Skip to content

Supply complexity spurs smarter inventory management systems

Chris Stott explores how OEMs and retailers can maintain clear, real-time visibility of the vehicle pipeline

Following a turbulent year for the automotive sector in 2022, the UK industry has certainly shown encouraging signs of recovery through 2023. Indeed, the balance has shifted from new-car production restrictions and consequent constrictions in used car availability, to a market demonstrating consistent growth in stock and sales on both sides of the market.

Despite these promising signs of growth, challenges such as lingering supply chain disruptions, prevailing macroeconomic circumstances, and cost of living concerns all provide an uncertain operating environment for OEMs and retailers looking to strengthen their profit margins. Not being adequately prepared for shifting vehicle stock can frequently prove to be a significant time- and profit draw for these businesses. This is particularly pertinent for OEMs and retailers which employ outdated, manually updated systems for managing vehicle stock.

Retailers face a host of challenges

These non-automated legacy systems risk introducing costly inconsistencies between inventory databases and the true status of vehicle stock. An inaccurate, inefficient record of new and used vehicle stock levels makes it significantly harder for OEMs and retailers to respond to shortages, prioritise certain vehicle types, and therefore make the most effective—and profitable—use of their stock. Whether in terms of vehicle availability or pricing, these inconsistencies also directly find their way to consumers, frustrating their purchase plans and endangering customer loyalty.

With the risk of further disruptions to vehicle supply, and worsening economic conditions impacting purchase decisions, it is imperative for OEMs and retailers to maintain clear, real-time visibility of the vehicle pipeline. Optimising operational efficiency in this respect will enable these businesses to make the best use of their stock, and therefore maximise profit when it matters most. Making the shift to intelligent, automated digital platforms is critical in achieving this—enhancing stock accuracy, generating strong customer satisfaction and converting sales faster.

The critical value of efficiency is why real-time dataflow is a key component of inventory management technology. This helps set OEMs and retailers up with full visibility over their new stock and pipeline, and therefore the tools needed to be responsive in the face of disruptions to the market.

Real-time dataflow is a key component of inventory management technology

In the context of such disruptions, recognising the importance of an efficient user journey not just for customers, but also for OEMs and retailers, is also key to maximising success. It is therefore crucial that inventory management systems are seamlessly integrated with retail platforms, resulting in minimal disruption to OEMs’ and retailers’ operations.

As the industry grows more complex in terms of emerging sales models, electrification and more, finding innovative, agile ways to capitalise on sector recovery will be key for OEMs and retailers to keep up with the constantly shifting marketplace. Only by using integrations and workflow to their advantage will players be able to provide the foundation for the expediency and customer satisfaction that converts sales.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.

Chris Stott is Director of Alliances at automotive retail experts Automotive Transformation Group

The Automotive World Comment column is open to automotive industry decision makers and influencers. If you would like to contribute a Comment article, please contact

Welcome back , to continue browsing the site, please click here