SKU Proliferation

Published by Lex on

Inventory scanner

SKU proliferation is a real problem for organizations. I am amazed that Microsoft has well over 5000 software SKUs. This doesn’t even count the SKUs of its hardware products….

There’s Windows, there’s Office, there Server products, and there are its cloud products…

But it seems like rather than having fewer SKUs and making you pick some options, it would seem that Microsoft would prefer to have a different SKU for each option and price point.

Since there are lot of products and options within each of those categories I understand why they have a large number, but when there are 15 SKUs for Microsoft Voice products you know there are issues.

SKUs are not cheap to carry either. Clearly, the cost varies by industry. and the lower the cost to add a SKU the greater the likelihood of adding them.

Of course, SKU logic is definitely a company centric way of looking at the world. SKUs are usually not a benefit for the end user. SKUs somehow keep things organized internally. An end customer generally doesn’t care about the SKU. While there is brand value in product and model numbers, SKUs don’t add anyvappeal to the product.

What is even funnier about SKUs is just how precisely imprecise they are. A Google search on a SKU gets you more results than just the SKU you want.

I would love to be able to search for a SKU and find just the product I want. Even if it is just on the manufacturer’s website. However, there is a still a lot ambiguity in products and SKUs. There is overlap…there is variation …and evolution over time.

But SKUs are a hierarchy to provide management structure for measuring the success of a product (depending on your definition). In this context SKU proliferation makes perfect sense, it is the measures behind the SKUs that you have to wonder about.


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