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I found a fulfillment company that is maybe 3 miles away from my supplier.
I can basically do Just-in-Time inventory now, but the problem is I want to avoid having to phone customers of products not in stock.
Unfort. the supplier doesn't have a way for me to hook into their backend system so I could get live inventory information.
What would you guys recommend is the best way to handle this?
(keep in mind that I have thousands of SKU's here, so I can't really stock it all plus I want to avoid dumping $ into inventory in the beginning).
The other option is to mark all that suppliers stock as call in.
You ask for tons of charge backs/cancellations and ticked off customers when your inventory is incorrectly reflecting stocks or availability!
The problem is that I will have to do this everyday, and also email customers about out-of-stock etc.
I don't really have any options with suppliers, this is a very tight industry and this supplier is one of the few who will sell to me w/o having a real store.
Some distributors offer an API to get current feeds and we use that when possible if we use them to dropship.
I use Apatar ETL tool and recommend it.
Sure it does not seem like the best use of our capital, which is always limited no matter what your size, but it is what is necessary in order to move forward in our industry.
All of my other potential sources are mfg's and I would just stock their products.
I just wish I could get them to product even a static inventory report daily, that would cut down my legwork.