Strategies to Operations Series 2: ABC/XYZ

Through finding the balance between investment in inventory and service levels, businesses can exploit the laws of Pareto principle in order to adopt a more proactive approach to managing the entire assortment. It is no secret that for many businesses, 80% of the turnover is generated by just 20% of the assortment. Given that such a large proportion of the assortment seemingly offers such little value to the business, you would be forgiven for focusing all of your attention on the best performing lines. However, inventory decisions should not be taken lightly and businesses should strive to manage their entire assortment as effectively as possible.

ABC Analysis

The ABC-analysis is known for many decades, but occasionally, it is used in practice on a regular basis. The execution of an ABC-analysis is quite straight forward, the correct interpretation is a different matter. The execution can be done by planners or supply-chain specialists using Excel, the interpretation is the task of management. But management should also state, which criterion should be used for this ABC-analysis.

From a company’s point of view, (gross/net) margin should always be one of these criterion. After all, the goal of a company is making money (EBITDA). So now it is up to management to tell when they consider a product as important from a margin point of view. For example: items generating more than $100,000 are considered A-items. Items generating less than $500 are considered C-items. The same could be done using sales as criterion.

ABC/XYZ Analysis

Combining both analyses yields an XYZ - analyses as shown in table below:

abc-xyz analysis

Once the boundaries of an ABC analysis have been defined and agreed upon, your assortment can be categorized into different groups depending on strategic importance. From service levels to stocking decision, the insights provided by the ABC analysis should be used as a driving force to shape your assortment and optimize the performance of all your items.

Top Tips for Inventory Analysis

To help you maximise the value of inventory analysis, here are 5 top tips to ensure you achieve your supply chain goals.

  • Differentiated service levels are key to achieving the right service level
  • Determining your optimal stock levels
  • ABC inventory analysis to make better stocking decisions
  • Prioritise your future inventory reduction opportunities
  • Tracking and reporting


Need Help to Analyse Your Inventory?

We have a team of experts who are ready to help you optimize your inventory and improve your business performance. Get in touch with us! Contact Erik at or visit for more information.


Slimstock_high_resolutionHeadquartered in The Netherlands, Slimstock is the leading inventory optimization specialist globally since 1993 and entered the South East Asia market in 2016. Supporting over 1000 companies across a diverse range of industries, covering large, medium and small enterprises, Slimstock's forecasting and demand planning solution (Slim4) is designed to ensure companies get the right stock at the right place and at the right time. It also helps companies strike a balance between working capital, operational costs and the optimal service level.

by Slimstock on April 14, 2020

categories: Service

Written by Slimstock

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