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DIY retailers need supply chain technology that addresses their unique needs

May 23, 2024 4 min

DIY retailers face unique challenges and needs compared to their peers in other verticals. They have vast assortments—in some cases, up to 80k SKUs per location—made up of seasonal, slow-moving, and bulky products. Combining the assortment size with a highly complex supplier network makes effective, efficient supply chain execution an extremely challenging undertaking.

Sean Hooper, RELEX Solution Principal, shares some of the ways that RELEX is helping DIY retailers meet these challenges and build a better supply chain that drives efficiency, reduces costs, and improves customer service and margins.


My name is Sean Hooper, and I am a solution principal with RELEX Solutions. 

At the end of the day, all retailers are trying to capture more sales while more efficiently managing their supply plan. For DIY retailers specifically, though, some of these challenges are a little more unique to their space. 

For example, we think about managing a very broad range of assortment. And, of course, you have some products that have long lead times. That long lead time is really the tip of the iceberg when it comes to managing a very diverse supplier network. 

A lot of those items come from international suppliers. But then you, of course, also have domestic suppliers who are essentially selling commodity goods. So, how do you manage the balance between different suppliers when you’re buying essentially the same item? 

On top of that, we also have to continue to manage the mitigation of rising costs. Those are coming from labor, transportation as well as the material itself. 

DIY retailers have to do this while also protecting really tight margins, enhancing the customer experience, and making sure that you have the right products in the right place for the right demand channels.  

You need the right tool in your tool chest. So specifically, what we mean is that, yes, you need sophisticated software, but you also need a partner who understands the unique, complex concerns of DIY retail. This is where a partner and a solution like RELEX come into play. 

There are a number of AI solutions that we provide: 

The key offering being around having a single solution for managing all product types. This includes new product introductions, items with lumpy demand, oversized items, and then going back to those products that have a high degree of seasonality, as well as promotional elasticity. 

We’re able to better support our retailers’ omnichannel strategies, understanding not just what is the overall demand, but what specific channels are driving that demand and ensuring that our service levels are adequate for each. 

Another piece of this ties back to managing that complex supplier network. So, we understand that for both domestic and international there are a number of different considerations. So RELEX is able to automatically take those considerations into account. We build our business rules which automatically apply this logic to how we forecast and how we suggest orders.  

But we even have a portal where your suppliers can log directly into the tool, and they can input their own considerations so that when we think of not just giving them visibility to what are your expectations for demand, but they can, in turn, share their expectations for any foreseen bottlenecks, or instances where they can better help your team plan.  

Another piece of this ties into our advanced capacity management. So, by better understanding, the demand at a product/location/supplier level, that gives us a very intimate view into understanding what are some of those space considerations as inventory flows into your different DCS and your different store formats. 

But we can even take this one step further, tying your labor plan into your assortment, into your supply chain plan. So, being able to have a very clear and transparent view into what those different variables are, and how much they are skewing a forecast, users can very quickly take action when the time calls for it.  

No matter how complex your supply chain is, RELEX gives you visibility across your entire network. This allows our users to better understand what’s in assortment, pinpoint potential supplier bottlenecks, highlight potential capacity breaches, and proactively solve each one of them so that your customers are ultimately benefiting from all of your hard work. 

So, if this sounds like something that you would be interested in learning more about, please reach out to RELEX. We’re certainly happy to help. Take care until then.