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May 20, 2016

Optimization Tools for Inventory Management: Predicted in 2013, Delivered Now

In logistics, details are everything, and this piece by Modern Materials Handling captures this way of thinking. Right up front Contributing Editor Maida Napolitano gets to the heart of logistics planning: 

 


“If you have too little inventory you risk lost sales and customers from ‘out of stocks.’ If you have too much inventory, you’ll need more of everything—more space, more transportation, more handling, more labor and more money…”


 

This  summary sounds exactly what Infoplus said in our Know Thy Inventory series, and it sets the stage for eight more guidelines that Napolitano shares with organizations for best-in-class inventory management.

A few more quotes are worth calling out:

When it comes to inventory optimization tools…

“You want something that when the results come out, and with minimal human intervention, it can execute on those results. It may seek approval for a few items, but will work seamlessly with business systems on most recommendations.” Spot on. Best-in-class tools are not just for “doing the math” or transferring data; they automate procedures to reduce human error.


Excel is passé…

“According to Michael Wohlwend, vice president of SAP Americas and this year’s vice president of the Warehousing Education and Research Council, ‘the days of managing inventory using Excel spreadsheets are passé.’” In other words, business solutions, sales, and operations are all coming under single platforms with advanced analytics and data flow.


Keep an eye on your suppliers…

“There are suppliers that don’t necessarily stick to their schedule or deliver on their commitments...

Our experts suggest closely monitoring supplier activity. Most systems track the inbound receipt of an item: There is a promise date, an actual receipt date, quantity ordered, quantity received, and the condition in which it was received. These are metrics that can be tracked and analyzed to determine a supplier’s reliability.” That’s true.  Problems with receiving can cascade and create problems for fulfillment. Getting things right at that stage is critical.

Time to go mobile…

“Mobile technologies and mobile user interfaces are now ubiquitous for capturing data on inventory… SAP’s Wohlwend points out how most sales associates on the store floor now have mobile devices with real-time inventory of the store. ‘Not only are they able to improve customer service, but when inventory is low, they’re able to generate a replenishment from the DC down to the store.’” Indeed, “go mobile” is not even sufficient anymore. Systems need to be platform independent and able to adapt to whatever device the current user has to hand.

If you are interested in all eight  guidelines, read the entire piece on the Modern Materials Handling website.

On the other hand, if you are interested in a modern software solutions that speaks directly to these guidelines, ask us for a demo of the Infoplus cloud-based solution.

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