Nordstrom and a number of other retailers are starting to keep more inventory, by buying larger lots and holding some. The fact that retailers are publicizing this means that they are starting to recognize that inventory shortage is a substantial issue. With sources of supply bottlenecked, stuff can’t be moved to the US as quickly.
Does it make sense to place larger orders earlier? Devotees of the bullwhip effect will say that’s counterproductive. Perhaps, in the long run with perfect coordination with suppliers. But when you have near-disaster conditions in the supply chain for, say, clothing manufactured in Vietnam, and ocean carriers blanking just about every other sailing, you need to take some action. That may mean committing to larger purchases and saving some of it against future demand rather than trying to sell it all at once.
We’ll see if the policy works, and how quickly it damps out. Especially if the ocean supply chain begins to normalize. Inventory is expensive, and the expense is both highly visible and easily tracked, unlike the lost business due to shortages on the floor.
Published Dec. 7, 2021 Max GarlandNordstrom leverages pack and hold inventory to mitigate supply chain risk | Supply Chain Dive