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Chicken and Quinoa and Delayed Customization, Oh My!

Delayed Customization Strategies: Supply Chain Management and Grocery Lists

Did you know that you’re a supply chain strategist in your everyday life?

It’s true.

If you’ve ever purchased food for your household, you’ve more than likely employed a “delayed customization” strategy that allows you to optimize the costs of your groceries while giving you access to a wide array of food on a daily basis.

Strategic Inventory Management: A Lesson from Your Weekly Meal Plans

Many people will buy single ingredients in “bulk,” whether for a week or a month (typically frozen or shelf-stable goods).

Take chicken, for example. You may buy a large package of chicken in order to take advantage of wholesale prices. From there, you may freeze the chicken and thaw a portion that's appropriate for your household when you decide to make fettuccine on Monday, curry on Wednesday, and grilled chicken on Saturday. You typically don't purchase these premade types of chicken in advance for reasons such as:

- They are more expensive
- They don't keep as long
- You may change your mind on Wednesday and decide to have fajitas instead

This may feel like standard meal planning for the week, but it’s also clever inventory management.

Related Read: Know your Metrics, Know your Business

Strategic Pantry Planning: Applying Delayed Customization in Your Supply Chain

With delayed customization, you keep your pantry stocked with the basics – flour, basil, quinoa – while you may make quick stops every few days for more expensive specialty or perishable items like peppers or cheese.

The same is true for companies. Purchasing commodity materials in bulk reduces costs and keeps more in-stock. It also pushes customizing further downstream in the production process (hence ‘delayed customization’), which allows for agility and reduced obsolescence of materials.

Delayed Customization Examples

Food Ingredient Manufacturer

A food ingredient manufacturer offers fairly standard products but in many possible packaging configurations.

They realized it was more efficient to package all of their products the same way at the factory and leverage a 3rd party warehouse facility to customize the pallet configuration and labeling requirements to the customer's needs.

Auto Manufacturer

An auto manufacturer uses a standard platform for the chassis, engine, and basic component parts.

As the cars are ordered, they configure how the vehicle is assembled to meet the customer's needs and represent the more individualized car model.

Sandwich Company

A sandwich company keeps an assortment of bread, meats, cheeses, and vegetables on hand, but you order the sandwich to your liking.

Learn More: Pro Tips to Unlock Inventory Eutopia

Using Delayed Customization for Your Supply Chain Management

Just like managing your weekly grocery costs and space constraints in your fridge and pantry, delayed customization can also be a powerful way to manage your company's costs and space constraints. Embrace this strategic approach to optimize efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance flexibility, aligning your supply chain with dynamic market demands for sustained success.

Are you wondering what other supply chain strategies can help your company save money and reduce inventory issues? Our supply chain and operations advisors are experienced in many manufacturing and distribution companies. We help you find the best way to optimize your supply chain management and get the results you want.

Waypost Advisors is an end-to-end supply chain and resourcing solution. We offer expertise in procurement, inventory, project management, planning, transportation & warehousing to fit the needs of your B2B manufacturing or distribution company. Our advisors can provide you with the resources and expertise to tackle your supply chain challenges while allowing you to still focus on running your business.