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What is MOQ? Everything You Need To Know

what is moq
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MOQ, or Minimum Order Quantity, is an essential term in the world of inventory management and online transactions. It is crucial for sellers to understand their MOQ from their suppliers, but what is an MOQ, and how is it used in business?

What does MOQ mean?

MOQ stands for Minimum Order Quantity, the smallest number of products you must purchase in one order from a supplier. Suppliers set MOQs to avoid wasting resources on orders that deliver little or no profit. It can be based on the number of units or the total order value.

What is MOQ?

By using a MOQ, sellers can better manage their inventory and transactions, ensuring they understand the requirements for purchasing products from their suppliers. It is particularly common in business-to-business (B2B) transactions, especially in wholesale and manufacturing industries. The right MOQ can help businesses reduce inventory costs, streamline production, and strengthen vendor relationships.

Low Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)

Low MOQs allow sellers to have less inventory on hand but may need to restock more often, potentially increasing administrative or shipping costs. There’s also the risk of not having enough stock on hand when ordering small inventory quantities. In unanticipated moments of high demand, businesses may lose out on sales. A benefit, however, of a low MOQ is reducing working capital investment, which decreases the chance of stock becoming obsolete and reduces warehouse costs.

High Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)

High MOQs require the customer to order large quantities of inventory, which might involve longer lead times and require more storage space. Buyers also risk ordering more stock than they need, holding onto it for too long and making it obsolete. On the plus side, the administrative costs will be lower, as orders will be placed less frequently. There will also be more opportunities to buy bulk quantities at lower prices and less chance of running out of stock.

Low and High MOQs have their benefits and drawbacks depending on available revenue and warehouse space:  

Low MOQHigh MOQ
Initial InvestmentLower initial investment is required.Higher initial investment is needed.
Inventory RiskLower risk of unsold inventory.Higher risk of unsold inventory.
Cash FlowBetter cash flow due to less tied-up capital.Cash flow may be constrained.
FlexibilityGreater flexibility in product assortment.Limited flexibility; committed to larger lots.
Supplier RelationshipMay not get priority treatment from suppliers.Likely to get better terms and priority.
Unit CostGenerally higher per-unit cost.Lower per-unit cost due to economies of scale.
Quality ControlEasier to manage and inspect smaller lots.More challenging to manage quality control.
Market TestingEasier to test new products in the market.Difficult to pivot if a product doesn’t sell.
Lead TimeUsually, shorter lead times.Longer lead times due to larger production runs.
Storage CostsLower storage costs.Higher storage costs due to bulk inventory.

Benefits of MOQ

MOQs provide various benefits to suppliers and buyers, helping streamline inventory management, increase profitability, and foster stronger, mutually beneficial relationships between parties.

Benefits for Suppliers

MOQ, or Minimum Order Quantity, offers several advantages to suppliers in the inventory management process. By setting a minimum order level, suppliers can:

  • Improve inventory control: MOQ helps suppliers manage their stock more efficiently, avoid overstocking, and reduce inventory holding costs.
  • Increase profitability: Ensuring a minimum order level ensures suppliers cover their production costs, helping them achieve higher profit margins from each transaction.
  • Optimise production: MOQ encourages more streamlined production processes, enabling suppliers to reduce waste and improve manufacturing efficiency.
  • Enhance customer relationships: By setting clear boundaries on order quantities, suppliers can develop mutually beneficial relationships with their buyers, ensuring both parties understand each other’s expectations.

Benefits for Buyers

Buyers also enjoy several benefits when working with suppliers who enforce MOQs. These include:

  • Lower per-unit costs: Ordering in more significant quantities often reduces per-unit pricing, ultimately saving buyers money on their purchases.
  • Improved product quality: A supplier’s commitment to MOQs indicates their focus on delivering quality products that meet buyers’ demands.
  • Greater bargaining power: By agreeing to meet a supplier’s MOQ, buyers can often negotiate better prices or favourable payment terms.
  • Easier inventory management: MOQs assist buyers in managing their stock more effectively, avoiding excessive inventory that might tie up their working capital and warehouse space.

Factors that Affect MOQ

There are a few different variables that affect whether an MOQ is low or high. Understanding these factors can help businesses make informed decisions when negotiating with suppliers.

Production Costs

Items that are expensive to manufacture usually come with a lower MOQ. This is because the supplier aims to recover the high production costs through a smaller number of sales at a higher price point. Products that are economical and straightforward to produce often have higher MOQs. The supplier can afford to produce these items in bulk, encouraging buyers to purchase larger quantities.

