It is the wonderful time of the year, especially for retailers. Now if you are a retailer you most likely hate stock outs especially during the holiday season. The question is how can you avoid them and keep the customers in the store and the registers ringing.

You can use a number of methods to gain visibility into stock/inventories and make sure your customers do not find shelves empty. Optimizing B2B supply chain to gain visibility can result in profits higher than any holiday season marketing campaign.

There are several pieces involved in getting the products to the shelves in stores. The most important piece is placing the order with your suppliers and tracking it through the procurement cycle and making sure that product is reaching store shelves on time.

That’s where a well thought out B2B strategy comes into picture. Relying on older VAN networks to exchange electronic documents, you will never get the visibility required by today’s retail where everyone wants faster replenishment cycles. These outdated B2B mechanisms were not built to support the real-time needs of today’s business.

When the items are flying off the shelves and you are trying desperately to get confirmation of your replenishment orders from suppliers, you need real-time visibility into each step of the process. Taking control of your B2B not only gives you visibility into downstream orders but also the real-time information about 3PL/4PL Stock levels.

How do you take control of B2B? For starters, take a look at your existing B2B systems see if they meet your visibility needs. If not, take a look at the alternatives and develop a B2B strategy that will keep your shelves stocked during the holiday season.