The Meaning of Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ): How to calculate it and optimise your business

Martin Jezy03 June 20248 min

Understanding MOQ, or Minimum Order Quantity, is crucial in the business landscape. 

It's essentially the minimum quantity of goods you need to commit to purchasing before a supplier will entertain your order. But what exactly does this entail? How do you go about determining your MOQ? And why does it matter? Don't worry, we're here to demystify these questions for you in this blog post. So, let's delve into the details!

  • What does MOQ mean?
  • How and why is MOQ used by suppliers?
    • High Minimum Order Quantity
    • Low Minimum Order Quantity
  • Formula: The best way to calculate your MOQ
    • Finding the breakeven point
  • Comparison and difference between reorder quantity and manufacturer requirements
  • Advantages of the minimum order quantity (MOQ) for your company and your customers
    • How MOQ influences inventory management
  • How automated fulfilment specialists support you with MOQ requirements

What does MOQ mean?

MOQ, short for Minimum Order Quantity, is a stipulation set by manufacturers regarding the minimum quantity of orders to be placed in a single transaction. This criterion is essential for manufacturers to sustain profitability, particularly considering their operation on narrow profit margins. Hence, they necessitate larger order volumes to generate sufficient revenue to sustain their operations.

How and why is MOQ used by suppliers?

Suppliers implement Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs) for several reasons:

  1. Firstly, MOQs help suppliers optimize their production processes by ensuring that each production run reaches a certain volume threshold, maximizing efficiency and minimizing per-unit production costs. This is particularly crucial for industries where fixed costs, such as machinery setup or raw material procurement, constitute a significant portion of production expenses.
  2. Secondly, MOQs enable suppliers to maintain profitability. By stipulating minimum order quantities, suppliers can offset the costs associated with production, storage, and distribution across a larger number of units. This helps ensure that each transaction generates sufficient revenue to cover expenses and yield a reasonable profit margin.

Moreover, MOQs serve as a means for suppliers to manage their inventory levels effectively. By encouraging larger order volumes, suppliers can reduce the frequency of inventory turnover, minimize storage costs, and avoid stockouts or shortages. This strategic inventory management helps suppliers maintain a steady flow of goods to meet customer demand while minimizing excess inventory holding costs.

  • High Minimum Order Quantity

    A high Minimum Order Quantity indicates that a company requires customers to purchase a significant volume of products in a single order. This practice is often employed to streamline operations and minimize administrative costs associated with processing numerous small orders. It also serves as a barrier to entry, favoring larger clients who can commit to substantial purchase volumes. Moreover, a high MOQ may reflect the company's investment in specialized equipment or materials, making smaller-scale production financially unfeasible.

  • Low Minimum Order Quantity

    Conversely, a low Minimum Order Quantity signifies that a company is willing to accommodate smaller order volumes from customers. This flexibility can be advantageous for startups and small businesses, allowing them to test new products or enter new markets without a significant financial commitment. It also enhances accessibility, enabling businesses with limited capital to engage in production and sales activities without the burden of high inventory costs. Additionally, a low MOQ fosters inclusivity, attracting a broader range of customers and promoting business growth.

The best way to calculate your MOQ

The formula to calculate Economic Order Quantity (EOQ), which is often used as a basis for determining Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ), is as follows:

EOQ = √((2 * D * S) / H)


  • EOQ = Economic Order Quantity
  • D = Annual demand (in units)
  • S = Ordering cost per order
  • H = Holding cost per unit per year

Instead of calculating EOQ directly, some businesses may use a percentage of EOQ as their MOQ. For example, they may set their MOQ at 80% or 90% of the calculated EOQ to ensure they are ordering in economical quantities while allowing some flexibility.

This formula helps to identify the optimal order quantity that minimizes total inventory costs, considering both ordering costs (costs associated with placing orders) and holding costs (costs associated with holding inventory). By calculating EOQ, businesses can make informed decisions about their order quantities to optimize inventory management and minimize costs.

