2020 set the supply and demand curve on fire and then threw it out the window. Suddenly, sales for toilet paper spiked 845% and revenue from traditionally low elastic goods dropped. Just look at beauty products—their revenue dropped by 20–30%. Let’s just say that the principles of supply and demand that you learned from your pre-pandemic econ class were useless as people and retailers panic bought.
The supply chain problems created during the pandemic are now compounding. Orders are being fulfilled but the consumer demand is no longer there. People are going back to work, and sadly, sweatpants are not part of business casual. Desks and monitors are at home collecting dust bunnies, and more consumers are buying services that weren’t available for the past two years—things like vacations, movie tickets, dinner, etc.
Too much inventory on hand
Inventory has grown by almost $100 billion between April 2021 and April 2022 and retailers don’t have anywhere to put it. Walmart has a 33% increase in their inventory, but it’s not like they can make their stores 33% bigger to accommodate it. Instead, retailers are shifting to mobile storage.
Trailers and shipping containers are housing the extra inventory, often in the retailer’s own parking lots. But surprise—this creates different problems and massive headaches for asset protection and loss prevention managers.
Now, they have thousands of dollars’ worth of product just sitting in the parking lot with a $20 padlock standing thieves and their wildest dreams. And as holiday shopping starts, you’ll have to start accessing the inventory in the containers—so you can’t exactly lock it down like Fort Knox. So, how do you make the inventory easily accessible to your employees, but not to thieves?
Securing excess inventory
Adding traditional security cameras to a parking lot is not easy. They need power and communication hookups, and you can’t just run a power cord across the asphalt and plug it into the front of a store. So that means calling a construction crew, tearing up your lot, and running the necessary wires underground. This takes a lot of time and money. But the inventory is sitting in the parking lot right now and Black Friday/holiday shopping is just around the corner.
That’s why you need mobile surveillance units (MSUs), which are ready-made for parking lot security. MSUs are a camera system that is powered by solar panels, batteries, and/or a generator. Typically tall and imposing, they use deterrence-based security methods to help prevent crimes before they happen as well as providing 24/7 video surveillance. MSUs are proven to increase safety and security. In fact, retailers who use MSUs in their parking lots have seen a 66% decrease in shoplifting events, a 66% decrease in external (emphasis on the external) and internal shrink, and a 70% decrease in parking lot incidents.
MSUs are the perfect security solution for those shipping containers stuffed full of inventory. They don’t require external hook ups, so no need to run power or communication lines. They can be temporary or permanent fixtures in your parking lot. And they offer reliable security for a fraction of the price of fixed cameras or guards.
The supply and demand curve will eventually stabilize, but considering we are still dealing with problems that started more than two years ago, it won’t be any time soon. Definitely not before the holiday shopping season and not before those products in the parking lot are sold. Now is the time to start planning for the safety and security for the increased inventory, customers, and employees that will come during the holidays. Learn how LVT can help you do this by requesting a free demo.