Does your Warehouse look a bit like this?
If you’ve been in business long enough, you’ll probably be familiar with the heated debates that can arise around the topic of inventory. I’ve been in many a meeting where the agenda finally turns to inventory management and people start looking at their watches. Managing products or equipment is one of those tasks that we never find easy. I have seen a few management staff who feel that if the warehouse manager did the job right, all those costly stock-takes wouldn’t be needed!
Of course, those of us in the know realise that no matter how hard you work, or how good your inventory management software is, management of ‘stuff’ is never easy. And it doesn’t really help when every stock-take seems to find less than it should rather than more.
The only hope of properly tracking your ‘stuff’ is to have good ERP software and good processes. Many ERP systems these days have inventory management either built in, or as an add-on module. As well as this there are also dedicated Inventory Management Systems. In general, it is better to use the inventory system of a full ERP as it gives you proper integration with the rest of your system and provides “one source of the truth”.
Of course, the reason inventory management can be a difficult topic is because everybody wants something different out of it. When choosing your Inventory Management Software, you may need one or more of these features:
- Location management and binning
- Stock-takes (of course!)
- Product Sourcing / location chaining
- Expiry / Lots / Batches / Shelf Life
It’s likely your particular requirements in each of these areas will be completely different to everyone else’s, so another vital ability is that the ERP software can be configured to your needs. Very often I have seen business practices twisted up into a ball trying to fit in with a particular piece of off-the-shelf software. Whatever you do, get into bed with a good partner who understands your industry and ensures they are a core part of your team when designing inventory management software processes. It may cost more up front to set up correctly in the ERP software, but it will save you in the end!
I know of one case where a customer set up thousands of warehouse locations to allow for reporting on product dimensions such as colour/size etc. This is not the right way to use location management in an inventory system! A quick discussion with their software partner would have revealed that there were at least three different ways to meet their business process requirements without gumming up their inventory structure.
So, the moral of the story is that inventory management can be a complex thing with lots of pitfalls. Leverage your software partner to manage your ‘stuff’ the right way and the first time!
If you’re eager to hear more, contact us today on 1300 583 097.