Safety Stock Definition, Importance, Formulas & Implementation

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Safety Stock Definition, Importance, Formulas & Implementation

By utilizing safety stock, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands can continue selling while they wait on replenishment. This can require a substantial safety stock if there are ongoing problems with the upstream production process. If you wait to reorder a SKU until regular inventory has sold out, or until your safety stock is almost used up, you could stock out before you receive the replenishment shipment, and miss out on sales. Mistakes happen — but if inventory is consistently lost, damaged, stolen, or miscounted, these errors can have serious consequences. For example, if a business signs off on the wrong inventory during receiving, it may stock out of the SKUs they were supposed to receive.

  • The percentage of client orders that can be filled without running out of inventory.
  • The reorder point is determined by the company’s lead time and safety stock.
  • In 2021 U.S retailers faced $82 Billion in lost sales due to empty shelves and “out-of-stock” items.
  • The top 10 methods are explained below — and we’ve also included a key to help you solve these equations a little easier.

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. It is calculated based on factors such as lead time, demand variability, and desired service level. By maintaining an appropriate level of safety stock, a company can reduce the risk of stockouts and ensure that it can meet customer demand even in the face of unexpected events.

Having enough safety stock plays a vital role in protecting businesses from unexpected customer demand and supply chain disruptions. Safety Stock level should be carefully calculated based on user demand, lead times, and inventory cost. Traditionally, safety stock is calculated using a static formula based on factors such as lead time, demand variability, and service level.

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Frequent stockouts leave customers in difficult situations, resulting in supply chain bottlenecks if components are unfulfilled or upset customers if there is not enough stock to meet demand. In short, it’s important to be smart about safety stock in order to keep supply chains moving. Some products will have little variability and thus a very narrow histogram. The width of the curve and the underlying variability can be characterized by a statistical property called standard deviation, which is symbolized by sigma.

  • The lead-time calculation is the average amount of inventory sold per day multiplied by the product’s average lead time in days.
  • In a perfect world, you can only expect zero safety stock if your future demand is 100% stable and there are no delays or challenges with your supply.
  • In short, it can be quite difficult to optimize the precise level of safety stock at which a company’s customers are least unhappy, while also minimizing the investment in inventory.
  • A lower safety factor means you’re more confident in your lead time estimate, so you can get by with less safety stock.

The reason for this is that safety stock levels are going to be specific to the retailer, the business, and service level expectations. Once in-store inventory is running low, a replenishment order can be placed, and ideally, you have enough buffer stock to last until that order is fulfilled, without incurring out-of-stocks. Let’s say one of your popular products goes out of stock and customers keep asking for it. If the lead time with your supplier is short, meaning you can get new inventory in mere days, this is a small issue. Safety stock is an additional quantity of an item held in the inventory to reduce the risk that the item will be out of stock.

Safety Stock – Definition, Importance, Formulas & Implementation

A lower safety factor means you’re more confident in your lead time estimate, so you can get by with less safety stock. As an inventory manager, you understand the crucial role of safety stock in maintaining accurate stock levels. Safety stock is the additional inventory you keep in reserve to address unexpected demand surges or unforeseen events.

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Customer loyalty increases revenue, improves your brand reputation, sparks word-of-mouth marketing, and helps you gather valuable feedback. Ordoro offers everything you accounting for natural resource assets and depletion need to sell your products online or in person. Suppose you have one thousand units of a particular winter garment, but you were able to sell only three hundred units.


The variable lead time formula is sort of the opposite of variable demand. This equation is used only when demand is stable, but your lead time varies. While surprise spikes in demand can be a good thing for businesses, they can also result in stockouts.

Reasons to Keep Safety Stock

By leaning on your safety stock, you can keep order fulfillment consistent as you work on building your next forecasting estimates. Stockouts and backorders can also cause customers to cancel orders (which costs your business revenue), or even leave negative reviews to discourage others from purchasing in the future. However, while the business waits for the next shipment of inventory to come in, customers continue to place orders. Before long, the business has sold through its entire regular inventory — but the replenishment shipment has not yet arrived.

You can keep it in a physical warehouse, or you can use a software system to track and manage your inventory. Calculating safety stock is an essential aspect of effective inventory management, tailored to a company’s unique needs and market conditions. When adding safety stock to your inventory management strategy, following these basic tenets will ensure an effective implementation. It also helps them avoid running out of products and having dissatisfied customers. If a customer wants a specific product, but can’t find it in the store, they are likely to go elsewhere to buy it. Where S is the safety stock level and CC is the carrying cost per unit per annum.

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