Free Subscription

  • Access 15 free news articles each month


Try one month for $5
  • Unlimited access to news,insights and opinions
  • Quarterly and weekly magazines
  • Independent research reports and forecasts
  • Quarterly webinars with industry experts
  • Q&A with retail leaders
  • Career advice
  • Exclusive Masterclass access. Part of Retail Week 2021

Weightings – a misconception

Abstract Blurred Boxes On Rows Of ShelvesAre you using weightings?  If so, stop.

A weighting is an arbitrary number attached to an algorithm (of sorts) by someone who believes they have a divine power to predict the unpredictable.

Here is a crude example.  We are trying to set performance criteria for our buyers and we workshop what we think are the most important factors.  We conclude that GP$, age of stock, inventory levels and sell through are important but not equally important.  So we decide that gross profit dollars should have a weighting of 60 per cent; age of stock 20 per cent; inventory levels 10 per cent; and sell through 10 per cent.

We now somehow attach these weightings to each of the criteria and we calculate that the buyer has a score of 68 and we therefore calculate the buyer’s bonus as 68 per cent of the ‘full’ bonus that the buyer could have earned.

If you haven’t followed this you are blessed with stupidity because it is only an idiot of extreme intelligence with a high IQ who could develop such a ridiculous system.

A similar approach can be adopted almost anywhere.  Allocations, replenishments – you name it – and everyone sits back happily as things just happen.

Several years later someone challenges the weightings and so they are changed.  This is called progress and needs to be rewarded.  The person who challenged the weightings is formally recognised and awarded the coveted Visionary of the Year award.

With complete confidence and with no possibility of being contradicted, I categorically declare that any/all weightings in any shape or form should be stopped today. The reason being that nobody can say that weightings are ‘correct’ or are even helpful.

They are arbitrary, random, subjective, uninformed, based on chance, illogical and capricious.  And these are their better qualities.

Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at or 0414 631 702

Access exclusive analysis, locked news and reports with Inside Retail Weekly. Subscribe today and get our premium print publication delivered to your door every week.

You have 7 free articles.