Gone are the days when small business owners had to make decisions based on intuition or guesswork.

Today, the reverse effect is taking place. Many business owners are overloaded and overwhelmed with information, also known as ‘data fatigue.’ This is a particular problem for many businesses after busy sales periods because there’s typically a lot of data to trawl through – making it difficult to know where to start.

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However, with the right tools – such as a smart business and inventory management system – you can easily access the data you need, when you need it. Here’s how to use data from peak sales periods to drive your business forward.

What types of data should you be looking at?


Understanding the past is key to planning for the future. Here are some of the most important KPIs to measure using sales and inventory data from busy periods:

Inventory turnover

This is a measure of the number of times inventory is sold over a specified period. Although inventory turnover typically shows how often the organization has sold the entire value of its inventory over the course of the year, it can also be used for shorter sales periods.

Using inventory turnover data can help you understand how well inventory is moved and improve inventory holding and purchasing processes – reducing the likelihood of issues such as dead stock.

Fill rate

This refers to the percentage of orders that can be filled when a customer places an order. This data is especially important for busy periods because it shows how well you’re able to meet customer demand when it’s at its highest.  

Your goal fill rate should depend on your business model and the time sensitivity of your industry; in other words, how quickly and easily your customers find an alternative supplier.

Costs of carrying inventory

Also known as ‘holding costs,’ this refers to the cost of storing inventory over a certain timeframe. Holding more inventory than is necessary will result in increased holding expenses such as storage, freight, labor, and insurance.


Tracking carrying costs during busy periods will help you identify cost-saving measures for future periods, improving cash flow and allowing you to reinvest back into the business.

Order picking/packing

Order picking can be an expensive and complex process, especially during busy sales periods. However, it’s important to make sure your processes are efficient as well as cost-effective, because fast fulfillment is key to customer satisfaction. Some of the major order picking KPIs include:

  •      Cost per line item picked
  •      How many orders are picked per hour
  •      Costs of picking labor
  •      Use of packaging and other consumables
  •      Order cycle times

Using data for sales & inventory forecasting

Looking at data from past sales periods is useful for understanding sales patterns and business performance, but its primary value is in planning for the future.

Using the inventory data above, you can accurately predict when you’ll need to reorder more stock (also known as your ‘reorder point’) and adopt leaner inventory management processes moving forward.

Historical sales data is also an integral part of predicting future sales, so you can have enough inventory and resources on hand to meet demand but keep operational costs low.

For simplified forecasting, try our free sales and forecasting tool to manage your inventory and sales performance, costs, and revenue all in the one place.

How to access accurate, useful data

With an inventory management system like TradeGecko, you can easily access accurate, clearly presented intelligence reports – which means no manual sifting or sorting of data.

These reports not only provide valuable insights into the current state of your business but also give you the information needed to build a reliable sales and inventory forecast, and grow your business.

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