meaning of safety stock

When your brand calculates (and orders) the right amount of safety stock, it can help prevent stockouts, reduce lead times, and compensate for inaccurate demand forecasting. Also known as buffer stock, safety stock refers to the extra inventory small-business owners may choose to store in order to avoid running out of stock. Business owners who store safety stock are better able to meet sudden, unexpected increases in demand and are less impacted by supplier delays.

meaning of safety stock

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Average-max Safety Stock Formula

Based on past customer demand for that product and the time it typically takes to receive that inventory, the 15 units will suffice. The goal is to hold just enough safety stock to avoid either of these two extremes. You can achieve this with accurate data and the right safety stock formula.

  • It is the point at which a company needs to order more inventory to maintain adequate levels.
  • For example, let’s say that the average demand for a product is 100 units per day, the standard deviation of demand is 30 units, and you want to be able to meet demand 95% of the time.
  • The purpose of safety stock is to ensure that a company can continue to fulfill customer orders even if there are disruptions in the supply chain.
  • Additionally, since everyone is clamoring for the same space, it causes bottlenecks, which is frustrating to both customers and retailers.

It gives reasonable results in cases when the performance cycle is greater than the data collection time period. However, it can give very poor results going in the other direction — where PC is less than T1 — especially when the time parameters are small, such as when going from weeks to days. If PC is much less than T1, it’s useful to try to measure demand variability or forecast error on a more frequent basis to reduce T1 to a frequency closer to PC. Careful management of safety stock levels will help your organization provide consistent customer service, mitigate supply chain risk, and reduce overhead costs. Incorporating safety stock into your inventory management helps reduce the effects of long lead times. With that buffer, you can keep selling even as you wait for more inventory to arrive.

Safety stock is extra inventory purchased to help avoid stockouts (running out of stock). This additional stock is used as a buffer to mitigate risks like supplier delays, sudden increase in consumer demand, or inaccurate inventory forecasting. Fortunately, safety stock can help mitigate these inventory management challenges, as well as prevent stockouts. Check out our guide to learn word receipt template more about the benefits (and a few risks) of safety stock, as well as how to calculate safety stock levels for your small business. If you’re looking to implement a fixed safety stock formula in your business, there are a few things you need to know. First, safety stock is a buffer of inventory that you keep on hand in case of unanticipated demand or disruptions in your supply chain.

Safety Stock Calculation: 6 Different Formulas

The amount of safety stock necessary depends on the type of product and demand. Alternate approaches to safety stockThe calculations in this article sometimes result in safety stock recommendations that are more than businesses can afford to carry. Sometimes an expediting process can be designed that can prevent a stockout when safety stock is insufficient to cover all random variation. However, the contingency plan must be planned and agreed upon in advance. It is unacceptable to ignore this step in the hopes that something can be figured out when the time comes. Safety stock can also be reduced when there are similar items in stock, toward which the customer service staff can direct customers.

Safety stock is a reserve inventory keep on hand to handle fluctuations in demand and prevent stockout. It is critical that the same time units — whether days, weeks or another unit of time — are used for all variables. Lightspeed is a cloud-based commerce platform powering small and medium-sized businesses in over 100 countries around the world. When you correctly gauge the level of safety stock required, you protect your organization from a whole host of undesirable outcomes.

Average – max safety stock formula:

For example, if a small-business owner typically sells 100 T-shirts per day and decides to store 5 days of safety stock, they would need to have 500 T-shirts on hand (100 products x 5 days). In today’s highly competitive business environment, it’s essential for small-business owners to prioritize customer satisfaction. Having safety stock on hand helps to ensure happy, loyal customers who are confident they can always turn to their favorite brands to find what they’re looking for.

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With your ROP, you know the optimal time to reorder before you’re totally sold out. A strong reorder point is usually a little higher than your safety stock level, so you give yourself an extra buffer against supply chain disruptions. Assume that a company uses the economic order quantity (EOQ) model to determine the amount of product or materials it orders. Since the model requires an assumption (estimate) of annual demand, there is a risk that demand will be greater than the estimate used. As a precaution, the company may decide to always have an additional 100 units on hand as its safety stock. If demand is not constant, the company could increase the quantity of its safety stock during its peak sales periods and then reduce the quantity during periods of low sales.

