Follow us on
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,, 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.

ThinkAbout: Inspirational Verve for Your Product Line!

Andrea Syverson
What's Waiting to Be ‘Just Born' in Your Production Line?
Apr 17, 2014

What holiday best represents your brand? How might the successes from that season be a springboard for others? What whimsical...

Retail Revelations

Melissa Campanelli
’Tis the Season for Experienced Retail Sales Associates
Nov 15, 2013

Many retailers are preparing for the busy holiday shopping days ahead by making sure their websites are working properly, their...

Catalog Doctor

Susan J. McIntyre
Why Catalogs Aren't a Bunch of Ads Stapled Together
Apr 11, 2014

PATIENT: "Doc, our new owners want to change the catalog so it's more like a series of ads — aspirational, exciting,...

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...

The Art of Delivering Style

Maria Haggerty
3 Ways Retailers Can Avoid Warehouse Scalability Problems
Apr 2, 2014

Although growing quickly may seem like the ideal scenario, it can cause operational issues for retailers who are ill equipped...

Return on Intelligence

Jim Gilbert
2 Simple Ways to Become a Social Media Thought Leader and Build Your Following
Mar 18, 2014

Today I begin a new series about social media marketing. The goal is to help you become more adept at...

Designed to Convert

Tim Ash
Are Smartphones Bad at Conversions?
Mar 12, 2014

Tablets are winning. At least that's what it looks like if you've been keeping score. Adobe and Monetate generally agree...

Shipping Insights

Rob Martinez
2014-2015 Conference Calendar for Supply Chain, Distribution, Postal, Specialized Industry and More
Mar 4, 2014

The value of attending conferences is significant: learn from a combination of expert and peer-led presentations on trends and strategies...


Stephen Lett
Actions to Take (or Not Take) When Response Rates Decline
Feb 19, 2014

Catalog response rates have been flat or trending down the past few years … or so it seems. The web...

Retail Rants & Raves

Joe Keenan
Tips for Customizing the Online Shopping Experience
Nov 8, 2013

In an effort to give you a sneak peek into the upcoming Retail Online Integration webinar, One Size Does NOT...

Email Applied

Reggie  Brady
Taking Advantage of Events, Not Just the Big Holidays
Sep 16, 2013

Most marketers develop an editorial and promotional master calendar to help organize their upcoming email schedule. You want to have...

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 >>

Companies Mentioned:


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

... 

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

... 

Companies Mentioned:

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.


‘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

... 

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 >>


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:


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: 



The New Reality of Inventory Management

For 30 years I've advocated for more detail in the planning process. Now, however, I believe the best response to this overwhelming new reality is "less." Less data, less complexity, less time planning insignificant details. It's time to focus on the right planning, to free up your time and brain so you can make sound decisions that affect sales, profits and cash flow.   Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:


How to Be an Inventory Planning ‘Leader’ Company

Retailers are being asked to move more products, through more channels, in more countries than ever before. Under this new paradigm, the retailers who espouse supply chain technology are simply far better positioned for positive growth.  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

4 Multichannel Inventory Planning Best Practices

It seems every retailer I've spoken with recently is scrambling to gain control of their inventory planning, regardless of channel. It's not just the cross-channel marketers fighting it; even pure-play internet retailers are struggling to support their "minichannels" — search engine optimization, search engine marketing, email marketing, Amazon stores and more.  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:


How to Manage Nonproductive Inventory, Part 2

Left unaddressed, nonproductive inventory can be a major financial drag on your business. But you can reduce its negative impact and even create some positive outcomes by following the simple guidelines laid out here.  Read More >>