Gift giving made easy: Ensure stocked shelves with inventory visibility.
Inventory visibility is essential for retailers to navigate the complexities of holiday gift giving and ensure a successful season. It’s also an important contributor to customer satisfaction and cost reduction.
For e-commerce brands, consumers and the rest of the supply chain need to know what’s in stock and what’s not. The ability to see inventory wherever it is in the supply chain will support smooth peak-season order fulfillment and ensure customers can rely on product availability when they press “Place order” on that special gift for a friend or family member.
Yet many retailers face challenges achieving accurate inventory visibility, including poor planning, uncertainty about demand and disconnected data. With these challenges and the customer in mind, Microsoft has expanded its Inventory Visibility Add-in, previously available solely for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, with the Inventory Visibility for Commerce feature.
The Microsoft Inventory Visibility Add-in (Inventory Visibility Service) provides an independent and highly scalable microservice that enables real-time on-hand inventory change postings and visibility tracking across all your data sources and channels.
This service allows you to manage global inventory by using functionality that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Gather real-time inventory data from all corners of your business by connecting your supply chain management or third-party logistics data sources to the Inventory Visibility Service. This includes order management systems, third-party enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, point of sale (POS) systems and warehouse management systems. With this centralized view of your inventory, you can easily track the latest status of your products, from on-hand to in-transit to returned. Query on-hand stock availability and shortages and obtain immediate responses by calling the Inventory Visibility Service directly.
- Avoid overselling by making real-time soft reservations in the Inventory Visibility Service.
- Better manage promised orders and customer expectations by providing accurate current or next-available dates, so that the omnichannel available-to-promise (ATP) feature can calculate expected order fulfillment dates.
The Inventory Visibility Service is highly extensible, and external systems can access the service through RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs). Inventory Visibility can also be integrated with Power Apps and Power BI to create customized dashboards.
Until now, retailers using both Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management (D365 SCM) and Commerce (D365 Commerce) have relied on asynchronous methods to update inventory changes between systems, which resulted in some inventory discrepancies leading to revenue loss or customer dissatisfaction. The new Inventory Visibility feature, which was enabled for public preview in September 2023 and made available in November 2023, now solves this problem by connecting key commerce-associated inventory changes to inventory visibility so commerce channel inventory changes are reflected in real time.
Here are important feature details of the new Inventory Visibility for Commerce:
- Provider: Supply Chain Management provides default integration settings and Commerce offers an Inventory Visibility provider.
- Inventory query: Users can query real-time inventory from Inventory Visibility using CSU-powered channels.
- Inventory reservation: Commerce users can post inventory reservations to Inventory Visibility when a customer order is created, along with update and revert reservations when orders are edited and canceled.
- Inventory adjustment: When creating cash-and-carry orders and fulfilling customer orders, commerce users can adjust inventory in Inventory Visibility.
- Inventory offset: When commerce customer orders are synchronized with Supply Chain Management to update inventory statuses and quantities, an automatic offset is triggered from Supply Chain Management to Inventory Visibility to offset inventory changes that were previously posted to Inventory Visibility.
Accurate inventory information is critical for any retailer running an omnichannel business. The Inventory Visibility Service for Commerce is a powerful tool in Dynamics 365 that enables seamless integration, expands data sources and captures real-time data changes.
Inventory Visibility software is a critical component of commerce and fulfillment and is one of the most important advances you can invest in today to improve your customer experience and grow your business.
If you're looking for a way to improve your inventory management and optimize your supply chain, the Inventory Visibility Service from Microsoft is a great option. Mazars can help you take a deeper look into your inventory visibility this holiday season.
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Alex Babinchak, Consultant
The information provided here is for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, legal advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other competent advisers.