Back-to-school has always been a big season that seems to happen in the blink of an eye. As soon as teachers send out the school supply list, consumers scramble to buy all the things students will need. Whether you shop in-store or online, starting the new school year with the right items always comes with a bit of anxiety. After all, by the time students receive their first homework assignment, retailers have already moved on to the next season, swapping out school supplies for Halloween and the holidays.

When supplies run out or are back-ordered, it adds to the stress on students, teachers and parents, but also retailers, shippers and logistics providers whose planning started months prior getting ready for the back-to-school event.

There’s only a narrow window to get everything right. Items typically associated with back-to-school shopping fall into two categories. They have different characteristics, which impact the timing in which they flow through the supply chain. The two types differ in how and when they are ordered and start the process through the supply chain. First, there are new items which are being brought to market for the first time. With these items, the pre-planning period takes longer for the retailer and requires more lead time with the supplier. For replenish items, also known as never out of stock, the retailers need to increase the volume to support back-to-school promotion. These are items like folders, notebooks and pens and pencils – commonly available products that require less lead time...

This article was originally posted by Supply & Demand Chain Executive. To continue reading, visit

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