Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Business - Management Ezine Articles

Lance is retired at 40 and running an Online Think Tank while traveling North America. Considering something extremely challenging to exercise his mind and utilize all his experiences, observations and skills. Any ideas?

In the meantime lance is looking for co-authors to help on a few books;

Artificial Intelligence; Possible Futures, Comets & Earth Civilizations, Computer Brain Interfaces, Economics of 21st Century, Franchising the World, Future Auto Tech, Future Aviation Tech, Future Concepts, Future Underwater Tech, Growing Our Own Fuel, Killing Hurricanes & Weather Control LED Lighting of the Future, Killing Locust Plagues, Pure Opinion and Politics, RFID & Future, Future Robotics, Smart Dust, Future Smart Garages, Future Space Colonies, Flow of All We Know, Future of Motorcycles, Future of IT, Future Personal Tech, Human Animal Debate, Future Truck Tech, Future UAVs, Future Video Game Design, Future VR Future Wind Cars, Future MAVs.

Advanced Weapons Tech, Human Fighter Pilots VS UAVs w/ AI, Future Robotic Net Centric Battlefield, Future Military Air Superiority, Winslow on War; Military Strategy & Philosophy

Absurdity of Human Religion, Biking Across America, Common Sense Psyche 101, Downtown Revitalization, Home Schooling Tips, Honesty in Humanities, How to Become a Writer, Running a Red Ribbon Week Program, Human Psychology of Winning, Hypersonic Humans & Overachievers in Society, Internet Fraud & Freedom in the Balance, Lessons for Forum Users & Bloggers, Motivation, Goal Setting & Success, Online Article Writing, RV Knowledge Primer, Social Issues of Our Time, Flow of Thought, Flow of Transportation, Flow of Water, Science of Common Sense, Power of Presence & Brand Marketing, Winning Strategies for Long-Distance Runners, World Social Issue Solutions.

Change Management and Averting Chaos, Customer Service Brings them Back, Entrepreneurialism for Overachievers, Finite Capacity Models for Service Businesses, Marine Tech, Marketing Magic & Market Share, Non-MBA Management Tips, Over Regulation in America, Sales Management Strategies, Sales Training Tips, Strategic Planning for Entrepreneurial startups, Case for Off-Shoring & Outsourcing, Franchise Business Model.

Alien and Human Law, Cubed Experience, 5u53j Son of Wilson.

Adventures in Advertising, Bonsai & Blitz Marketing, Business Ethics, Direct Marketing Strategies, Online Web Marketing, SB Image & Presentation, SB Networking, (10) Books on "Starting" Sm. Business

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Business - Management Ezine Articles

Lance is retired at 40 and running an Online Think Tank while traveling North America. Considering something extremely challenging to exercise his mind and utilize all his experiences, observations and skills. Any ideas?

In the meantime lance is looking for co-authors to help on a few books;

Artificial Intelligence; Possible Futures, Comets & Earth Civilizations, Computer Brain Interfaces, Economics of 21st Century, Franchising the World, Future Auto Tech, Future Aviation Tech, Future Concepts, Future Underwater Tech, Growing Our Own Fuel, Killing Hurricanes & Weather Control LED Lighting of the Future, Killing Locust Plagues, Pure Opinion and Politics, RFID & Future, Future Robotics, Smart Dust, Future Smart Garages, Future Space Colonies, Flow of All We Know, Future of Motorcycles, Future of IT, Future Personal Tech, Human Animal Debate, Future Truck Tech, Future UAVs, Future Video Game Design, Future VR Future Wind Cars, Future MAVs.

Advanced Weapons Tech, Human Fighter Pilots VS UAVs w/ AI, Future Robotic Net Centric Battlefield, Future Military Air Superiority, Winslow on War; Military Strategy & Philosophy

Absurdity of Human Religion, Biking Across America, Common Sense Psyche 101, Downtown Revitalization, Home Schooling Tips, Honesty in Humanities, How to Become a Writer, Running a Red Ribbon Week Program, Human Psychology of Winning, Hypersonic Humans & Overachievers in Society, Internet Fraud & Freedom in the Balance, Lessons for Forum Users & Bloggers, Motivation, Goal Setting & Success, Online Article Writing, RV Knowledge Primer, Social Issues of Our Time, Flow of Thought, Flow of Transportation, Flow of Water, Science of Common Sense, Power of Presence & Brand Marketing, Winning Strategies for Long-Distance Runners, World Social Issue Solutions.

Change Management and Averting Chaos, Customer Service Brings them Back, Entrepreneurialism for Overachievers, Finite Capacity Models for Service Businesses, Marine Tech, Marketing Magic & Market Share, Non-MBA Management Tips, Over Regulation in America, Sales Management Strategies, Sales Training Tips, Strategic Planning for Entrepreneurial startups, Case for Off-Shoring & Outsourcing, Franchise Business Model.

Alien and Human Law, Cubed Experience, 5u53j Son of Wilson.

