How well are you Managing Your Inventory?
Posted on:  Aug 31, 2010

Selling goods in multiple channels means dealing with multi-channel inventory planning. It may at first sound exaggerated, but how well you plan and manage your inventory often determines your customer service level and profits. Right since the multichannel distribution was in its infancy, to a situation called NOW where it is the very need of the product-based companies, the guru mantra of inventory management has been just one: Streamlining and Managing Inventory.

To explain the point mentioned above, let us take the scenario of Company A and Company B, both of which are let us say, in Home Appliance industry. Both A and B would have multiple distribution centers, and the objective of both would remain the same- shorten the delivery time to the customer and earn maximum profit.
While A recognizes the importance of managing inventory in the following ways, it stresses on keeping an automated track on its inventory:
·         Cost of storage space
·         Cost of stock movement
·         Cost of time spent managing the inventory
·         Any cost of damaged or stolen inventory
·         Type and quantity of stock in-hand
·         Type and quantity of stock lying at the secondary and tertiary level
·         Type and quantity of stock-out and over-stock
So Company A knows WHAT its sales distribution channel has and WHEN. The customer satisfaction ratio hence increases and so does the ROI.
Company B, on the flip side, relies on the idea that it can manage inventory through emails and excel sheets. It sets the Minimum Stock Level (MSL) at every distributor and stockist level manually. Unlike Company ‘A’, there are no reminders or alerts to upgrade the inventory level, so ‘B’ places a dedicated employee that checks the MSL and updates the sales head. There are also no real-time inventory updates, which company ‘A’ experiences by automating their inventory and sales management. Maintaining excel sheets may also be error-prone, while Company A enjoys 100% error-free and real-time updates about its inventory.
‘B’ thus loses its focus on Inventory Management, which results in ordering too many of one thing, or too little of something else.
What does ‘B’ need to manage effective inventory?
We clearly see the pitfalls that ‘B’ could have avoided with detailed and dynamic automated sales reports. They let you easily track your inventory, see what is on stock, spot sales trends, and use historical data to better forecast your manufacturing needs. These reports also alert you when it is time to reorder for stocks that are running low, or manage the stock that is lying in excess.  

Like ‘A’, if you also feel the push to manage your sales processes and streamline your inventory, you ought to know and implement the 2 important things- ‘When to Order’ and ‘How Much to Order’. Give your business a chance

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