Inventory Management

How SME’s can improve their Inventory Management Process ?

Majority of small and medium sized businesses dealing with warehousing, retail, manufacturing and distribution often come across inventory specific challenges. Be it issues related to dead stock or struggles with wastage’s and stock losses— lack of a functional inventory management process can seriously impair productivity and restrict growth. Moreover with massive levels of investments manipulating the inventory, it becomes essential for the businesses to treat stocks with respect.

In the subsequent sections, we shall look at some of the most functional inventory management strategies, adopted by the SMEs.

Making Use of Optimization Tools

SMEs are best served by inventory optimization tools that focus on specifics and help them gain a competitive advantage over the competitors. These tools help marketers and warehouse managers evaluate the concerned networks for the best policies and even the existing inadequacies. Each supply chain node is closely analyzed by the standalone tools which extract data from ERP and WMS systems. In a nutshell, these optimization tools analyze supply variability, demand variability, and certain replenishment parameters for staying ahead of the market and industry loopholes. SMEs are increasingly investing in these tools for carving out a pretty intuitive inventory management process.

Employing Real-Time Analytics and Business Solutions

Majority of SMEs are increasingly focusing on real-time analytics for managing the inventory in a better way. With technological innovations at the fore, it is quite easier for them to create a unified information model that comprises of financial data, supply chain insights and other granular information sets. Having a cohesive platform for employing varied business solutions is a great strategy that SMEs are increasingly focusing on.

Treating Stock like Finances

Companies that treat stock like finances never have to compromise on productivity and growth. Moreover, it is only appropriate to render similar levels of importance to the stocks as they are the organizational assets, precisely in the form of inventory. SMEs must keep a detailed track of the commodities by analyzing the inflow, outflow, stock movement and the price points. Businesses that have good understanding of the stock often fare better as compared to others as they usually avoid making additional orders and swear by smarter inventory-specific decisions.

Adopting Automation

Automation is probably the only solution that can easily streamline the existing inventory management requirements. Moreover, SMEs opting for this strategy need not depend on manual interventions. Be it placing replenishing orders for stocking or even following up the deliveries, automation allows businesses to stay ahead in terms of innovation. With automation on-board, it becomes easier for companies to detect excess and dead stock while addressing issues related to supply and demand.

Improving Functionality

Small and medium sized businesses should look to improve the functionality of the concerned warehouse for addressing the inventory specific requirements. The most probable solutions include staff access and updated inventory. Moreover, businesses must also look to integrate the existing inventory systems with a POS system; precisely for staying updated and minimizing the lag time. That said, improved functionality also leads to advanced reporting where SMEs can easily gather new insights, depending on performance and inventory management. Some of the other benefits associated with improved functionality include customizable workflows.

Monitoring Slow or Dead Stock

While we did talk previously about the dead stock, it’s high time we address the elephant in the room. Firstly, a dead stock takes up quite a lot of space and hinders functional additions. SMEs should be able to tabulate the stocks based on the dynamism and must try to get rid of the stagnant ones, at first. Slow moving stocks limit profitability by restricting cash flow. Lastly, businesses must segregate the stocks and commodities within the warehouses based on their shelf life. Once the stagnated stocks are liquidated, it becomes easier for the companies to control the deadstock levels, make new additions and improve productivity.

Inference

These are some of the most functional strategies which can be deployed by small and medium sized businesses for improving the existing inventory management framework. Apart from the mentioned ones, companies should also be able to added newer technologies into the mix for improving the entire process of inventory management. Last but not the least; SMEs should emphasize on amplifying the workforce efficiency within the warehouse for handing the inventory in the best possible manner.

Fulfillment

Benefits of Recruiting an Efficient Fulfillment Partner

When it comes to optimizing an existing supply chain framework, organizations must clearly emphasize on the fulfillment services. Moreover, fulfillment service providers also play a vital role when it comes to handling and improving the shipping logistics. While certain organizations opt for in-house fulfillment services, some prefer outsourcing majority of their work to experienced service providers which can also handle the basics of distribution.

While having a strategically situated fulfillment center comes in handy, fulfillment partners must also look to streamline and simplify the supply chain process. Moreover, an efficient service provider must also aim at improving the customer experience, across multiple channels. In the subsequent sections, we shall look at the topmost traits pertaining to a highly efficient fulfillment service provider while enlisting the most prior ones for improving productivity.

Better Order Management Framework

Organizations must have high expectations from their fulfillment partners and the ability to address order management should be at the top of the pecking order. The e-commerce fulfillment service provider should be able to pair all of its attributes with innovative technologies. That said, efficient order management must cater to multiple channels while being able to handle the nooks and crannies of product demand and order placements.

Inventory Management Capabilities

Every organization needs to be careful about the product inventory, spread across diverse marketing channels. Therefore, an efficient fulfillment partner must offer considerable levels of visibility for tracking real-time and continuous inventory-specific developments. This trait helps companies manage the supply chain in a better way.