Calculating your Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) involves several considerations to ensure that your purchasing decisions align with your business goals and supplier requirements. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you determine your MOQ effectively:

  1. Evaluate Demand Forecast: Begin by analyzing your demand forecast for the specific product you intend to purchase. Consider factors such as historical sales data, market trends, seasonal variations, and any upcoming promotions or events that may influence demand.
  2. Assess Storage Capacity: Determine the maximum quantity of goods you can store efficiently without incurring excessive storage costs or facing space constraints. This assessment will help you strike a balance between ordering in bulk to meet MOQ requirements and avoiding overstocking.
  3. Consider Budget Constraints: Evaluate your budget constraints and financial resources to ascertain the feasibility of meeting supplier MOQs. Balancing your desired order quantity with budget limitations is crucial to ensuring cost-effective procurement.
  4. Negotiate with Suppliers: Engage in negotiations with suppliers to explore opportunities for flexible MOQs based on your specific requirements. Some suppliers may be willing to adjust MOQs for loyal customers or based on the potential for future business growth.
  5. Factor in Lead Times: Take into account production lead times and delivery schedules when calculating your MOQ. Ensure that your order quantity allows sufficient time for production, transportation, and any unforeseen delays to avoid disruptions to your supply chain.
  6. Assess Economic Order Quantity (EOQ): Utilize the concept of Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) to optimize your order quantity by balancing ordering costs and holding costs. EOQ helps minimize total inventory costs by identifying the most cost-effective order quantity based on demand and inventory holding costs.
  7. Review Supplier Terms and Conditions: Familiarize yourself with supplier terms and conditions regarding MOQs, as well as any associated pricing, discounts, or penalties for orders below the MOQ threshold. Understanding these terms will enable you to make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls.

By following these steps and considering various factors such as demand forecast, storage capacity, budget constraints, negotiation opportunities, lead times, EOQ principles, and supplier terms, you can calculate your MOQ effectively and optimize your purchasing strategy for business success.

Finding the breakeven point

  • The breakeven point is the quantity at which your total costs (including production, procurement, storage, and distribution costs) are equal to your total revenue. In other words, it's the point at which you neither make a profit nor incur a loss.

To find the breakeven point, you'll need to consider the fixed costs and variable costs associated with producing and procuring the goods, as well as any additional costs such as storage and transportation expenses. Once you've determined your total costs, you can calculate the breakeven quantity by dividing these costs by the unit selling price minus the unit variable cost.

By identifying the breakeven point, you can assess the impact of different order quantities on your profitability and make informed decisions about your MOQ. If the breakeven quantity is higher than the supplier's MOQ, it may be more cost-effective to order larger quantities to reach profitability. Conversely, if the breakeven quantity is lower than the supplier's MOQ, you may need to negotiate with the supplier or explore alternative sourcing options to minimize costs.

Comparison and difference between reorder quantity and manufacturer requirements

Reorder Quantity: Reorder quantity refers to the quantity of a product that a business decides to reorder when its inventory falls below a certain level, known as the reorder point. This quantity is determined based on factors such as demand forecasts, lead times, and desired service levels. Essentially, it's the amount of stock needed to replenish inventory and maintain adequate levels to meet customer demand until the next reorder cycle.

Manufacturer Requirements (MOQ): Manufacturer Requirements, often expressed as Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ), are the minimum quantity of products that a manufacturer or supplier is willing to produce or sell in a single order. MOQs are typically set to ensure efficient production runs, optimize production costs, and meet profitability targets. Suppliers impose MOQs to ensure that each order generates sufficient revenue to cover production, overhead, and administrative costs.

Comparison: While reorder quantity focuses on the internal inventory management needs of a business, manufacturer requirements (MOQ) are external constraints imposed by suppliers. Reorder quantity is determined based on factors such as demand forecasts, inventory turnover rates, and desired service levels, aiming to minimize stockouts and backorders while avoiding excess inventory holding costs.

Manufacturer requirements (MOQ), on the other hand, are dictated by supplier capabilities, production processes, and cost structures. MOQs may influence a business's reorder quantity decisions, as orders need to meet or exceed the supplier's MOQ to be accepted. Businesses must strike a balance between their reorder quantity and manufacturer requirements to optimize inventory management, minimize costs, and maintain favorable supplier relationships.

  • In summary, while reorder quantity focuses on internal inventory management needs, manufacturer requirements (MOQ) are external constraints set by suppliers. Both factors play crucial roles in determining optimal order quantities and ensuring efficient inventory replenishment processes. Balancing these considerations is essential for effective inventory management and supply chain optimization.

