Inventory Control Methods and Management Techniques for a More Profitable Supply Chain
Inventory control, or inventory management, is the foundation of any successful supply chain or logistics operation. The faster your business grows, the more difficult it becomes to manage your inventory. While the warehouse team often takes the bulk of the responsibility in making sure all shipments can seamlessly move through the entire distribution process, applying successful inventory control methods shouldn’t just be left to the warehouse team. Regardless of the industry, it is also the responsibility of the purchasing and merchandising teams to closely monitor all order quantities and ensure inventory is listed and priced accurately.
We’ll discuss the basics of inventory management and a few common inventory management challenges. We also explain some of the inventory control modules built into the DATASCOPE WMS software you can use to streamline your inventory management system and optimize your supply chain.
What Is Inventory Control?
Inventory control deals with storing, tracking, managing, and ordering inventory. From the second a product purchase order is placed, to when it finally lands in the hands of the consumers, reliable inventory control is one of the most important parts of your supply chain and it’s critical to shortening your production lead time.
Both small businesses and large manufacturing operations can benefit from adopting inventory control techniques. Quality inventory control methods and supply chain software can help you increase visibility throughout your supply chain, automate much of the picking, packing and shipping processes, and have better cash flow throughout your entire operation.
Common Inventory Control Challenges
Managing inventory comes with its own set of product and logistical issues which, if not corrected, will result in wasted time, money, and labor.
There are 3 main types of inventory failures:
- Inventory shortages: If you don’t know how much stock you have on hand, how will you know when you need to order more? Low stock levels can result in lost sales potential.
- Inventory excesses: Ending up with too much stock on hand can lead to spoilage, higher storage costs and, again, lost sales.
- Inventory obsolescence: When stock sits on the shelf too long, it becomes more prone to wear and tear. Not only that, depending on the product, you might be forced to throw away expired food items or mark down out-of-season clothing.
To eliminate dead stock, spoilage and shortages, make sure your inventory levels match your sales levels. Conducting regular inventory inspections and audits will help prevent problems with incorrect shipment information or mislabeling. Track your supply and demand in real-time with cloud-based inventory management software to enhance quality control and avoid having a disorganized warehouse. To minimize overall costs, focus on balancing your order sizes by carefully monitoring both ordering costs and carrying costs. Finally, come up with contingency plans for emergency situations where you might end up with inventory shortages or excesses. This could involve maintaining a safety stock level during certain seasons, or creating a reorder point formula so you know exactly when to replenish your stock.
DATASCOPE WMS Inventory Control Modules
No more using spreadsheets to manually track and manage your inventory. With its end-to-end functionality, DATASCOPE WMS software allows manufacturers to effectively control all inventory from the raw material receipts to work in progress (WIP), as well as the picking, packing and shipping of finished goods. The software contains dozens of inventory control modules you can rely on to ensure your inventory control methods are as efficient as possible:
- Inbound modules for processing almost any receipting transaction, including inbound receiving, quality control, supply chain transfers (SCT) and goods in transit (GIT)
- Outbound modules to help with picking rules, packing and checkout strategies, stock reservation, EDI trading, invoicing, customer returns, load planning and more
- WIP for job labeling, release, picking and receipting and enforcement of WIP process controls
- Pick face set up, replenishment and asset tracking
- Stock taking, cycle counting, labeling and other general warehouse transactions and movements
- Advanced reporting and queries, and a comprehensive notification system for instant messaging within the warehouse
- RFID control in Kanban stock management environments
Benefits of DATASCOPE WMS for Inventory Control
Manufacturers implement DATASCOPE WMS for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s to have more control over their inventory to facilitate purchasing decisions, to improve MRP and other factory planning, or for better quality control, there are many other high-level inventory control benefits and reasons for implementing DATASCOPE WMS software:
- Better stock accuracy and visibility, and lower inventory levels
- FIFO controls for raw materials, along with Certificates of Analysis (COA) linkage
- Reduction and reallocation of picker heads
- Voice-directed picking
- Random bin locations optimization
- Reporting for management efficiency
- Shipment POD’s
- Enhanced lot traceability
DATASCOPE WMS makes your business efficiency our personal mission. We take the chaos out of your supply chain operations and help you maintain a competitive edge through constant innovation. To find out more about the inventory control methods and modules within DATASCOPE WMS software and how to implement them into your business operations, contact us today.