Adventures in Advertising, Bonsai & Blitz Marketing, Business Ethics, Direct Marketing Strategies, Online Web Marketing, SB Image & Presentation, SB Networking, (10) Books on "Starting" Sm. Business

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Inventory Turnaround as MRP and ERP Functions - Inventory Control ...

As it concerns profit margins, inventory control is one of the more visible and appreciable aspects of the manufacturing business today. Raw materials, goods in process, and finished goods are each the visible consequences of inventory in some form or fashion, and each means actual money locked up until product is finally shipped out to the customer. The longer any of these aspects stands idle in the shop, the longer company dollars get tied up in inventory carrying costs. Conversely, the shorter the time inventory stays on-hand, the greater are the enhancements to the bottom-line. What every inventory manager seeks is a rapid throughput and system flow of inventory, especially as a result of the supply chain stream so vital to business today. When inventory moves rapidly through the plant, the benefits in supply chain and inventory management are already being realized. To this end, inventory turnaround means that finished goods are flowing out of the plant and all-important delivery dates are being met.

Inventory turnaround (also termed inventory turnover) is that notion that speaks to the amount of time raw materials and parts spend in the plant after purchase and before they are put to use. Inventory managers seek the fastest turnaround possible, for idle inventory only depreciates in value to the detriment of the company’s bottom line—a wasted cost, so to speak. To enhance inventory turnaround, enterprise resource planning software is developed to integrate all aspects of plant operations to bring real-time data to bear in determining optimum inventory acquisitions/replenishments relative to incoming sales orders and outgoing finished products. Vital to the efficiencies realized in this function of buying-to-the-job is an accurate pull-production scheduling system whereby raw material and/or parts needs are anticipated. Indeed, to provide for just-in-time inventory management and cost savings through economies of scale purchasing, accurate scheduling systems within an enterprise resource planning (ERP) operation allows inventory managers to quickly consolidate purchasing for multiple-jobs that use the same parts.

On the other hand, when raw materials or parts are bought-to-stock for economies of scale, rapid inventory turnaround is bit more problematic and a result of strategic planning. For example, when repetitive production is involved, robust ERP software systems store past purchase histories for material and parts bought-to-stock, and will instantly measure on-hand inventories against anticipated seasonal or otherwise historical inventory needs. This material requirements planning (MRP) involves getting material on hand when needed for production and should address such basic notions as when to place order, how much to order, which vendor to order from, and when the material/parts need to be on hand. A robust ERP software system will provide an easy way to employ MRP programs that schedule and reschedule materials as far into the future as required for repetitive production, and maintain inventory at minimal levels to eliminate waste.

Ultimately, MRP through ERP will create a total inventory management system that is flexible enough to purchase either to-the-job or to-stock. Such flexibility offers the modern manufacturer the ability to take on jobs quickly and without worry for facilitation, and to be able to meet those job delivery requirements consistently and, most importantly, on-time.

http://globalshopsolutions.com/

Dusty Alexander is the President of Global Shop Solutions. Global Shop Solutions is the largest privately held ERP software company in the United States.

Copyright 2007 - Global Shop Solutions. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, and give the author name credit.

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Seven Reasons Why a Hosted Inventory Management Solution Might Be ...

Upgrading. Downtime. Maintenance. Hardware obsolescence. Implementation issues. The litany of headaches related to the implementation and on-going care-and-feeding of enterprise based applications is enough make the savviest of companies want to engage in anything but another software implementation. Like a full-blown IRS audit. Anything…

If your organization is evaluating inventory management systems, consider that a hosted solution inventory management solution may be ideal for your needs if you feel this way. Hosted inventory management solutions such as Invendia eliminate the justified concerns of many companies that another software implementation is the last thing they want to devote resources to - capital, time, talent.

So, the top seven reasons why a hosted inventory management solution might be right for your organization?...

7. Quicker ROI. From an initial ROI perspective, hosted solutions shorten time-to-value by eliminating software implementation and cost issues. You focus on collecting your data, refining your processes, and defining your business goals.

6. Lower total-cost-of-ownership. Users of hosted inventory management solutions need not ever implement software upgrades, pay for maintenance, or add hardware. The net effect is to keep total cost of ownership in check.

5. Increased flexibility. Customers of hosted solutions subscribe for the user license they need today. As their needs change, they add or reduce the users. In this way, they never face the license over-capacity that plagues so many enterprise software deployments. Even more importantly, they increase their flexibility in responding to rapidly changing business conditions.

4. Reduced risk. Any enterprise software implementation takes time. The longer the elapsed time from project kick-off to go-live, the higher the likelihood that the project will lose momentum and management and staff support. Hosted solutions like Invendia do away with many of the preliminary steps of a software implementation (hardware selection, for example), and cause less friction and trauma within the organization. And hosted solutions offer you the advantage of single-source accountability because of the elimination of multiple vendor relationships that would be the norm in a standard enterprise software deployment.

3. Faster deployment. A faster deployment of the software is always a strong positive factor into how well it will be adopted and used by your organization. Hosted solutions typically offer faster deployments, with fewer internal pressures and distractions from day-to-day operations and activities. In short, the focus of the deployment is on end-user training and acceptance, since you won't have to install or maintain servers, networking equipment, security products, or other hardware or software.

