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Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Direct Tech, Inc.

Return on Inventory

By Joe Palzkill

About Joe

Joe is vice president of sales and business development at Direct Tech, Inc., a company which helps catalog and e-commerce retailers drive profitability, increase demand and optimize inventory investment by providing best-in-class applications and services. Joe is a member of Direct Tech’s seasoned management team, which has more than 150 years experience with demand planning, inventory optimization and merchandise planning in the multichannel retail industry. For more than two decades, Direct Tech’s applications and services have enabled leading multichannel brands to grow their businesses.

Joe is a 28-year veteran of the direct merchandising industry with hands-on experience in marketing, merchandising, inventory management and business development at multichannel retail companies including Lands’ End, LifeSketch.com, Nordstrom.com and Duluth Trading Company. At Direct Tech, Joe uses his experience to help customers and prospects understand how to improve sales and profits through applying industry best practices in merchandise planning and inventory management systems and processes.
 

Retail Revelations

Melissa Campanelli
What Alibaba's Success Means for U.S. Retailers
Sep 22, 2014

Who would've thunk it. A company that sells barf bibs, Buddha-shaped pears, a portable fat-freezing machine and inflatable walking-on-water shoes...



Shipping Insights

Rob Martinez
FedEx Announces 2015 General Rate Increase
Sep 18, 2014

This is the first time FedEx has announced its Ground increase prior to UPS. In the past, UPS would set...



Retail Rants & Raves

Joe Keenan
Urban Outfitters Crosses the Line With 'Bloody' Kent State Sweatshirt
Sep 16, 2014

In case you haven't seen or heard the news yet, Urban Outfitters is embroiled in yet another controversy. The apparel...



Catalog Doctor

Susan J. McIntyre
Tips for Finding the Right Product Density for Your Catalog
Sep 11, 2014

Product density is quite a science. What's right for one brand is wrong for another. Here are some guidelines that...



Print-Plus

Stephen Lett
How Important is Average Order Size?
Sep 3, 2014

Catalog executives always seem to have a great deal of interest in their average order size. They become concerned when...



The Art of Delivering Style

Maria Haggerty
5 Ways Retailers Can Compete With Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery Model
Aug 12, 2014

Most small retailers lack the resources and store footprint to handle same-day shipping on their own. However, it's still possible...



Email Marketing Bites

Liz Ryan
The Email Hierarchy of Needs: Deliverability is the Foundation
Jun 18, 2014

If you're not getting the most of your email messaging, you might not be asking the right questions. How many...



Designed to Convert

Tim Ash
Local Optimization Drives Conversions, But Your Local Page Won’t
Jul 31, 2014

Local was already in play before the iPhone changed the online marketing game in 2007, but the mobile shift has...



Return on Intelligence

Jim Gilbert
LinkedIn Publishing Platform: User Review, Tips and Some Wishes for its Next Iteration, Part 3
Jul 23, 2014

This week in the third and final part of this series, I offer suggestions for how LinkedIn's publishing platform can...



Email Applied

Reggie  Brady
Subject Lines That Work
Jul 18, 2014

Standing out in the inbox isn't easy. A lot of promotional emails I receive have subject lines that aren't special....



ThinkAbout: Inspirational Verve for Your Product Line!

Andrea Syverson
Springboard From Your Brand Filter
Jun 26, 2014

One of the most important ways I strengthen my clients’ brands and product lines is by collaborating with their leaders...



B-to-B Insights

George Hague
2 Must-Have B-to-B Metrics
Apr 9, 2014

Smart CEOs know two essential B-to-B metrics to successfully grow their businesses: contribution per order (CPO) for new customers and...



How Product Profiling Increases Sales and Profits

An accepted best practice in inventory planning is to adhere to the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. For inventory planners, this is also often referred to as product profiling, or ABC profiling. This makes intuitive sense. It's natural to spend relatively more time in planning, analysis and management of the top-selling items, but what does it mean in financial terms?  Read More >>

Inventory Success Requires Systems, People and Process

 

Often, while working with Direct Tech's current and prospective customers, I'll hear the age-old question: "Can't the system just do that?" If only! On occasion, it really is that easy. Computer software is great for solving consistent, recurring tasks where the rules can be defined to yield repetitive answers. More often, however, the answer is "it depends." Merchandise and inventory planning is a combination of art and science. The science is programmable, but the art is a different

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The Importance of Seasonal Category Budgets

I recently participated in a strategic planning session with a major multichannel retailer's inventory planning professionals. The attendees represented various sales divisions of the company, and their combined expertise encompassed many years of inventory planning experience. Our top challenge: How to capture accurate sales data and effectively manage its impact on merchandise and inventory planning when providing a quality omnichannel customer experience?