Advantages of the minimum order quantity (MOQ) for your company and your customers

Implementing Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) can yield several benefits for both your business and your customers. Let's explore how:

For Your Business:

  1. Streamlined Operations: MOQs allow you to consolidate orders into larger quantities, streamlining your production and procurement processes. This leads to increased efficiency and reduced administrative overhead.
  2. Cost Efficiency: By encouraging bulk purchases, MOQs enable you to benefit from economies of scale. This means lower production costs per unit, translating into higher profit margins for your business.
  3. Improved Cash Flow: Larger orders resulting from MOQs can help stabilize your cash flow by ensuring consistent revenue streams and reducing the frequency of transactions.
  4. Enhanced Inventory Management: MOQs facilitate better inventory management by reducing stockouts and excess inventory. This allows you to optimize your inventory levels and minimize storage costs.
  5. Customer Segmentation: MOQs allow you to cater to different customer segments more effectively. You can offer flexible MOQs tailored to the needs of different customers, from small businesses to larger enterprises.

For Your Customers:

  1. Cost Savings: By ordering in larger quantities, customers can often benefit from lower unit prices, helping them save money on their purchases.
  2. Convenience: MOQs can simplify the ordering process for customers by reducing the frequency of orders and minimizing administrative tasks associated with multiple transactions.
  3. Supply Assurance: Larger orders resulting from MOQs ensure that customers have a steady supply of products, reducing the risk of stockouts and ensuring continuity of operations.
  4. Customization Options: MOQs can enable customers to access customization options that may not be available for smaller orders. This allows them to tailor products to their specific needs or preferences.
  5. Competitive Advantage: Customers who can meet MOQ requirements may gain a competitive advantage by accessing better pricing, customization options, and reliable supply compared to competitors who cannot meet the minimum order threshold.

How MOQ influences inventory management

  • Inventory Levels: MOQ directly affects the quantity of products a business needs to keep in stock. Meeting supplier MOQs often requires purchasing larger quantities than immediate demand necessitates, leading to higher inventory levels. Conversely, failing to meet MOQs may result in stockouts or insufficient inventory levels to fulfill customer orders.
  • Inventory Turnover: MOQ can influence inventory turnover rates, which measure how quickly inventory is sold and replaced within a given period. Higher MOQs may lead to longer inventory turnover cycles as larger quantities are held in stock for extended periods. Conversely, lower MOQs may result in faster turnover as inventory is replenished more frequently.
  • Storage Costs: Higher MOQs often lead to increased storage costs due to the need for larger storage spaces and longer storage durations. Businesses may incur expenses for warehousing, shelving, utilities, and inventory management systems to accommodate larger inventory volumes resulting from meeting MOQ requirements.
  • Capital Tie-Up: Meeting supplier MOQs may require significant upfront capital to purchase large quantities of inventory. This ties up capital that could be allocated to other business operations or investments. Conversely, failing to meet MOQs may result in excess capital being tied up in slow-moving or obsolete inventory.
  • Order Frequency: MOQ influences the frequency of orders placed with suppliers. Higher MOQs typically lead to less frequent orders as businesses strive to maximize the value of each purchase. Conversely, lower MOQs may result in more frequent orders to replenish inventory levels, leading to increased administrative and transactional costs.
  • Risk of Obsolescence: Purchasing larger quantities to meet MOQs increases the risk of inventory obsolescence, especially for products with limited shelf life or changing market demand. Businesses must carefully manage inventory levels and monitor product demand to minimize the risk of obsolete inventory.


How automated fulfilment specialists support you with MOQ requirements

As a fulfilment service provider, Quivo understands the critical role that Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs) can play for businesses. Our aim at Quivo is to assist companies in optimizing their order quantities while meeting the requirements of their suppliers. We offer tailored solutions that enable businesses to manage their inventory, consolidate orders, and optimize costs.

Utilizing our advanced warehouse management systems and data-driven analytical tool, the Connector, we help businesses find the right balance between order quantities, inventory levels, and cash flow. We work closely with suppliers to negotiate flexible MOQs, ensuring that businesses receive the best possible purchasing terms.

Our experienced team of logistics experts is dedicated to helping businesses streamline their ordering process and ensure they always have sufficient inventory to meet their customers' demands. With Quivo, businesses can efficiently manage their MOQs and optimize their supply chain operations for success. Write to us at any time!


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