On Shelf Availability / OSA

What is On Shelf Availability or OSA?

OSA stands for “On Shelf Availability” and applies to consumer products.

Making available to the shopper/consumer the right product, in the right place, at the right time and at the right price is the objective of any FMCG company, would it be manufacturer or distributor. One point is obvious: if the product is not in store when the customer wants to buy it, it will not sell!

OSA is sometimes confused with “out of stock“. However, while it is true that a stock-out harms OSA and that avoiding it is fundamental, it is ultimately only one link in a much longer supply chain. Ensuring OSA, avoiding stock-out, implies total coordination from manufacturing to the act of purchase, rightly qualified as “moment of truth“, in terms of:

  • Demand planning
  • Manufacturing
  • “Manufacturer” supply chain to serve distributor warehouses
  • Supply chain “distributor” to serve stores
  • In store shelf replenishment

For this chain to be as fluid as possible and ensure OSA, it is necessary to master several “parallel processes” among which:

  • Sales forecasting: a key point in demand planning that has an impact on manufacturing and the adequate supply of the raw material needed for it.
  • Efficient promotions: ensure proper planning and that promotions meet the shopper’s/consumer’s demand.
  • Efficient assortment: the most coherent and attractive offer according to the positioning of each and the size of the store.
  • Shelf management: define the right shelf space and positioning for each reference to ensure its visibility and avoid of stock-outs
  • Pricing: price definition according to the shopper’s/consumer’s expectations and product positioning.

As we can see, it would be very simplistic to limit OSA to a logistical process. Ensuring the shelf presence and attractiveness of the product offer involves all the departments of a company, from manufacturing to sales, including finance, marketing or supply chain both of manufacturers or distributors. Ultimately, OSA is nothing more and nothing less than the fundamental objective and mission of companies operating in FMCG.

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