Retailers often don’t realize that the amount they are losing in lost sales is higher than their overstock fees. Every retailer has specific parameters they work within when managing inventory. As such, the approach to finding an optimal stocking level formula varies from retailer to retailer. Figuring out what is safety stock and what is overstock requires precise calculations. As a result, retailers may have to pay more for ordering new product inventories from the manufacturers or for increased freight deliveries from the vendors. Unpredicted shifts in market dynamics due to shortages of certain raw materials, increases in oil prices, and changes in government regulations can lead to higher-than-usual costs.

The 10 Pillars of Supply Chain Leadership

If you want to avoid out-of-stock scenarios no matter what, you may end up on the opposite end of that spectrum and overstock your products. Imagine while most of your customers default to stores that are out of stock but you have stock, think about the free quality traffic you will be getting.” Without safety stock, this change in demand becomes a missed opportunity. Reorder point is a predefined inventory level at which you replenish your stock. There’s an important distinction between safety stock and a reorder point. At, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations.

The reality of stockouts is that they frustrate your customers and cause your brand to miss out on potential revenue opportunities. Thankfully, prioritizing safety stock is one of the best ways for DTC brands to avoid stockout situations altogether. By utilizing safety stock, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands can continue selling while they wait on replenishment. Using Excel spreadsheets to manually calculate safety stock for every SKU at every location requires significant amounts of time and commitment.

How to choose the right formula

This point is calculated based on the company’s average daily sales and the lead time (the time it takes to receive new inventory from the supplier). If you manage inventory for a business, you know that one of the most important factors in maintaining accurate stock levels is ensuring you have enough safety stock on hand. Safety stock is the extra inventory you keep on hand to account for unexpected spikes in demand or other unforeseen circumstances. When you have extra inventory on hand, you can avoid stockouts, which are frustrating for both your operations and your customers. The amount of safety stock that an organization chooses to keep on hand can dramatically affect its business.

Safety stock calculation is part of an efficient inventory management strategy that could impact your company for years to come. It provides a competitive advantage when a business has in-demand items still in stock when others have run out. Customers remember experiences, good and bad, which affects their future purchasing decisions. This may be the result of resource or supplier scarcity or increasing competition, in addition to a number of other unforeseen circumstances. The importance of safety stock in inventory management is to prepare for these events without losing profits or experiencing issues with pipeline inventory or last mile logistics delays.

In such situations, safety stock will protect you from purchasing inventories at less favourable and inflated prices. You don’t want to miss sales opportunities, because it took too long for the product order to be fulfilled by the vendor. For instance, a new fashion trend sparked by an influencer could create demand for certain clothing items. Retailers can be caught off guard by changes in demand forcing them to scramble for last-minute inventory replenishment which can have a negative effect on supplier relations.

Let’s put the safety stock formula into practice by doing a sample calculation. Summer is around the corner, and you want to make sure you have enough safety stock for patio umbrellas, one of your best-selling products, so you can meet demand for this seasonal favorite. Reliance on a single-source supplier for a crucial product component puts companies in a more vulnerable position than those with several suppliers in different locations to turn to. Determine where you are most exposed and, until those vulnerabilities are addressed, consider increasing your safety stock in those areas. Along with becoming obsolete, a surplus of safety stock also runs the risk of spoiling.

If your POS doesn’t offer that data point, simply divide the number of units you sell in a typical month by 30, the number of days in a month. This can require a substantial safety stock if there are ongoing problems with the upstream production process. As I said before, accurate safety stock levels are critical to your retail operations. Greasley’s method is based on your supplier’s lead time and demand fluctuations. To find your average delay, you’ll first need to find all the supplier orders that took longer than average to arrive. Then, add the total number of days past your average lead time and divide that sum by the total number of delayed orders.