Monitor Your DTC Brand's Operational Health With The New Actionable Dashboard

August 12, 2022
8 min read

In this article:

The new actionable dashboard is like sneaking a peek at your operational "medical records," so you can prescribe the right preventative care for your brand. 

Let's temp-check how your DTC brand is doing. That includes how much stock you'll need, if you have enough working capital to secure additional inventory, and whether you're on track to hit your revenue goals. 

And similar to when your doctor diagnoses that weird ache you keep feeling, monitoring your brand's operational health should be as simple as checking your medical records and taking a few vitals. 
The new actionable dashboard makes it that easy. 

Meet the new actionable dashboard

The new actionable dashboard offers a comprehensive overview of your brand's overall operational health.

Actionable dashboard

With it, you can quickly diagnose any stockouts, overstocks, and cash flow issues that might stunt your brand's growth. And you can treat those operational challenges before they severely harm your brand. 

For instance, undiagnosed and untreated cash flow issues were the #1 reason brands shut down in 2021. And stockouts cost smaller retailers like Crossnet $250,000+ when bestselling products go out of stock.

Luckily, you can reduce the impact of these operational risks (or prevent them from happening altogether) if you diagnose them early enough. 

The actionable dashboard monitors your brand's key vitals (like stock levels, planned growth, and upcoming marketing events) in real-time. That way, you know ASAP when something's not looking right. 

Best part?

The actionable dashboard breaks down your operational data into easy-to-digest insights (no business journal jargon), so you know exactly what's happening with your retail operations. 

Then, it prescribes clear next steps you can take to get your brand back to optimal performance (and keep it there).

What the actionable dashboard monitors

By checking your actionable dashboard, you’ll know exactly when you need to replenish, how prepared you are to meet demand, if you’re on track to hit your revenue goals, and more.  

Exactly when you need to replenish

Staying fully stocked (without collecting expensive excess inventory)… Well, historically, it’s been kind of a guessing game. And even the most educated guesses increase your risk of stocking out (or overstocking). Both of which clog your cash flow. 

With the new “Replenish Now/ Replenish Soon” widgets, you’ll know at a glance everything that needs to be reordered and when. No guesswork required. 

Under “Replenish Now” (just as the name suggests), you’ll get a complete list of SKUs that should’ve been reordered like yesterday. It’ll even link to a fully drafted, optimized purchase order to speed up the restocking process. All you have to do is check this PO and hit “Submit.” 

Meanwhile, under “Replenish soon,” you’ll get a heads up on all the SKUs your inventory replenishment needs in the next 30 days. 

That way, you can plan around longer order lead times and budget accordingly. AKA, you get more control of your stock levels and cash flow. 

If you’re prepared to meet demand

Without stock, your retail brand isn't going to make much money (unless you sell on backorder, that is). But it's not just about having some inventory available; it's about having enough of the right inventory to meet customer demand. And not having the working capital tied up in dead stock. 

For reference: Most DTC brands carry 2x the recommended dead stock in their active inventory. This cost these brands a staggering 30% more than that inventory's value on average, tying up (and wasting) working capital and making it increasingly difficult to invest in top sellers. 

That's where the new "Stock Levels" widget comes into play.

"Stock Levels" widget in actionable dashboard

Combining your production plans and replenishment strategy for the next 12 months, this widget creates a heatmap showing you which months you're set to have optimal stock levels (and which ones you're not) based on current customer demand. 

Plus, it'll estimate how much working capital you need to achieve optimal stock levels. These numbers are based on your previous purchase orders and production orders

That way, you can budget accordingly to make your inventory plan happen. And because you're budgeting months out, you can do this with a lot less stress – all while keeping plenty of working capital available for other growth initiatives. 

Whether you're on track to hit your revenue goal

Are you on track to meet your revenue goals? Could you prove that to stakeholders if they asked? 

With the new "Planned Growth" widget, you can! You can even add color to how on or off track you are from that goal.

"Planned Growth" widget in the actionable dashboard

That's because you'll have instant access to your target revenue, month-to-date (MTD) revenue, and the difference as a percentage. 

You can even visualize your revenue growth over time in a straightforward bar graph to identify trends. Maybe, most of your revenue comes in at the end of the month? 

That way, you can pulse-check how well your operations and marketing efforts align (if they do, you'll be on track to hit your revenue goal). Then, you can take action accordingly. 

For instance, maybe you don't have the inventory you need to meet demand (AKA, you're constantly running into stockouts). Then, use the Replenishment widget to purchase what you need and get back to optimal inventory levels. 

Or, maybe demand shifted (think: how suitcases stopped selling when folks stopped traveling during the pandemic). Then, you might need to pivot your revenue goal accordingly. Or, you could spin up a marketing promotion to increase demand (and ensure you don't get left with dead stock).

All your upcoming marketing events 

Imagine running out of stock during your biggest promotion of the year. Embarrassing, right? But what if that stockout only happened because you, as an operator, had no idea the sale was happening (it’s more common than you’d think)? 

The new “Marketing Events” widget ensures those embarrassing mishaps won’t happen.

"Marketing Events" widget in the actionable dashboard

In a one-stop shop, you can see all the marketing promotions and new product launches your brand has planned. 