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Good Plans, Great Reactions

An underappreciated component to inventory planning excellence is careful alignment of the planning calendar to the timing of marketing activities. Easy to say, tough to do, and here's why.  Read More >>

Inventory Planning Advice From Mike Tyson

With so many demands on your time, it's tough to break away and attend any function, but the NEMOA Spring Conference is simply one of the best events of the year. More than 500 catalog and internet retail professionals gather to network and learn from each other. It's worth attending.  Read More >>

Don't Become a Flat Squirrel

We were privileged to hear from two outstanding keynote speakers at Direct Tech's annual user conference last week in sunny, warm Orlando. (Please forgive my sigh; I'm back home in Wisconsin, where the current temperature is -10°.) One of them, Elaine Beaubien, an award-winning educator, entrepreneur, and business management and training coach, shared her observations on "innovating to survive" in a rapidly changing environment.  Read More >>

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Respect for Data Key to Inventory Planning

Until you have data audit processes in place to assure you have reliable information from which to plan, you can't trust the result. Building assortment plans, creating demand forecasts or making inventory decisions without first validating the accuracy of planning data is like building a house on a faulty foundation. You might get away with it for a short time, but one day it will come crashing down.  Read More >>

Are Your Bathrooms Clean?

While working at Lands’ End some years ago, I joined a tour of the company's facilities with a visiting investment analyst. At tour's end, the analyst said, "You may have wondered why I stopped at every bathroom along the way." Actually, I hadn't even noticed until he brought it up. He continued: "It's part of the analysis. In my experience, you can pretty much judge the quality of a company by the cleanliness of their bathrooms." His point was that well-run companies pay attention to

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HQ Content, Context and Field Truth in the Realm of Inventory Planning

I attended Learning 2013 earlier this month, hoping to gain insights on how we at Direct Tech can provide top-notch training to our software users. It was an impressive event with more than 170 sessions, a keynote speech by Hillary Clinton, interviews with thought leaders, and unique insights from the likes of Jane Pauley and George Takei. I came away from the conference with many pages of notes, but my most memorable "learning" came from someone who didn't speak a word: U.S. General Colin

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Safety Stock vs. Safety Time

Forecasted demand is always wrong, and not every supplier delivers on time.

I was reminded of these widely accepted truths of inventory planning while working with a prospective Direct Tech customer in Long Island a couple weeks ago.  The company's head of logistics was probing the capabilities of our tools, and we got into a 20-minute discussion on Safety Stock versus Safety Time.

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‘If it Barks, it’s a Dog’: A Lesson Learned in Inventory Planning

One of the enduring lessons I learned as a new inventory planner at Lands’ End in the early 1980s was "if it barks, it's a dog." Lands’ End was a smaller company then (less than $50 million in sales), and cash flow and inventory planning were monitored very closely. Most of its products were private label, with at least 12 months of product development invested in them. There was a lot of emotional attachment to the products, from both the merchants and the inventory

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Inventory Planning in an Omnichannel Environment

Merchandise and inventory planning for catalog retailers used to be a thorough, highly detailed process from start to finish. The goal, of course, was to establish the best possible product assortment and inventory plan to optimize the sales and profits from the catalog mailing. E-commerce has changed all that.  Read More >>

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5 Tips to Help Your Business Manage System Process Changes

In today's dynamic retail environment, however, the ability to embrace rapid process change is more important than ever. Merchandise and inventory planners must adapt quickly to system upgrades, evolving customer demands and multichannel marketing initiatives almost as they happen. It's exciting, but also quite daunting. Here are a few best practice tips we've identified from our experience at Direct Tech to help your business address these inevitable process changes:

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Learning at the Speed of Change

Our featured speaker at the 2012 Direct Tech Users Conference, Dr. Conrad Gottfredson, who is the chief learning strategist at global performance support solutions provider Ontuitive, had a profound message for anyone seeking to optimize their inventory planning: "Learn at the speed of change. Your survival depends on it."  Read More >>

Observations From NRF

Retailers of all types — brick-and-mortar, internet, catalog and multichannel variations of the three — are facing the same inventory challenges, yet still view their issues from the bias of their primary channel. I was reminded of this while attending the recent National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention. Three observations that the Direct Tech contingent brought back from NRF seem to support this view: 

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