SKU Rationalization: Maximizing Performance and Reducing Costs

SKU rationalization is a process that retailers use to evaluate and optimize their product offerings by eliminating underperforming products. The ultimate goal is to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase profits. Viindoo will explore SKU rationalization in this article, discuss its benefits, and provide a step-by-step implementation guide.

What is SKU Rationalization?

A stock keeping unit (SKU) is a unique identifier assigned to each product and service available for sale. SKU rationalization is the process of evaluating all SKUs to identify those that are unprofitable or not contributing significantly to overall revenue. Retailers often use SKU rationalization to streamline inventory management and improve profitability.

What is sku rationalization

What is SKU Rationalization?

What is SKU Rationalization?

The SKU rationalization formula involves analyzing sales data and comparing it with the cost of carrying inventory. The formula is:

((Sales – Cost of Goods Sold)/Total Sales) x 100

This formula helps retailers determine the profitability of each SKU and make informed decisions about which products to eliminate.

>>> See more: Top  SKU generator Tool That You Must Know

Benefits of SKU Rationalization

There are several benefits to implementing SKU rationalization in your business.

Reduce Costs

By eliminating underperforming products, retailers can reduce inventory costs, improve cash flow, and increase profit margins. This also frees up storage space and reduces the need for additional warehouse staff.

Improve Efficiency

A smaller product offering can simplify inventory management and make it easier to forecast demand. This can lead to fewer stockouts, reduced lead times, and a more efficient supply chain.

Increase Productivity

With fewer SKUs, employees can focus on selling and promoting the most profitable products. This can lead to increased productivity and higher sales.

Better Customer Experience

When retailers focus on selling only the best-performing products, customers are more likely to have a positive experience. This can improve brand loyalty and lead to increased sales over time.

sku rationalization

Benefits of SKU Rationalization

>>>> See more: Top 5 SKU management software Can Streamline Your Business Operations

How to Implement SKU Rationalization

Implementing SKU rationalization is crucial in streamlining inventory and improving business performance. By following a systematic approach, you can optimize your product portfolio and make informed decisions about which SKUs to retain and which to eliminate. The following steps outline a practical implementation process for SKU rationalization:

Step 1: Analyze Sales Data

Start by thoroughly examining your sales data. Look for patterns, trends, and insights that can help you identify underperforming SKUs. Analyzing sales volume, profitability, and customer demand will provide valuable information for the rationalization process.

Step 2: Identify Underperforming SKUs

Based on the sales data analysis, identify SKUs that are consistently underperforming. These could be products with low sales, declining demand, or low profitability. It's essential to focus on objective criteria to ensure unbiased decision-making.

Step 3: Evaluate SKUs

Once underperforming SKUs are identified, evaluate each one individually. Consider product uniqueness, market demand, competitive landscape, and strategic alignment. Assess the relevance and value of each SKU about your overall business goals.

Step 4: Determine Which SKUs to Eliminate

Based on the evaluation, decide which SKUs to eliminate from your product portfolio. Consider removing redundant or overlapping products, slow-moving items, or those that no longer align with your business strategy. Prioritize SKUs with the least impact on sales and profitability.

Step 5: Communicate Changes

Clear and effective communication is crucial when implementing SKU rationalization. Inform your stakeholders, including sales teams, distributors, and customers, about the changes to the product portfolio. Provide them with ample notice and explanation to minimize any potential disruptions.

Following these steps, you can successfully implement SKU rationalization and optimize your inventory. This process will improve business performance by reducing costs, boosting sales, enhancing operational efficiency, and focusing on key products that drive growth.

sku rationalization

How to Implement SKU Rationalization

Pros and Cons of SKU Rationalization

Before implementing SKU rationalization, it is essential to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of this process.


  • Increased profitability
  • Streamlined inventory management
  • More efficient supply chain
  • Improved customer experience
  • Increased productivity


  • Potential loss of revenue if popular products are eliminated
  • Potential negative impact on supplier relationships
  • Reduced variety of products available for customers

>>> See also: Top 10 best sales management software


SKU rationalization focuses on evaluating individual products within a product line, while product line rationalization evaluates the overall performance of an entire product line.

How often should SKU rationalization be performed?

SKU rationalization should be performed regularly, at least once or twice a year, to ensure that the product offerings are optimized for profitability.

Customers may be unhappy if their favorite products are eliminated, but focusing on selling the most profitable products can ultimately lead to a better customer experience and increased loyalty.

Eliminating certain products may negatively impact relationships with suppliers, mainly if those products make up a significant portion of the retailer's business. Communicating changes clearly to suppliers and working collaboratively to find alternative solutions is important.

Yes, SKU rationalization can be automated using software tools that analyze sales data and recommend which products to eliminate. However, validating the results and using human judgment in the decision-making process is important.

SKU rationalization is a powerful tool that retailers can use to optimize their product offerings and improve profitability. By identifying underperforming SKUs, retailers can reduce inventory costs, improve efficiency, and increase sales of the most profitable products.

SKU Rationalization: Maximizing Performance and Reducing Costs
Viindoo Technology Joint Stock Company, Monica Nguyen 18 May, 2023

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