2. Easier innovation. Another key advantage of the hosted model is that it facilitates on-going process innovation as new functionality can be introduced incrementally over its lifecycle. The traditional model of purchased and locally implemented software binds companies into "big-bang" versioning where updates are introduced in batches - typically every 12 to 18 months. That model inhibits the real-time improvements of software and processes as they become available. In a hosted environment, major new product releases and improvements can literally be made overnight.

1. Lower cost and smoother cash-flows. Hosted solutions like Invendia have a decided cost advantage over traditional packaged software offerings like SAP and Oracle: low hardware and software costs (you need only outfit your users with PCs, which they likely already have), no depreciation costs, no software or hardware maintenance costs, and lower implementation costs.

With hosted solutions, the first year total cost of ownership can be five to ten times less expensive than enterprise software with the majority of savings resulting from the elimination of upfront integration and customization projects. Thus, the payback period is considerably shortened.

And hosted solutions offer much smoother cash-flows, with no large up-front cash outlays that need be subsumed by your organization.

So, the hosted model of enterprise software lowers risk, simplifies licensing, eases deployment, encourages innovation, and decreases costs, all of which result in faster return on investment, lower total cost of ownership, reduced risk, and the flexibility that you need to successfully compete in today's fast-moving business climate.

Ash Seha is a marketing manager at Invendia, a leading provider of Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) and Web-based Inventory solutions.

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Investing In Logistics And Wholesaling Management

Logistics and Wholesaling Management are considered today of vital importance if one studies closely NAVISTAR and UPS, two well-established companies that have introduced logistics as their main business units.

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Recommend Inventory Management Guide 101 To A Friend.

In business management inventory consists of a list of goods and materials held available in stock. Management of an inventory or Inventory management is all about handling functions related to the tracking and management of material. This includes the monitoring of material moved into and out of stockroom locations and reconciling the inventory balances, setting targets, providing replenishment techniques, reporting actual and projected inventory status. The task of ABC analysis, lot tracking, cycle counting support etc. can even be a part of inventory management.

The primary and foremost step in inventory management is acquiring accurate information for inbound operations. The information so gained in advance can be a crucial factor in improving the inbound productivity. Setting up of an advanced inbound strategy and execution framework can be done without too much of re-engineering effort for the supply chain. The perfect way to commence is to make the best use of information available to you and establish a set of rules and regulations to harness the information efficiently.

In order to better your work and progress further you can conduct a survey by asking supply chain executives to name the five most important area for improvement in operations support systems. The outcome of your survey will reflect better inventory planning as one of the target areas. You must pay special heed to establish an effective way to maintain inventory data integrity or setting up higher productivity and capacity utilization. Lack of efficient inventory data integrity can lead to large amount of non-productive labor, underutilized distribution center capacity and diminished customer service levels due to incomplete or late orders.

From past few years distributors were looking forward for a device that can help them control and manage their largest asset, inventory. As a result several computer software companies have developed comprehensive inventory management modules and systems. These fresh packages enable the distributor to effectively manage his warehouse stock.

Tough the software technique is a beneficial aid yet it cannot provide solutions to inventory management problems. In order for the inventory management system to live upto its potential and perform its best, make sure that you follow quite a few basic and extremely significant ways of good inventory management.

To begin with, ensure that your company is protected against theft. There should be no pilferage problem at your place. While ordering, order only the amount of non-stock or special order items that your customer has approved of. If you wish to add an inventory, you must get a purchase commitment from your customer. Make sure that you assign and use bin sites. Establishment and usage of proper bin sites make order picking a hassle free job in your warehouse. Don’t ever forget to make an entry of the material leaving your warehouse. Try to get rid of the ‘no charge/no paperwork’ material swaps. You should charge the product samples to a salesperson account until they are either returned to stock or charged to the customer.

Effective inventory management also requires paper work (picking documents to be filled by the end of the day, entry of every single stock receipt in computer etc.) that is upto the mark, determination of the most beneficial replenishment strategy for each item in each warehouse, setting up some lucrative offers and awards for the buyers, specifying guidelines for setting the reorder method and setting up of an on-going dead stock and excess inventory control program.

Mansi Aggarwal recommends that you visit Inventory Management for more information.

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Building And Maintaining An Inventory Database Can Be A Vital ...

How Inventory Management Software increases Business Efficiency

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Maintenance Management

Maintenance management encompasses and supplies solutions for the planning and control of activities associated with maintenance activities of a plant or facility. Generally, it incorporates labor and materials and may include the management of maintenance stores.

Maintenance Management addresses several competencies and areas of expertise. These are vehicle maintenance, shop operations, environmental issues, inventory management section, benchmarking section and finally, outsource maintenance activities.

The first competency concentrates on vehicle maintenance, including specific maintenance functions, preventive maintenance program implementation and effective administration of warranty programs. This potentially affects all aspects of fleet management including the financial and safe operation of a fleet and the end user’s productivity.

