Taking stock of inventory management

One of the questions that comes up from both first-time authors and seasoned veterans is: How does OSV manage inventory? The answer is: Very carefully!

Jill AdamsonJill Adamson, Marketing Director, Books, has 25 years of experience managing the entire inventory of Our Sunday Visitor — which at the moment amounts to about 1,800 products. She shared with me some of the key things authors need to know about the inventory of their book.

PK: How do you decide how many books to order?

Jill: It’s an interesting challenge. We look at each book individually, and based on experience with similar titles we make a very educated decision. The trick is not to over- or under-order.

PK: Why is that?

Jill: Because of our lean business model I am tasked with turning my stock every 12-18 months.

PK: How do you keep track of inventory status?

Jill: I generate a report every week that shows me what inventory will run out in 6 months based on current sales. If a book is a hot seller, I may monitor it daily or several times a week. If it is in jeopardy of going out of stock I reorder.

How long does it take to get books in once they’re reordered?

Jill: On average, it takes 4-6 weeks to receive inventory once a reorder has been placed. But, it’s also important to remember that the time of year a reprint comes up can affect that delivery time. During key publishing seasons, getting press time can be more challenging.

PK: What else influences your reprint decisions?

Jill: As part of my job I stay in tune with market trends, what issues are hot in the news, what author is speaking and where, how OSV is marketing a product, how an author is promoting their product. For instance, if an author has a big speaking engagement coming up, and they are going to sell X amount of their books, that order will affect our warehouse inventory. The earlier we know about these the better!

If you have more questions about inventory management, leave us a comment and we’ll get you answers!

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