Market Demand 

The level of market demand for a product can significantly impact the MOQ set by suppliers. If a product is in high demand, suppliers may be more flexible with their MOQs, as they are confident that the product will sell quickly. On the other hand, suppliers might set a higher MOQ for items with lower market demand to ensure that they can sell off their inventory without incurring losses.

Type of Product 

The nature of the product itself can also be a determining factor for MOQ. For instance, perishable goods like food items may have lower MOQs to minimise the risk of spoilage. In contrast, durable goods like machinery or furniture can afford higher MOQs, as they have a longer shelf life and are less likely to go to waste. 

Shipping Costs

Shipping costs can be a significant factor in determining your MOQ. Bulk shipments typically have lower shipping costs per unit, whereas ordering small quantities may result in higher shipping costs. So, it’s essential to consider shipping costs when negotiating MOQs with suppliers and setting your reorder quantities to maintain profitability while meeting demand.

Can Minimum Order Quantities change over time?

Yes, minimum order quantities (MOQ) can change over time. As a supplier, you may need to adjust MOQ based on factors such as production capabilities, market demand, and changes in supply chain availability.

What is the role of MOQ in inventory management?

MOQ plays a crucial role in inventory management by ensuring suppliers maintain efficient inventory levels. This prevents overstocking or understocking situations, which can lead to supply chain issues, bigger costs and potential losses.

What is the difference between a reorder quantity and a manufacturer’s requirements? 

Reorder quantity refers to the amount of product you order when stock levels reach the reorder point. Our guide on how to calculate reorder levels can help you out with this. 

Manufacturer requirements, on the other hand, are the conditions set by the manufacturer or supplier to produce and sell their goods, such as requiring a minimum order (MOQ) or specific production codes. Balancing your reorder quantity with the manufacturer’s requirements is essential to maintain a healthy inventory and supply chain.

How to Implement a Minimum Order Quantity

Implementing a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) involves a careful balancing act. The objective is to ensure profitability for your e-commerce business while optimising inventory management. Setting an MOQ isn’t a simple process and requires a comprehensive understanding of various business elements. By considering customer demand, holding costs, and profit margins, you can establish an MOQ supporting profitability and efficient inventory management.

Calculating Minimum Order Quantity

To arrive at an appropriate MOQ, you need to consider various elements, such as customer demand, holding costs, and desired profit margins.

Customer Demand

Begin by assessing the typical order quantities per month. You can also examine the MOQs established by competitors or businesses in similar sectors. The aim is to set an MOQ that neither deters smaller enterprises nor undermines your profitability.

Holding Costs

The expense of storing inventory, also known as holding costs, is a crucial consideration. These costs include warehouse space, utilities, and the potential depreciation of goods over time. A higher MOQ might reduce per-unit holding costs but could also lead to overstocking, increasing overall holding costs. So finding a middle ground that aligns with your storage capabilities and financial constraints is essential.

Profit Margin

Lastly, decide on a profit margin that keeps your business afloat. The price must cover all associated costs, including production and holding costs, while also providing a reasonable profit margin. This will help you determine an MOQ that aligns with your financial goals.

How We Can Help

Here at Delta Fulfilment, we have over 200,000 ft of warehouse space in the UK, so we can accommodate sellers who have small MOQs to large MOQs. To discover how we can assist you with your storage, inventory management, and fulfilment needs, click below to get in touch with one of our in-house specialists.

MOQ FAQs

What is the right MOQ to offer my customers?

The right MOQ to offer your customers depends on your specific business situation. Consider your production capacity, break-even point, storage costs, and market demand. Offer an MOQ that balances profitability and encourages customers to place orders without overwhelming your production or storage capabilities.

How do I communicate MOQ to customers?

Communicate your MOQ to customers by being transparent about the reasons behind it. Clearly state the MOQ on product pages, quotes, and invoices. Provide information about potential benefits, such as cost savings through bulk purchases or faster turnaround time if MOQ is met.

What if you get the MOQ completely wrong?

If you get the MOQ wrong, it may lead to reduced sales or increased costs. Reevaluate your MOQ calculations and adjust accordingly. Communicate any changes to suppliers and customers promptly and ensure they understand the reasons behind these adjustments.

What does MOQ mean in pricing?

MOQ influences pricing since suppliers often offer lower prices for larger order quantities. When setting the MOQ, suppliers must consider production, storage, and profitability costs. Customers who meet or exceed the MOQ may receive better pricing as it ensures higher production efficiency for the supplier.

What is 100 MOQ?

A 100 MOQ means that the minimum order quantity for a product is 100 units. In this case, a seller needs to place an order of at least 100 product units to meet the suppliers requirements.

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