The second competency is shop operations, which review shop practices related to efficiency, staffing levels, and the decision to outsource a shop operation. This process appraises operation to determine optimum staffing levels and advantageous outsourcing opportunities.

The third competency, environmental issues, provides greater comprehension and addresses environmental regulatory affairs and environmentally-responsible fleet/shop operations. Its requirements guarantee not only a clean and healthy environment, but also employee safety.

The inventory management section identifies the importance of effective materials management. It makes use of professionally managed parts to operate at peak efficiency. It is an important contributing element to the progress of maintenance facility.

After that, the benchmarking section offers valuable principles for an in-house fleet maintenance operation. It is a key function to retain productivity and effectively maintain operations. Benchmarking involves proper data collection, comparison, and analysis to determine performance status and standards

And the last competency, which is outsourcing, reviews and understands factors and elements influencing settlements on outsource fleet maintenance activities. Its conclusion depends on a wide array of factors but its ultimate goal is efficiency.

Another element making up maintenance management is its processes. It is inclusive of Preventive Maintenance and Condition Monitoring; Maintenance Planning and Scheduling; Root Cause Analysis and Materials Management.

Preventive maintenance and condition monitoring starts out by creating the implementation plan—identifies measurable success indicators for the condition monitoring and preventive maintenance program. The goal is to achieve a condition monitoring and preventive maintenance program that is documented, executed and tracked. And this may be done through the process of setting up, executing and measuring an effective program.

Maintenance Planning and scheduling is an important element in developing a well functioning maintenance organization. In order for it to work, the organization should do equipment inspections through preventive maintenance, technical database such as bill of materials, work order history, and standard job plans. Advanced methods are also a must in leading the company’s focus on simplifying the planning and scheduling process to make it truly effective.

Root cause analysis, another process of maintenance management, if properly implemented results to the reduction of maintenance planner's work load; decrease in inventory-replenishment purchase orders; deduction of manually-prepared direct purchase requisitions; condensation of maintenance storeroom inventories, while increasing reliability; and generation of new measures for tracking plant reliability.

To complete the maintenance management processes is materials management. This comprises educational maintenance audit and benchmarking tools. Its purpose is, to train and educate the organization in best practices for reliability and maintenance; and to conduct a maintenance audit of the company's reliability and maintenance performance.

Efficiency and effectiveness of maintenance management relies heavily on total comprehension and the ability to address the competencies or areas of expertise involved; and the proper calculation, assembly and conduction of each of its processes.

Ismael D. Tabije is the Publisher-Editor of http://www.BestManagementArticles.com, a unique niche-topic article directory that features exclusively business and management topics. For a large dose of business degree online tips, ideas and strategies, see http://maintenance-management.bestmanagementarticles.com .

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Warehouse Management Software

Managing a warehouse is not necessarily a very easy task. To be highly successful in this dynamic and exciting market and business environment, it is very crucial to evaluate each and every function of the business. The company must arm itself with state-of-the-art warehouse management systems. The warehouse management system must quickly and cost-effectively integrate the functionality required to solve the challenges of the business, with the ability to adapt to changing requirements and technologies. The warehouse management systems help in various aspects like picking, packing, receiving, shipping, inventory control and audits.

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Sales Success Is Not About Increasing Sales

Sounds crazy doesn't it? But, remember the emerging role of the sales professional today is not to increase sales. Let me repeat that- The sales person's role today is not to increase sales. The role of a sales professional today is to systematically and consistently increase the number of customers who choose you to be their #1 supplier... You must become-THE SUPPLIER OF CHOICE- which means you always get-THE FIRST CALL-and THE LAST LOOK! Don't make the rookie mistake of thinking that your customers don't give last looks. If your customer doesn't give you last look. That means somebody else is getting it. It's time to evaluate the relationship equity you have built in that account.

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Inventory Management Software

Effective management of finished product inventory is quite essential for running a business efficiently and profitably. Inventory strategies and decisions become particularly important in businesses where inventory costs form a sizeable part of total marketing costs.

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Inventory Asset Management Software

Of the many advantages of using effective inventory asset management software, perhaps the most important is how it prevents over- or under-stocking. Inventory software churns out projections based on order history, so you can prepare for peak seasons and lessen stock during dips. This prevents a company from investing in assets that will reap no eventual rewards. Plan ahead for stock requirements and accurately gauge combined net stock requirements with a click of a button.

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World's Best Practice Inventory Management

In almost every endeavour it is difficult to determine what constitutes ‘best practice’. Businesses around the world spend millions of dollars on software and advisory services and often don’t know whether they are ‘best practice’ or just somewhere in the pack.

Many companies will say, ‘why does it matter just as long as you keep getting better?’ The stark reality is that inventory requires the investment of cash. The items need to be purchased and stored and this ties up cash. This working capital can be a significant burden for many companies and if freed up can provide significant cash resources that can be used for other more productive purposes.

For many companies the key issue is availability and so long as they have an item when it is required they care little about the cash investment. However, this approach will not maximise your ROI and, in almost all cases, cannot be financially justified on any level. This is because the excess inventory investment that this approach generates provides little or no value to your business. The excess is invested in inventory that does not move or becomes obsolete.

