If you’re looking to deliver a great experience for both your employees and customers, it may be time to assess where your organization stands when it comes to overall inventory management, in addition to the steps you can take to optimize and streamline your inventory management practices. Determine how many of these best practices you currently follow and consider adding new ones to improve your inventory management system.
You use software—mobile and desktop applications—to manage inventory.
Why it matters: Accurate data takes the guesswork out of managing your inventory. In fact, real-time data can help transform your approach to inventory and supply chain management. Applications that can be used on mobile devices — from the shop floor to desktops in the main office— can offer visibility into inventory across all channels. Real-time data can be used to guide business decisions related to inventory levels, purchasing decisions and future need forecasting.
You maintain a lean system that eliminates excess stock and inactive inventory.
Why it matters: Cluttered storage rooms waste your employees' time when they can't find the supplies they need. Oversupply takes up shelf space leaving less room for new inventory and overbuying wastes money on stock that may be dead or obsolete before it can be used. Robust inventory management helps prevent these issues and can help you save money by eliminating dead and obsolete inventory.
You set minimum and maximum levels to guide reorders.
Why it matters: Inventory management can help you set appropriate stock levels and adjust them as needed. Accurate tracking and forecasting help prevent overbuying and also uncover use changes that show when inventory levels need to be adjusted up or down. By correctly aligning inventory to demand, you can prevent the bullwhip effect, where small fluctuations in demand create greater fluctuations further along the supply chain. Robust inventory management helps reduce the bullwhip effect.
Your most-needed and frequently used supplies are always in stock.
Why it matters: Maintenance, repair and operations materials costs rise and fall in proportion to how well inventory is managed. When critical supplies are not available, there are added procurement costs, such as expedited shipping or even work stoppages because equipment can’t be repaired. Customer managed inventory (CMI) helps businesses take control of their inventory, helping to ensure that critical items are always at hand and optimal stock levels are maintained.
Your employees can find what they need in a matter of minutes.
Why it matters: As mentioned earlier, an uncluttered storeroom helps employees find what they need quickly. Vending also provides an option to help you control access to your consumable inventory or durable items that are used and returned. Industrial vending can provide secure 24/7 access to key items at their point of use, and also help track inventory use and efficiency. Employees will spend less time searching for products and more time getting work done.
How would you rate the health of your inventory management? Take the quiz to assess your business.
Grainger's KeepStock Inventory Management solutions can help you improve productivity, save money and boost profitability.