That way, you and your company’s marketing team are aligned on how much inventory you’ll need to pull off your biggest revenue-generated events. 

You can even use this feature to communicate to your marketing team what items you have too much of and need to promote to free up some working capital. They just need access to your Cogsy account. 

The best part? Any event you add to this widget will automatically reflect your inventory forecasts. That way, you can confidently fulfill all the demand your marketing team generates. 

What else is new?

Sometimes it’s not enough just to get a quick diagnosis. You need a more in-depth, specialized opinion on what’s happening (and intensive treatment plans).

So, alongside the actionable dashboard, we’re rolling out a few more new features that give you even more control over your brand’s operational health. 

Introducing production costs, bundles, archived SKUs, and marketing event labels. 

Visualize the production costs that power growth

As you know, cash flow is crucial for your growing business. After all, you can’t buy the inventory you need to reach your revenue goals without free working capital. 

Now, thanks to the new product cost feature, you can easily budget how much capital you’ll need to unlock this growth in the next 12 months.

You can even use this information to place smaller orders more often. That way, you run a leaner operation that keeps more cash on hand. This makes it easier to pivot if demand shifts, lowering your risk of dead stock. 

Just sync your Shopify, Skubana, CIN7, Fulfil, or ShipBob data using our free integrations to activate this feature. Once synced, you’ll see the estimated costs for replenishment needs within your production and purchase orders.

Cogsy' production costs feature

We’ll also provide a month-by-month snapshot of the estimated working capital you’ll need to reach your revenue goals inside your actionable dashboard. All so you can keep cash flow, well, flowing.

Get greater clarity around future demand with bundles

Product bundles are retail brands' secret sauce for increasing average order value. But executing a successful bundling strategy is easier said than done. 

Not only do you need clarity on demand for that product when sold individually, but demand for it as part of the larger bundle. All while gauging how one offering cannibalizes sales for the other. 

With the new bundles feature, forecast demand for all your parent SKUs (AKA, the complete bundle) and its child SKUs (the constituent products). 

Cogsy' bundles feature

Similar to when the item is sold individually, the tool will calculate the bundle's optimal order quantities and reorder point. This information is then automatically baked into your inventory replenishment plans. 

When placing purchase orders, you can see a breakdown of how many units are to fulfill the individual SKU forecast target and how many are to the bundle target.

Cogsy' bundles feature

Inside replenishment widgets, bundles will be listed as their parent SKUs with a breakdown of each child SKU underneath. That way, it's clear the bundle needs to be restocked. And you can navigate to any child SKUs' individual replenishment needs by clicking on that SKU. 

Say both the individual SKU and its bundle need to be restocked. Then, the indvidual SKU replenishment needs will be listed separately. The total replenishment quantity for that SKU will appear on the related purchase order. 

Cogsy' bundles feature

Archive SKUs you no longer need

Sanitized data is healthy data. So, what do you do with products that you no longer sell? After all, you don't want them mucking up your forecasts and replenishment calculations – that's for sure. 

Introducing the power to archive sunsetted SKUs. 

Archiving SKUs keeps your product catalog squeaky clean and optimizes your future inventory planning. That's because archived SKUs are excluded from your list of products, demand forecasts, and replenishment calculations to radically increase your recommendations' accuracy.

To archive a SKU, go to the Products listing page, click Settings, select the SKUs you wish to archive, and click Archive.

But don't worry – you're not losing all that data. You can still reference how archived SKUs performed inside the “Archived” tab. 

Label your marketing events for increased alignment

DTC marketing teams work hard on their campaigns, sales, and promotions. So, needless to say, going out of stock during an important sales event is a marketer's worst nightmare.

Factoring your marketing events into your inventory plan is crucial to ensuring you have enough stock to support your campaigns and promotions.

Cogsy's marketing events calendar already ensures your purchase orders reflect the extra stock you'll need to support each event. But it's not always easy to estimate each promotion's lift (and, therefore, how much inventory you'll need). 

More data, however, means better estimates. Now, you can even label your marketing events, providing added clarity to what's happening (and get better insights on how promotions perform on specific channels).

When creating a new marketing event, simply add a label to your marketing events, like:

  • Email Campaign
  • SMS Campaign
  • Product Launch
  • New Ad Campaign/ Creative
  • TV Campaign

View revenue on your growth plan

Revenue matters. And while you likely set your revenue goal as a month-over-month (or year-over-year) percentage, you need to know what dollar amount you're actually aiming for. 

You can now see that revenue goal (as a dollar amount) in Cogsy's Growth Plan widget. 

Just drag a month's growth rate up or down on the chart like you always have. Cogsy will adjust your revenue goal in real-time based on where you land. 

To see your new revenue goal, hover your cursor over that month's peak.

How Caraway plans to use these new features

Monitoring your brand's operational health was already complicated. Add to that your fast-growing brand, supply chain disruptions, and creeping inflation, which can quickly become unmanageable.

So, we asked the popular cookware brand and Cogsy customer, Caraway, to join us on The Checkout podcast to discuss the new features. In the episode, Mark Riskowitz, VP of Operations, shares how Caraway is already using these new features. 

Catch the episode now. 

Or jump right in and try the new features. All these features are available to all Cogsy merchants and ready in your account. 

Need help getting started? Drop us a line at team@cogsy.com.

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