World’s best practice inventory management demands that the ‘management system’ is optimised not just the inventory. It is in this field that best practice can be both easily identified and readily achieved.

Each level on the ladder to world’s best practice provides a greater degree of control and management but is only at Level 5 – System Optimization that the management system is optimised. By reaching this level companies can reduce their inventory investment, freeing up cash, AND achieve their desired availability levels.

The five levels to world’s best practice inventory management are:

Level 1 – Ad Hoc: Purchases are made on an ‘as needed’ basis. At this level there is little control necessary as inventory is expensed when purchased and used immediately. While this may seem to reduce the cash investment it may not reduce the total cash expenditure. This approach can only be viable if the items are available ‘instantly’ and the cost of a ‘stock out’ is negligible.

Level 2 – Storage: Inventory is expensed when purchased and stored for use but not strictly controlled. Similar to above except that items are stored because of the cost of a stock out. This approach appears to solve one problem but it raises two others. Firstly, total expenditure is likely to increase as items are purchased in ‘economic quantities’. (See my free e-book ‘5 Myths of Inventory Reduction’) Secondly, without controls there is little opportunity for review and development.

Level 3 – Capitalisation: Inventory is capitalised and subject to some level of control, either manual or software based. This approach is by far the most popular as it appears to provide the required mix of availability and control. Unfortunately, most organizations use their software solely for counting and accounting. There is a strong reliance on human calculation of inventory requirements but often little review of outcomes. The result is likely to be good availability but a significant over investment in inventory and high levels of obsolescence.

Level 4 – Software Optimisation: Inventory is capitalised and stock levels are optimised based on a risk/return algorithm. This is the basis of most software solutions. Most software packages will incorporate the ability to automatically adjust the required stock levels based on the history of demand and supply. Very few companies actually use this feature because they know that they cannot trust the results. This is not due to a software flaw but because the supply and demand may not represent typical usage. (This is explained further in the book Smart Inventory Solutions.)

Level 5 - System Optimisation: Inventory management minimises the overall cash investment without an increase in risk. This is world’s best practice. At this level, all of the factors that influence the actual inventory investment are reviewed on a regular basis. This review is manageable because it is limited to the ‘vital few’ items that have a real impact on the level of investment. Inventory levels are adjusted to take account of changing needs and this minimizes the likelihood of obsolete inventory.

Any company that already has the software required for Level 3 can achieve Level 5 – world’s best practice. What is needed is the know how, policy development, measures and reporting required to take a company to Level 5, not more software. Once these key issues are addressed you are implementing a true management system. Software only goes to level 4, it is the management system that provides the bridge to Level 5.

For more information visit http://www.InitiateAction.com

About The Author

Phillip Slater is the author of the book Smart Inventory Solutions and the developer of the Inventory Cash ReleaseTM System - ICRTM06, a world’s best practice approach to inventory management and reduction.

For more information visit his website at http://www.InitiateAction.com.

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Why Your Current Approach To Inventory Management Is Not Good ...

Businesses around the world spend millions of dollars on software and inventory management systems in an effort to maximise their return on investment (ROI) from inventory. Until now even the most sophisticated of these systems left businesses way short of best practice. In fact most of these systems institutionalise excess inventory.

The problem is that most software relies on optimisation and this limits the opportunity to reduce inventory because it ignores external influences. Software can only optimise the values it has, not what could be.

World's best practice inventory management demands that the ‘management system’ is optimised not just the inventory. Most inventory software takes today’s data and runs an algorithm to optimise holdings. What they miss are the changes in the management system that could further reduce the total level of investment. This flaw makes software systems self-limiting in their results.

Inventory management is much more than just the software system. Inventory management is the combination of know-how, process, measures and reporting that together provide the opportunity for maximizing availability while minimizing cash investment.

The five reasons why your inventory management is not best practice and is costing you money are:

1. The Responsibilities Are Misaligned

The people that make the day-to-day decisions will typically not be responsible for the working capital outcomes; they will be responsible for availability. The problem is that if you run out of stock all hell breaks loose but if you overstock there is no repercussion. This is especially the case with indirect inventory that is not subject to the usual planning scrutiny. Given this, what do you think most people do? That’s right, they over stock!

2. The Optimization Is Incomplete

Sophisticated software can track all sorts of data and in many cases the software can make optimization decisions based on that data. This can reduce your inventory but it is self-limiting. The problem is that software optimizes only on known data and ignores process and behavioural changes that can impact that data. This is software optimization not system optimization. The software should only be a tool within a bigger process of optimization.

3. It Is Managed Reactively

Inventory is often seen as ‘set and forget’, that is, once the item is optimized for the current situation the requirements are not systematically revisited. It is often only when there is a ‘cash crunch’ or some other emergency that action is taken. Yet, even indirect inventory can represent millions of dollars of investment and deserves frequent attention. When action is taken it usually addresses the highly visible items rather than the real ‘cash burners’.

