to optimize business operations for resilience and efficiency in the face of evolving market dynamics.

Three similarities to note:

Using AI in inventory management
A common trend these past two years is the acknowledgment of the dual nature of AI – as a tool that enhances capabilities but also poses risks that need to be addressed through education, training, and vigilant cybersecurity measures.

Investing in inventory management software
Both years underscore the importance of concrete examples of success stories and the need to evaluate software based on its contribution to revenue generation and cost savings.

A shift in buyer behavior
Both years highlight a departure from the free-spending habits of businesses of the past decade, emphasizing a cautious and deliberate approach to investments.

2 What to expect in 2024…

Netstock experts provide valuable insights into what you can anticipate in 2024

#1 A change in spending habits

Over the past few years, businesses have become more cautious with spending habits and tightened their purse strings. The days of spending money without a second thought seem to be behind us.

We can blame it on the changing economic landscape. Over the past decade, businesses have had access to free money from banking institutions to grow their businesses. Fast forward a couple of years, and today, with rising interest rates and inflation, businesses have to be more conservative and thoughtful in their spending.

“We’re going back to the basics of how business should be done – making every penny count. The days of wild spending are over, and businesses are going back to a more sensible and thoughtful approach to investing,” says Eric Chicoine, VP of Global Sales.

An economic environment with a high cost of capital means that holding excess inventory of slow-moving and low-value products is even more costly than it used to be. In such an environment, the need for sophisticated inventory management capabilities grows exponentially.

“Businesses will need to be more sophisticated in striking the right balance between the desire to secure product availability vs. the cost of carrying excess inventory. CFOs main focus should be to facilitate smart decisions through software tools and ongoing review of inventory policy effectiveness,” continues Paul Allerhand, CFO.

What is Netstock doing?
Netstock takes a customer-centric approach, dedicated to delivering substantial value tailored to your specific needs. Rather than simply showcasing our commitment, our primary focus lies in comprehending your unique position in the inventory management journey. Much like peeling back layers of an onion, we aim to uncover and support your current inventory maturity level and planning journey.

#2 Utilizing AI in Learning & Development

Demand planners will need to focus on the big picture and how changes to inventory policies affect real-world operations.

“Understanding the knowledge around inventory management will no longer be enough. Instead, the emphasis must be on applying the knowledge to improve real-world operations. This will be the real skill-set needed,” mentions Judith Zietsman, Global Learning & Development Manager.
  • Utilizing AI: The most significant trend in 2024 is to use AI to point users to the information they need, when they need it, in the format they prefer. This reduces time, effort, and frustration about not having the answer readily available.
  • Scalable, personalized training: Another trend to note is automatically assigning users the training they need to see results. This will be role-based, level-based, and skills-based.

What is Netstock doing?
By obtaining the Netstock Inventory Management Concepts Certification, you’ll stay up-to-date with inventory management trends and further develop your expertise. The certification is designed to equip you with inventory management knowledge and concepts so you become an asset to your business and prove your expertise in the market.

#3 Mitigating security risks and cyberattacks

AI will positively and negatively affect the security industry in 2024. It will improve the efficiency of security teams and help you analyze large volumes of logs and other data for quicker responses, which may help prevent the risk of cyberattacks. However, AI not only helps security teams to be more efficient and effective but also aids adversaries to be more effective. This means that while AI enhances the capabilities of security professionals, it also poses a risk as malicious actors can leverage AI for more sophisticated cyber attacks.

“The sophistication of cyberattacks will continue to increase with the boom of AI, as it facilitates social engineering and phishing attempts by providing more realistic and believable content, making it more difficult for people to avoid falling victim,” explains Yolande Gething, IT Security and Risk Manager.

Human beings remain the weakest link in supply chain security, and human error is one of the prevalent ways businesses are compromised, leading to supply chain disruption. It’s essential to evolve the education and training of your employees as threats evolve to include sophisticated technology like AI.

What is Netstock doing?
Netstock continues to improve security controls and overall security posture to ensure we provide you with comprehensive security assurance. Our ISO 27001 certification ensures that we have identified security controls, policies, and procedures for the protection of your personal data and customer inventory data.

