In a business world where every penny, every item, and every customer counts, even minor improvements in supply chain management can make the difference between success and failure. Eliminating inaccurate quantities, disconnected databases, and poor product identification are just a few areas where many companies have room for improvement.
We’ve put together five tips to help you improve your inventory management and be on your way to even better supply chain management.
- Concise Categorization System
Warehouses can hold thousands to tens of thousands of parts which means you’ll need a concise and user-friendly categorization system to stay organized. Some warehouses prefer to use the selective inventory control method of “ABC classification.” This means that inventory parts are categorized according to their value and documentation requirements. For example, “A” items are the highest value items and need to be carefully controlled, while “C” items have minimal value and need only simple records. Keep in mind that every product and its associated SKU will have a unique supply and demand variability pattern, so not all SKUs can be tagged the same way. SKU variability can also be managed through the “ABC classification” system. Regardless of the method, all inventory parts should be neatly categorized with clearly labeled selections. Consider establishing exact syntax for parts labeling.
- User Friendly Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Just as no supply chain is complete without a warehouse, no warehouse is complete without a user-friendly warehouse management system (WMS). The most basic WMS will have a flexible location system, user customized parameters for tasks, and built-in integration with data collection devices. A WMS will increase inventory accuracy and storage capacity while reducing cycle times and labor costs. A WMS program also typically offers excellent inventory scheduling options. You may also choose to use your WMS as an inventory optimization tool to automatically monitor and manage supply and demand variability.
- Integrated Mobile Technology
Many WMS provide apps to allow salespeople to connect to the information. Mobile devices allow easy access to real-time, accurate inventory data and information. This can improve customer service and the overall supply chain speed. Using their mobile access, salespeople can immediately request replenishment requests when they notice low inventory levels in their stores. Finally, mobile technology can directly improve inventory management through its connection to the mobile POS system. When customers attempt to buy an item online, they will automatically be informed of product availability limitations.
- Upgraded Shipping System
Proper inventory management depends on the ability of the warehouse system and employees to process and handle products and packages. Shipping systems that cannot cope with current number of products and packages should be upgraded. As a result, many product handling and packing warehouses prefer to upgrade their conveyor systems. This could involve mobile conveyor machines that offer flexibility and convenience. As an alternative, they could be an integrated system of strategically placed conveyor machines. Adding a conveyor machine is an excellent way to increase inventory management and overall warehouse efficiency.
- Improved Supplier Relationships
Certain suppliers may be chronically late or deliver inaccurate shipments. Often, warehouse staff are too busy to individually respond to these random problems. However, warehouse management should closely monitor supply performance. In fact, the WMS can provide detailed, customized reports on supplier shipments. Consider using the WMS to audit supplier performance every quarter. This will assist you in identifying unreliable suppliers and provide opportunities for improvement. Armed with this information, you may choose to reward high performing suppliers with the chance to sell more, while reducing the number of poor performing suppliers.
Is your inventory software providing the accuracy and real-time data that you need? ASI can help you implement the right system that will allow you to restructure inefficient processes, reduce backorders and keep shipment flowing smoothly. Contact us or click here to learn about some of our products.