4. There Is A Significant Time Lapse Before Problems Emerge

The number one question asked about inventory is ‘what do I do with slow moving or obsolete stock?’ Depending upon the accounting policies in your company this stock has taken 3–5 years to reach the point where that question is asked. By this time it often seems irrelevant to revisit the original decision or processes that produced this result. No one would accept this approach to quality management! No one ever asks ‘how do I prevent the accumulation of slow moving or obsolete stock?’

5. It Is Painful To Fix And Easy To Ignore

In most cases the removal of obsolete inventory will result in a ‘hit’ to the profit and loss account. However, if a reason can be found to justify it for another year then few will argue. Eventually someone is going to have to make a decision and it will be painful. For this reason, obsolete inventory decisions are often driven by the opportunism of results reporting rather than good management principles.

To truly achieve best practice your organisation must review these issues and develop systems that will minimize their impact or eliminate them altogether.

Phillip Slater is the author of the book Smart Inventory Solutions and the developer of the Inventory Cash ReleaseTM System - ICRTM06, a world’s best practice approach to inventory management and reduction.

For more information visit his website at http://www.InitiateAction.com

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Inventory Management - One Size Does Not Fit All

If there is one great myth in inventory management it is that one single technique will solve all inventory problems. Not that people believe that one technique will solve all problems in all situations but that in any given company one approach is all that is required to manage all inventory.

For the inventory manager this is very attractive as it means that there is only one approach to manage. For the software vendor, consultant or advisor it means only one solution to sell.

There is a wide range of techniques and approaches that people use to manage inventory. These include JIT, MRP, DRP, SCM, Risk Management, safety stock and EOQ’s Sometimes they are used on a stand alone basis and sometimes in conjunction with each other. All are worthwhile techniques when used appropriately.

Problems arise however when the approach to identifying the appropriate solution starts by looking at the solution rather than the inventory. This approach starts from the assumption that because solution x works at company y it must be good. Or because the software suits our enterprise wide planning system it is appropriate. In fact it is often assumed that inventory software packages are much of a muchness. Have you ever heard someone say ‘and it has an inventory module’!

The fact is that not all inventory is the same and consequently not all inventory requires the same approach to management. Without trying to be exhaustive it is easy to identify that some inventory is made to order, some is made to stock, some is perishable, some have characteristics that change with time, some are part of assemblies and sub-assemblies and some are stand alone items. These, and many other variables, lead to a huge number of different requirements for inventory management.

While the differences between inventories in different industries are well documented (for example, the requirements for managing inventory at a large retailer will be different to managing in-process inventory at a petro-chemical plant) what is not widely recognised is that the requirements for inventory management across a single business can vary significantly.

The single biggest error made in inventory management today is to select an inventory management technique and apply it universally across a business. The ‘one size fits all’ approach can lead to significant inefficiencies in the results of inventory management. This might not be an ‘out of stock’ as that situation is always dealt with urgently. More likely the result will be the holding of excess inventory and tying up valuable funds unnecessarily.

A better approach to inventory management is to start by looking at the inventory rather than the solution and identifying the characteristics of each type of inventory being held. When this is done, an approach that is appropriate to the demand, supply and cost characteristics of the inventory can be selected and the inventory holding optimized for its characteristics.

Consider a manufacturer that has a total inventory made up from raw materials, work in progress, finished goods, a distribution network and engineering spares. Applying a universal mindset or solution across all of these inventory types is unlikely to deliver an optimal result. For example, dealings involving suppliers (as for raw materials and engineering spares) provide a different range of opportunities compared to internal supply situations (WIP) and even finished goods. The ability to forecast, the ability to control the supply chain, the ability to source on consignment, the requirements for buffer stock, the impact of a stock out all vary. Unless you allow the flexibility to pursue opportunities related to different inventory types your business is likely to be over investing in inventory.

Inventory management is about more than just logistics and getting the right thing in the right place at the right time. It is also about the efficient and effective use of capital. Taking a singular approach to managing all types of inventory without fully considering the different characteristics and opportunities of that inventory leads to overstocking and obsolescence and the waste of capital resources that might be better directed elsewhere.

Phillip Slater is the author of the book Smart Inventory Solutions and the developer of the Inventory Cash ReleaseTM System - ICR®06, a world’s best practice approach to inventory management and reduction.

For more information visit his website at http://www.InitiateAction.com

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Better Practice Inventory Management

People are always searching for ‘best practice’, somehow believing that there is a silver bullet solution that will cure their inventory problems. The problem, of course, is that what is best practice in one country/industry/business might not be best practice in another. In any case, the exalted ‘best’ practice might just be too much of a jump for many people to take or indeed may not be economically viable.

Interestingly, though, in my work, the question that I am most often asked is, ‘what do I do with all of this excess inventory?’ My answer, of course, depends upon the nature of that inventory, what it is, how old it is etc. But obviously the best thing to do is create less of the inventory in the first place!

