Start Recovering Lost Sales in Your Manufacturing Company

lost sales down the drainLost sales are among the most important financial data a company needs to track.

When you lose sales, the dollar amount doesn’t just have a one-time effect on your bottom line. The situation can result in unhappy, dissatisfied customers who take their business somewhere else. It’s like money down the drain.

There are three types of lost sales:

  1. Customer requests for items you don’t stock.
  2. Requests for products that are temporarily out of stock. (All too often, “out-of-stock” items are in stock but inventory reports erroneously report that there are none available.)
  3. Requests for items you have but can’t deliver on time.

Without closely tracking lost sales, and the reasons behind them, your company has no way of knowing what your customers would buy from you if you had it to sell. Rather than factual information, you have guesses on what to manufacture or stock.

When there are multiple customer requests for products or services you can’t fulfill, you need to act quickly. Your customers are urging you to sell them more, so capture this valuable information.

The responsibility for tracking should fall to all departments. When you start to think of a lost sale as a dissatisfied and potentially lost customer, you’ll see that the need to document them becomes a company-wide issue.

The following Lost Sales Report was designed for a building supplies manufacturer. After using the report and carefully analyzing the data, the company developed a plan that better met customers’ needs, and added $250,000 to the bottom line.

Don’t force your customers to do business with competitors because you don’t provide what they want. Customers are loyal until they have a reason not to be.

Copy and paste the rows and columns from the following chart to begin determining where you might have some holes.


Employee making report_________________ Department__________________

Date of Request Item Requested Estimated Potential Purchase Reason Item Was Unavailable Potential Sales Loss ($) Estimated Gross Profit Loss ($)
(c) 2017 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with permission.

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