The Role of Execution in Managing Product Availability

  • Nicole DeHoratius
  • Zeynep Ton
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR, volume 122)


Several surveys show that a significant number of customers leave retail stores because they cannot find the products for which they are looking (e.g. Emmelhainz et al., 1991; Andersen Consulting, 1996; Gruen et al., 2002; Kurt Salmon Associates, 2002). Most research in operations management focuses on two factors to explain suboptimal product availability—poor assortment and poor inventory planning. Our research with several retailers during the last few years highlights a third factor, poor execution, or the failure to carry-out an operational plan. We find that even with the application of algorithms to select the appropriate stocking quantity and appropriate store assortment, retail customers still may face unnecessary stockouts. For example, after auditing 50 products at ten different stores, management at a specialty retailer found that only 16% of the stockouts could be attributed to statistical stockouts (cited in Ton, 2002). Instead, 24% of the stockouts were due...


Inventory Level Retail Store Storage Area Inventory Planning Product Availability 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole DeHoratius
    • 1
  • Zeynep Ton
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Chicago, Graduate School of BusinessChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Business SchoolBostonUSA

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