Some might think that this requires best practice and is therefore difficult to achieve but I would argue that this really is more achievable than people think. Putting in place the right processes, polices, measures and reporting in order to limit inventory purchases to those items that are most likely to be used/sold and in the right quantity, is as important or perhaps a more important task than clearing out the old stock. This can be achieved by understanding what works well for others rather than what is best practice. I think of this as better practice.

With that in mind I recently had the opportunity to interview more than 30 people, across a dozen companies, in all Australian states and New Zealand, who were all associated with inventory creation in one way or another. There were General Managers who make the occasional big decisions that create inventory. There were inventory managers who take the day-to-day actions. There were purchasing people who order the stuff and sales people who provide forecasts. Each of these people has a role to play in the creation of inventory but interestingly only the inventory managers acknowledged that role explicitly. The result of those interviews does not constitute best practice but I think that they give some insight into better practices.

These interviews were conducted on behalf of a client so I am unable to give you all of the detail or the quantitative results. But I do have permission to tell you what we deduced in a qualitative fashion.

During the interviews we identified the following similar practices that were consistent between the companies that performed well.

  1. Inventory decisions (range and quantity) were made at a local level. The locals were considered best placed to understand local conditions and requirements and therefore better able to get the inventory mix right. They had a better handle on forecasting because they were closer to the customer or demand. Centralized systems often missed the subtle changes or inside knowledge that helped stop the ordering of items (for example) when usage had changed but had not yet been flagged in the system.
  2. Requisition systems were used to order items through centralized purchasing. This approach creates efficiencies in procurement and provides greater control over terms of business and logistics. The purchasing people were concerned with all the purchasing issues not just the availability.
  3. Inventory items and codes were created centrally. This was used as a means of controlling the SKU count. Companies that did not do this experienced the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ associated with managing a long tail of low value SKUs
  4. The better companies had moved to central ordering after trying local ordering. They found that this change had a positive impact on their inventory investment. The point is that they tried it one way and made a change and that this experience was consistent.
  5. Inventory management systems and practices were standardized. Each location or department followed exactly the same process. They used the same rules for determining what they should and shouldn’t buy and had the same authorities, responsibilities and accountabilities at similar levels. Kind of like McDonald’s only not involving hamburgers! This didn’t remove individual decision making or initiative it just meant that the rules were consistent.
  6. Most of the better companies had an inventory process ‘champion’ to work on continuos improvement and maintaining standardization. This person did not manage the inventory or ‘own’ it any way. This person ‘owned’ the process. I liken this to having a Quality Manager; they don’t own the production just the process used to control quality. This was not necessarily a full time role
  7. Inventory was reported at a local level using local balance sheets. Local reporting and highlighting of inventory was seen as an important way to create visibility and therefore ownership.
  8. The better companies were quite aggressive in inventory management, setting and achieving aggressive targets rather than ‘achievable’ targets. The better companies did not just want to manage availability they saw managing the cash investment as equally important and therefore set targets aimed at minimizing the cash investment without jeopardizing availability.
  9. Internal interest charges were included in departmental P&L reports as a means of providing immediate feedback on the impact of additional inventory (these items were reversed before any corporate reporting). This helped make the cash investment important at the senior levels that had to report on their P&L Statement on a monthly basis. Companies that didn’t do this found that reporting a good profit was used to justify an over investment in inventory (that is an investment that did not really contribute to the profit). This approach forced them to mange both cash and profits.
  10. Slow stock was identified at a higher stock turn level in the aggressive companies than it was in the others. This was seen as a way of highlighting the approaching ‘cliff’ of obsolescence and was used as a way to force action before accounting rules required items to commenced being written down.
  11. Virtual warehousing was used to separate stock purchased for different purposes. This is where a different warehouse code might be used although the material was in the same warehouse as other stock. This was particularly useful when stock was bought in especially for one off projects or events such as capital works or shutdowns. This approach enabled a heightened level of visibility of who had bought what and prevented mistakes being hidden in the general inventory.
Obviously the sample for this survey was small so the results are open to interpretation. However, the actions listed are not so radical that they cannot be implemented by almost everyone that is seeking ways to improve their inventory management. The 11 actions listed above were consistent across a number of the companies that were ‘doing well’ and were noticeably absent in the others.

So, assuming that you want to improve your inventory results the only thing stopping you from adopting some or all of these actions is the fear of either change or loss of control. Of course you could just keep looking for ‘best practice’ but now that can only be seen as an excuse to do nothing!

Phillip Slater is the author of the book Smart Inventory Solutions and the developer of the Inventory Cash ReleaseTM System - ICR®06, a world’s best practice approach to inventory management and reduction.

For more information visit his website at http://www.InitiateAction.com

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Small Business Inventory Management Software

The success of a small business depends on the proper management of its resources. Studies indicate that most small businesses fail. A major reason for the failure is poor recordkeeping practices, which results in frequent occurrences of stock depletion, careless invoicing and subsequent loss of customers and business. This kind of failure can be avoided by proper inventory management.

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Inventory Management

Inventory Management when implemented correctly, saves your company time and money! Keep track of your company's products and materials and know not only exactly what you have, but exactly where it is, how old it is, how much you paid for it, where it came from, where it is going and more.

