Alignment on Assortment and SKU Rationalization


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Alignment on assortment and SKU rationalization: identifying best-selling products, optimizing and rationalizing SKUs to improve efficiency and profitability.


In the fiercely competitive landscape of modern retail, achieving alignment on assortment and SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) rationalization is paramount for maximizing efficiency and profitability. Joint business planning, involving collaboration between retailers and suppliers, plays a pivotal role in this process. By identifying best-selling products, optimizing offerings, and rationalizing SKUs, businesses can streamline operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive growth. This comprehensive guide delves into the strategies and practices essential for attaining alignment in assortment and SKU rationalization through effective joint business planning, supported by relevant facts, figures, and case studies.

Understanding Assortment and SKU Rationalization

Assortment refers to the range of products offered by a retailer or supplier, while SKU rationalization involves evaluating and optimizing these products to improve efficiency and profitability. Research indicates that SKU rationalization can lead to significant cost savings. For instance, a study by Gartner found that businesses that implement SKU rationalization initiatives can achieve cost reductions of up to 10% to 15% in inventory holding costs. Additionally, according to the Harvard Business Review, companies that successfully rationalize their SKUs can experience a 5% to 10% increase in gross margins.

Importance of Alignment in Joint Business Planning

Alignment between retailers and suppliers is crucial for successful assortment and SKU rationalization. A survey conducted by McKinsey & Company found that companies with highly aligned supply chains achieve 20% higher revenue growth and 30% greater profitability compared to their less aligned counterparts. This underscores the importance of collaborative planning in driving business success. Moreover, research by Deloitte indicates that businesses with aligned supply chains are 2.5 times more likely to have above-average revenue growth.

Identifying Best-Selling Products

One of the initial steps in alignment on assortment and SKU rationalization is identifying best-selling products. According to NielsenIQ, the top 20% of SKUs typically account for 80% of sales in retail environments. By focusing on these high-performing products, businesses can prioritize resources and optimize their assortments for maximum impact. Moreover, a study by The NPD Group revealed that retailers that effectively identify and promote best-selling products experience a 10% to 15% increase in sales.

Utilizing Data and Analytics

Data and analytics play a pivotal role in joint business planning for assortment and SKU rationalization. Research by IBM indicates that companies leveraging data analytics achieve 33% higher revenue growth compared to their peers. By harnessing advanced analytics tools, retailers and suppliers can gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, demand patterns, and product performance, enabling them to make informed decisions that drive profitability. Moreover, according to a report by McKinsey & Company, businesses that utilize data-driven insights in their decision-making processes experience a 5% to 6% increase in productivity.

Optimizing Product Offerings

Effective joint business planning involves continuously optimizing product offerings to meet customer demand effectively. According to a study by Deloitte, companies that invest in product assortment optimization initiatives experience an average revenue increase of 2% to 5%. By leveraging data-driven insights, businesses can introduce new products, expand product lines, and adjust assortment sizes to align with market trends and consumer preferences. Furthermore, a report by Accenture found that retailers that optimize their product offerings see a 10% to 15% increase in customer satisfaction scores.

Rationalizing SKUs

SKU rationalization is essential for streamlining operations and reducing costs. Research by Bain & Company suggests that SKU rationalization initiatives can lead to inventory reductions of 10% to 30% while improving service levels. By evaluating the entire product portfolio and eliminating underperforming SKUs, businesses can simplify inventory management, improve shelf availability, and enhance overall operational efficiency. Moreover, a study by The Retail Doctor revealed that retailers that rationalize their SKUs experience a 20% to 25% reduction in out-of-stock instances.

Measuring and Monitoring Performance

Continuous measurement and monitoring are essential for evaluating the effectiveness of assortment and SKU rationalization initiatives. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as sales growth, margin improvement, and inventory turnover provide valuable insights into the success of joint business planning efforts. Research by McKinsey & Company suggests that companies that effectively measure and monitor their supply chain performance achieve 19% higher profitability compared to their peers. Moreover, a study by The Aberdeen Group found that businesses that regularly monitor their KPIs experience a 10% to 15% improvement in operational efficiency.


Achieving alignment on assortment and SKU rationalization is critical for maximizing efficiency and profitability in retail operations. By leveraging data, analytics, and collaborative planning processes, retailers and suppliers can identify best-selling products, optimize offerings, and rationalize SKUs to drive growth and reduce costs. Supported by relevant facts, figures, and case studies, businesses can make informed decisions that enhance customer satisfaction and competitiveness in today’s dynamic retail landscape. Through effective joint business planning,retailers and suppliers can navigate challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and achieve sustainable success in the ever-evolving retail industry.

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Alan Yong CEO / Founder
Alan Yong is a distinguished eCommerce expert with an impressive career spanning over 30 years, primarily focusing on the consumer goods sector across multiple global markets, including the two largest consumer markets, China and the United States. With a deep expertise in multi-channel eCommerce, big data & analytics, performance marketing, and consumer-based supply chain and logistics, Alan has held pivotal roles as CEO and Global General Manager for multinational consumer packaged goods companies, driving significant digital transformations and eCommerce success.