Reporting in Real-Time

A functional fulfillment service provider must be able to report about e-commerce whereabouts in real-time. This, in turn, offers an expansive and detailed view of the inventory; thereby helping customers complete orders in a quick and seamless manner. Real-time reporting feature is probably the most underrated aspect of supply chain management and an efficient fulfillment service provider should bring the same to the fore.

 

Hassle-free Fulfillment Completion

A fulfillment service provider should at least be able to complete the tasks associated with fulfillment in a precise and seamless manner. A service provider that can cope up with the promotional sales and seasonal demands can be easily considered as bankable. However, it’s all about pairing services with advanced technologies, in order to achieve fulfillment perfection. Needless to say, an efficient fulfillment partner can improve the visibility of the concerned brand by rendering back-end expertise and other intuitive ideas.

Ability to Fix Warehouses

A fulfillment partner with considerable levels of expertise can help a warehouse with the designing elements. There are times when a non-scalable warehouse starts busting out at the seams courtesy lack of spaces and necessary adjustments. Fulfillment service providers handle the internal affairs by making the warehouses more conducive to work.

Handling Customer Relationships

Customer relationships are important, especially when e-commerce services are concerned. Fulfillment partners allow company owners to track the buyer journeys; therefore allowing them enough time and resources to personalize the service sets. This minimizes the number of complaints and helps improve productivity, almost immediately.

Can we do without Outsourcing Fulfillment Services?

Every fulfillment-specific requirement is usually handled by the 3PL service providers, as a part of an expansive package. However, small businesses usually do not have the financial backbone to invest in a third-party service provider and they usually resort to in-house options for addressing the requirements. If an unbiased consideration is taken into account, a fulfillment service provider with the above mentioned traits is necessary as the absence of the same can cause the sales volume to fluctuate and that too, regularly. Apart from that, companies without innovative fulfillment technologies are bound to experience order errors. In addition to that, an efficient fulfillment partner also eliminates the shipping, processing and product-specific errors.

Companies without reliable 3PL services also lack scalability i.e. the ability to adapt and innovate according to the market sentiments. An efficient fulfillment partner renders scalability to the organizations by streamlining the processes related to packaging, inventory control and shipping.

Decoding the Basics of Retail Warehousing and Fulfillment

The retail industry is getting hugely benefited by ecommerce and major ripples are being felt by the concerned supply chain management systems. With the entire retail ecosystem getting updated, it’s only fitting that businesses start focusing more on warehousing and fulfillment solutions for skyrocketing productivity. Moreover, the retail ecosystem is also witnessing a paradigm shift with companies increasingly focusing on an Omni-Channel customer experience. In addition to that, increased focus on decentralized fulfillment and distributed warehousing solutions are some of the potent strategies which the retail industry is integrating within its framework.

Addressing the Concept of Retail Warehousing

Customers within the retail industry prefer availing their products from random channels without having to wait for the stock to arrive at specific locations. If the logistical aspect is concerned, the retail industry primarily requires an agile and dynamic warehousing plan to thrive. Inefficient logistics can cause some serious damage to productivity and reputation of a retail chain and it’s important that distributed warehousing becomes a norm in this sector.

However, it is important to get well versed with this concept before looking in to the technical details. Distributed warehousing solutions help customers by fulfilling their requirements without making them dependent on the store inventory. Unlike the traditional warehousing techniques where the stock needs to be picked up from the warehouses in case there is a demand at the stores, distributed warehousing allows fulfillment from almost anywhere.

While distributed warehousing is a highly innovative concept, its implementation within the retail sector requires higher levels of expertise. Majority of retail stores aren’t capable of handling critical ecommerce orders and therefore using them as portable warehouses, isn’t the best possible solution. In addition to that, stores managing fulfillment via distributed warehousing must also have the technological expertise to make things happen. Deploying a fully functional distributed warehousing module takes time and requires the concerned retailer to opt for BOT solutions.

Advantages of Distributed Warehousing in Retail

Now when we have addressed the premise and underlining issues related to Distributed Warehousing, it’s important to enlist the benefits of the same, especially for the retail sector. An efficient strategy minimizes the overall freight costs and renders higher levels of controllability to the shipments. The ecommerce landscape associated with retail can be improved with functional warehousing strategies on-board. Moreover, majority of sales occur online and Distributed Warehousing takes performance and productivity to a whole new level. One such example would be the aspect of same day shipping, adopted by some leading online retail chains. This innovation is possible only with functional warehousing techniques added into the scheme of things.

Fulfillment Solutions for the Retail Industry

While retail stores with sufficient levels of technological expertise can be used for addressing the warehousing requirements, the retail industry needs to be way more selective regarding the fulfillment solutions. Having a multi-channel partner for handling the fulfillment requirements is important, especially for the retail sector. Some of the important aspects which need to be taken care of include:

1.       Excellent Inventory Management

The fulfillment partners must be proactive and look to address the aspects of inventory management. While warehousing is a completely separate section, modern day fulfillment service providers are trained to handle certain aspects of the same. Inventory management, however, looks to maintain order accuracy by offering real-time stock monitoring.

