Inventory Insights 4: Tackle Supply-Chain Challenges

Brought to you by… VoiceComm

With retailers of all stripes facing supply-chain challenges caused by a wide number of factors, many can’t get the products they need into their stores.

Supply-chain issues have for years been preventing the end consumer from getting their hands on the products they want, and this issue isn’t going away any time soon. A 2023 retail trends report from PwC stated, Product shortages and delivery delays aren’t occurring as often as a year ago. But they’re still commonplace, according to consumers. The more hurdles consumers encounter when getting the products they want into their hands, the more likely they are to seek alternatives. More than a third (34%) of Canadian consumers say they frequently respond to these disruptions by shopping at multiple retailers. A similar number (32%) buy retailers’ store brands as a substitute.”

This negative impact is even more true of telecom and electronics inventory, which have the added challenge of being affected by the global chip shortage.

You might order 10 phones, but only get allocated five,” said Ryan Ori, a former Project Manager at iQmetrix.​“It becomes very hard to meet customer expectations of getting the phone they want at that moment.”

Supply-chain challenges are also compounded by staff shortages that all retailers are seeing, telecom stores being no exception.

Justin Drage, Vice President of Partner Management at iQmetrix and former Chief Growth Officer at VoiceComm, a vendor inventory services provider and iQmetrix integrated partner, said,​“When the supply chain is fractured the way it is right now and we have shipments that are getting stuck in a port or they’re not arriving on time, carriers in the United States just aren’t getting product they need. Even when they do arrive there’s not enough personnel to be able to handle the inbound receiving or the outbound shipping.”

Smart Inventory Ordering

Despite these challenges, there are ways to mitigate their impact on your business. The PwC report added, This [supply-chain crunch] threatens established relationships between brands and their customers. But it also creates opportunities … we already see many retailers and consumer goods companies reimagining their supplier and distribution networks.”

With the reporting and analytics functions built into advanced inventory management solutions, carriers can make smarter decisions about which items to order, as well as optimal in-stock levels and replenishment schedules. Relying on data such as historical sales and analysis of past promotions’ impact helps carriers avoid the twin perils of overstocking and understocking.

Jared Kennedy, Product Manager at iQmetrix, said,​“The three inventory reports that have proven to be most integral to operations for our clients are the Inventory Listing Report, Product Tracking Report, and Inventory Availability Summary Report.”

Using data that everyone agrees on helps carriers avoid many of the most common inventory challenges. Even the smartest carriers can get caught up in the anticipation generated by a hot new phone launch or product fad, leading to over-ordering of items that only have transient appeal. Conversely, careful analysis of past product launches can help wireless carriers stock enough accessories, such as cases and earbuds, to meet customer demand. Inventory management data allows carriers to order enough for their entire chain, and to allocate more of this inventory to the locations that are likely to sell the most phones and products.

Added to this, working with expert partners can also help, especially when it comes to distributors of inventory that retailers don’t carry in-store, such as a wide range of accessories and wireless-adjacent products. Julie Kline, Vice President and General Manager of vendor inventory services (VIS) provider VoiceComm, explained, Carriers can leverage powerful analytics from iQmetrix and expert, collaborative planning with a strong distribution partner like VoiceComm to optimize their assortment and inventory levels. Together we can overcome market disruptions.”

Using VIS and dropship solutions can also help with supply-chain challenges, so check out Inventory Insights editions #2 and #3 for more tips.

This edition of Inventory Insights was brought to you by…


VoiceComm is the premier mobile accessory distributor for the North American market. Its diverse, high profile product portfolio coupled with its commitment to serve has allowed VoiceComm to quickly become the go-to destination for wireless accessories in the market. With a focus on what’s important for wireless retail and related channels, the distributor aims to inspire through customization, in order to develop the programs and resources businesses need to succeed.

Two of VoiceComm’s most popular programs, Dropship and Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), are integrated services produced in partnership with iQmetrix. VoiceComm has been a premier integrated partner with iQmetrix since 2014 and has developed a suite of customized tools and services to enhance your experience. Each program is designed to significantly impact the health of your business for the better!

For more information, go to the VoiceComm partner page.