#4 Digital twinning and real-time data

The global technology landscape is constantly evolving, where today’s new technologies quickly mature and integrate seamlessly into various aspects of our lives and businesses. One such technology is digital twinning, an advanced technology that refers to the digital or virtual replication of a physical object, process, or system. It enables businesses to make accurate, informed, and predictive decisions.

“With this virtual representation(digital twins), organizations can simulate “what if” scenarios to gauge how their business decisions might pan out in the future. Inventory management is one such industry where digital twin technology will improve processes and transform operations, says Spencer James, Vice President of Technology.

For digital twinning to be most effective, real-time data input is key. The advancement of IoT devices, for example, has seen more businesses able to monitor their supply chains in near real-time as the data from sensors and IoT devices keeps the virtual model updated with the current state of the physical object or system.

What is Netstock doing?
By tracking industry trends, we’ll enhance your inventory management experience with the transformational power of AI. In 2023, we embraced customer feedback, implementing enhancements that directly addressed evolving needs. Our dedicated team of seasoned experts fosters a collaborative environment, encouraging experimentation and continuous learning. This commitment is evident in robust processes that swiftly address challenges, showcasing our dedication to empowering both our team and you—our valued customers.

#5 Using data to predict future outcomes

At the heart of AI is the ability to process vast amounts of data and identify complex patterns. Once these patterns are identified, an algorithm can be implemented to monitor your data. For certain conditions to be met and when they are, the system can either recommend or even take specific actions.

One of the biggest challenges with any inventory management system is your output will only ever be as good as the quality of data you put into it. As the adage goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Planning on bad data will never provide optimal results.

“With that, I see an opportunity for AI to be used as an intermediary between the ERP and the inventory management system to either provide alerts of data that should be cleansed or even do some of the clean-up automatically. This would be both a huge time saver and facilitate better downstream results,” says Ryan Bavery, Vice President Product Management.

What is Netstock doing?
Netstock is committed to bringing complex supply chain concepts in an easy-to-use solution to small and medium sized businesses. The release of Pivot Forecasting® helps businesses forecast by product, customer, location, or any dimension, with the ability to forecast top-down, bottom-up, and middle-out. The Opportunity Engine™ is your ultimate digital assistant, designed to analyze all inventory data to quickly anticipate potential problems and provide recommendations in real-time, enabling you to respond and rectify issues before they become a problem.

#6 Increased collaboration between departments

As uncertainties in global markets persist, there is a growing acknowledgment that a siloed approach among different business functions is no longer tenable. Supply chain disruptions, which can manifest as delays in production, transportation bottlenecks, or fluctuations in demand, necessitate a more collaborative and coordinated effort among business units.

In 2024, the impact of supply chain disruptions is likely to lead to increased coordination between marketing teams, inventory managers, and planners. The need for real-time information sharing, proactive decision-making, and a holistic understanding of the entire value chain drives this collaboration.

The key trends and changes that cross-functional teams will experience may include:

  • Real-time collaboration and communication
  • Data-driven decision-making
  • Agile marketing strategies
  • Enhanced supply chain visibility
  • Collaborative forecasting
“The increased frequency and severity of supply chain disruptions will compel teams to work more collaboratively, leveraging data, technology, and agile strategies to navigate challenges and optimize overall business performance,” says Jefferson Barr, CMO.

What is Netstock doing?
Marketing campaigns are now recognized as valuable sources of data and insights that can significantly contribute to supply chain planning accuracy. At Netstock, customer behavior, preferences, and responses to marketing initiatives are crucial indicators for anticipating and forecasting demand patterns.

3 Conclusion

Businesses can stay ahead by adapting spending habits, embracing AI in learning, prioritizing security, harnessing real-time data, utilizing predictive analysis, and fostering cross-functional collaboration.

What can you do today to embrace these trends?

  • Adapt business spending habits: Balance product availability with the cost of excess inventory.
  • AI in learning: Obtain Netstock’s Inventory Management Concepts Certification for real-world application
  • Prioritize security: Invest in continuous education and collaborate with security-focused providers
  • Data improvement: Maintain quality data for optimal AI-driven outcomes
  • Collaboration: Break down silos, foster cross-functional collaboration for agile business performance

By following these steps, you can actively participate in the transformative journey, empowered by Netstock’s commitment to staying at the forefront of industry trends.

Ready to transform your approach to inventory management? Embrace the trends shaping 2024 and propel your business toward success!

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