2.       Seasonal Demands Covered

An exceptional fulfillment partner stays on top of the demands and helps improve the overall structure of a retail management plan. This includes accommodating periods of massive order volumes.

3.       Reporting Capabilities

An efficient fulfillment strategy is also capable of sending out real-time reports regarding the granular, retail-specific insights. This aspect is highly resourceful when it comes to adapting and even improving the varied warehouse processes.

Benefits of Omni-Channel Fulfillment Strategies

Fulfillment strategies pertaining to retail can improve the revenue model of an organization. In addition to that, warehouse productivity also gets a boost as the shipped inventory reaches the concerned customer base, without fail. Customer satisfaction levels increase and the brand perception also gets a much required boost.

Inference

The retail industry is evolving constantly and businesses can be seen emphasizing on the aspects of warehousing and fulfillment for improving their chance of growth, better sales and improved productivity.

Inventory Management

The Basics of Inventory Management: Warehousing, Picking, Packing and Shipping

Small businesses need to understand a simple strategy that concerns establishing coherence between customer demands and the existing supplies. More often than not, startups and even medium-sized enterprises fall short of resources— which in turn sabotages their credibility. While manufacturing is never really an issue with technological innovations at the helm, it is the product distribution that takes a beating.

 

Major issues include inadequacies related to product picking, packing and shipping. In addition to that, certain businesses also find it hard to store their products in an efficient manner. However, if businesses continue worrying about these aspects of inventory management, it becomes hard for them to grow and even outrun the competition. Moreover, delayed shipments can easily kill off the customer satisfaction levels with companies failing to deliver products on time.

 

There are several firms which readily outsource the pick and pack services— in order to save time and even overhead costs. Pick and Pack warehousing is a comparatively newer aspect that combines the essentials of product storage with excellent shipping services. Companies that worry about storing their products in a secured environment are better off hiring 3PL service providers which emphasize on Pick and Pack warehousing. While it easily mitigates the storage constraints, a host of other benefits are also available for businesses to leverage.

 

Meeting Customer Demands

 

Having specialized warehousing services at the helm can help enterprises meet varied customer requirements. Once a business starts blossoming and growing rapidly, it becomes important to stay on track with the persistent user preferences. This is where outsourcing comes in handy, especially by offering excellent Pick and Pack storage and distribution services to the concerned organizations.

 

Fulfilling the Storage Requirements

 

Before we delve any deeper into the basics of Pick and Pack services, it is important to understand the influence of outsourcing in regards to handling the storage needs. Manufacturing industries usually need to ship extensively and having a restricted storage space can actually slow them down. While it is always possible to hire specialized warehousing services, most companies look for cohesive options that can cover multiple bases. Having one logistics company handle the basics of storage, picking, packing and shipping can be the best possible option when the manufacturer is looking to minimize the costs.

 

Efficient, off-site warehousing is one aspect of this cohesive program that allows an enterprise to manage inventory without opting for contract or distribution warehouses. Online warehouse management is also possible. Unlike other warehouses that solely offer storage options, facilities synonymous to the Pick and Pack management believe in dispatching the products, almost instantly. To be exact, enterprises can enjoy the benefits of a dynamic storage system where products aren’t dumped for an eternity but are expedited immediately.

 

Understanding Picking and Packing Better

 

Unlike conventional warehouses that offer storage facilities, managerial flexibilities and a host of other features, enterprises relying on Pick and Pack services are best served when it comes to the holistic catalogue of services. These include a variety of Inbound and Outbound services, dedicated towards amplifying the revenues and serving the customers better.

The best part about using Pick and Pack Distribution is that a shared warehouse can serve the purpose for multiple organizations. The products are then immediately packed and distributed to the concerned customer base. As we could already infer from the discussion, this form of inventory management is affordable and exceedingly cost-effective. With small businesses using Pick and Pack services rather extensively, the popularity seems to be validated.

 

In addition to that, outsourced pick and pack services also assist manufacturers with their inventory solutions. Firstly, the designed warehouses managed by these specialized 3PL service providers are organized and extremely efficient. Apart from that, they offer advanced inventory management solutions like stock replenishment and necessary intimations. As the part of a holistic cycle, these solutions also involve picking up manufactured products from the companies, storing them in bespoke warehouses, packing them accordingly and finally, shipping them across multiple channels.

 

Bottom-Line

 

An inventory-specific business model requires higher levels of cohesion between warehousing, packaging and distribution. While hiring a 3rd party fulfillment service for the specifics is a good option, pick and pack service providers are actually best suited for a retail-specific business. This form of inventory management works wonders for small to medium business owners, thereby helping them save additional costs and efforts.