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When we reflect on the impact of COVID on business, there are a few key themes that tend to crop up time and again. Risk management, the importance of collaboration, and agility – or the ability to pivot quickly in a crisis – are all areas that I’ve discussed on pretty much every podcast, webinar or event that I’ve been a part of over the last 18 months. And businesses that have embraced these core areas are the ones that have, not just survived, but thrived, during and post-pandemic.

I love to hear about the brands that have mastered that combination successfully, and I know you do to. Because if us supply chain professionals are anything, it’s passionate and committed. We’re hungry for that learning, we want to soak up all the insights we can, and apply them to our own businesses.

And that’s why the launch of Right Sized Inventory’s (RSI) new solution really stood out to me as a story we can all take a lot from.

RSI’s technology is the most advanced and comprehensive predictive analytics inventory optimization tool on the market. Their solution simulates real-world supply chain environments to help their clients understand, analyze, manage, and optimize their inventory.

But when the pandemic hit, supply chain professionals were overwhelmed – extra workload, additional responsibility, staff shortages, increased customer demand, delays, disruption… we all know that the list goes on and on. And in order to cope, people had to prioritize. Certain things you push down the list, certain things you adapt or take shortcuts… some things get cut out completely. And, although that approach can help you stay afloat in the short term, it can certainly introduce major risk and expose you and your business to bigger issues down the line.

Early on in the crisis, RSI were having these conversations with their clients. They listened carefully to the challenges, heard these stories of juggling workloads and de-prioritization, identified the recurring issues, and it didn’t take long before they realized that inventory – specifically, being less stringent and raising inventory levels slightly above what’s needed to meet demand – was a key area of risk for their clients. Businesses were leaning towards this approach to inventory because they felt it was the path of least resistance in minimizing workload, but RSI knew only too well that it really isn’t the best path long term.

So RSI developed a new service called Inventory-Optimization-as-a-Service (IOaaS). Instead of the, already overloaded, client performing – or indeed not performing! – inventory simulations with their software, RSI do it all on their behalf. The client simply provides the relevant data and RSI, utilizing all of their years of expertise, perform the necessary simulations and give an easy to use, actionable report back to the client so they can quickly and effectively achieve, and maintain, optimal inventory. It prevents time-poor clients from having to compromise and so deliver suboptimal results – and it’s gone down a storm. Because, of course, if time and manpower is short, and you can get the experts to tackle this key part of the puzzle at a fraction of the cost of employing someone in-house, why wouldn’t you? It’s a complete no-brainer.

And what RSI have done is actually super smart. Because they developed a solution that brought optimal value and efficiency to their customers, but that also helped their own business to pivot in a time of crisis. RSI have said themselves, they never intended to be a service company. But through paying close attention to their clients challenges, they were shrewd enough to interpret how that risk extended to their own business. RSI anticipated how their every-day solution could easily be pushed down the priority list of these overworked supply chainers and they didn’t wait – they took action.

This is the kind of story that just excites and inspires me so much. The collaboration at play here, the smart innovation and that much talked about agility is incredible. It’s just goes to show that if you’re committed to your clients, passionate about what you do and genuinely dynamic in your approach, you can create solutions that lift your clients up, that lift your business up – and that continues to deliver value all the way down the supply chain.

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