Most supply chains include six stages: sourcing of raw materials, production, processing and packaging, storage, wholesale distribution, and retail redistribution to consumers. For this process to run smoothly, all six stages must be in sync and work together, especially in the midst of unprecedented pressure to supply goods to the public. One way to achieve better communication and greater visibility between each phase is to implement a solid inventory management solution.
For instance, when the wholesale distribution stage begins to run low on inventory, having the right solution that can automatically send reorder and restock alerts prior to entering a shortage situation becomes critical. If the processing and packaging stage has fulfilled their existing obligations, an inventory management solution allows you to see what’s available in production and request more materials. If production gets ahead of schedule, this same type of system will give you the ability to order additional raw materials to obtain more goods to work on and produce. Or maybe you have enough inventory on hand and can eliminate the cost of ordering raw materials which are not needed.
The trick to successfully managing your warehouse and it’s inventory is communication and tracking – the last thing any warehouse manager wants to happen is for their various work teams to become individual silos. When there is a lack of cohesiveness, you run the risk of slower processing and the inability to meet schedules, both of which can lead to empty shelves.
Implementing a web-based inventory management solution can allow you to keep every phase connected to each other while providing visibility to anyone within the supply chain. In addition, this enhanced level of communication will result in a faster workflow, more accurate inventory, and reduce costs by serving as a mechanism to prevent inventory waste due to ordering materials you already have on hand.
Here are some key checklist items for sourcing the right web-based warehouse inventory management solution. Seek a solution that:
- Provides real-time visibility to each segment of the supply chain thanks to its web-based interface
- Helps maintain proper stock levels at the wholesale distribution and retail redistribution levels
- Ensures sufficient amounts of inventory remain available at each level by providing the ability to establish minimum and maximum stock levels
- Safeguards against ordering too much inventory, which can result in expired merchandise
The right warehouse inventory management will allow supply chains to walk the straight line between keeping customers happy and keeping inventory waste low.