Inventory Management is an ongoing process of keeping track of everything needed to run your operation and keep it running. Proper Inventory Management will keep your business flowing from the time an order is placed right down to the point your product gets into your customer's hands. Track your materials, your products during manufacturing, your ready to ship products, and your products in transit and on store shelves.

With today's technology this can be accomplished right from your desk! No need to go out and count everything anymore! Today we have bar code scanners to read labels on boxes of supplies and finished products. We have RFID Tags to track our products, shipments, supplies, orders in transit and more. This new technology allows us to even know where the final product ends up right down to the street and house number where the final user resides!

RFID is playing a bigger and bigger part in today's Inventory Management. From drug stores, retail outlets, libraries, and even credit cards to name a few, this RFID technology will soon be used to track people with their diver's licenses! RFID Tags are found in almost every product already and more products every day are using RFID Tags and RFID Readers. These RFID Readers are hooked up to Inventory Management Software that allows the user to track it during every step of the manufacturing process and depending on the method of delivery, tracks it to the end user.

Today's Supply Chain Inventory Management Software is just incredible with everything it can do! What i huge time saver and asset for businesses. Microsoft is even getting in on it with their Great Plains Inventory Management Division. They strive to give companies the best possible Inventory Control along with real time Inventory Information. This helps to reduce the cost of doing business and saves companies time and money. The Inventory Management Software in use today does several important things. It prepares invoices, keeps an up to date database of your clients, automatically reorders stock (if desired), maintains the balances of your inventory and many more crucial time saving functions.

This article was written by Kriss Standke who is an accomplished Webmaster and publisher of Inventory Management Today, Engineering Today, as well as Warehouse Spot where he provides detailed and informative articles, tips, and advice on Inventory Management along with other great Manufacturing and Storage Information.

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Lean Manufacturing and the ERP Inventory Management Software Solution

Since the introduction of the lean system of continuous improvement manufacturing (CI), the desire has always been for inventory management that minimizes stock on hand, if not fully eliminating it. True to lean principals, by eliminating waste at every turn in the manufacturing process quality is improved while production time and costs are reduced. As one of the “seven wastes” in lean philosophy, inventory proves to be inefficient when a plant maintains more on-hand inventory than is minimally required to produce products in the immediate time frame. Rather than the batched, push-production system where large inventories are maintained for the potential of future sales or supply chain problems, lean methods employ a pull-production system where orders are pulled from customers and raw material as inventory is maintained only long enough to be swept into production—just in time (JIT), so to speak.

Certainly, manufacturers today are seeking to be more productive and less wasteful with regards to inventory management. For example, there is a train of thought that by decreasing randomness in the manufacturing process, you also decrease inventory. From this thinking has emerged the notion of total enterprise resource planning (ERP). Here concepts such as system flow, quality of performance, labor productivity, purchasing and materials management, inventory, and shipping are all integrated in terms of procedure and communication. With the real-time data available through ERP software, plant departments are integrated and coordinated toward the goal of decreasing randomness in the production process.

With a robust ERP software package, lean inventory management is facilitated in all aspects of the operation and should include the important functions of: cycle counting, supply & demand, and turnaround/turnover. In essence, it is this sort of inventory management and efficiency tool that is at the heart of the building and utilization of successful CI systems today.

For example, in the cycle counting mode, inventory managers can run inventory audit lists tagged to any period of time to answer the question of why there are discrepancies in inventory numbers. As for turnaround/turnover, ERP inventory management software is suited as an assessment tool for gauging how JIT any manufacturing system really is through the number of turns the inventory takes; and of course, increased turns is the desired result of a lean system eliminating waste by the reduction of on-hand inventory.

Regarding supply and demand chains, inventory management through ERP software is able to review key time-critical data to balance the time phasing requirements of materials, parts, and tools. That is to say, with a robust ERP manufacturing solution, inventory managers are in the position to make informed decisions concerning demand chains and supply chains. This is especially true in the newly emerging vendor managed inventory systems (VMI) that are increasingly seen as the logical extension of lean manufacturing methods and JIT inventory management.

These aspects of inventory management are vital elements for inclusion into any robust ERP software package seeking the leaning of manufacturer operations. With the knowledge gained through the real-time data available in ERP, inventory management becomes a central point of analysis for finding additional efficiencies in the system flow. It is in this way that efficiencies in manufacturing eliminate waste in the process. By offering the user a complete inventory management package that interconnects with all other shop areas in the production process, integrated ERP software builds a CI environment that enhances both productivity and profits.

http://www.globalshopsolutions.com/optimized/erp-software/erp-materials-management.asp

Dusty Alexander is the President of Global Shop Solutions. Global Shop Solutions is the largest privately held ERP software company in the United States.

Copyright 2007 - Global Shop Solutions. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, and give the author name credit.

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Use Jewelry Software to Control Inventory

To predict the demand for jewelry items in the future, you must have knowledge of product performance of the past. And that is one of the important functions of a well-designed jewelry software program.

Of course, no matter how well designed, a jewelry software program cannot totally eliminate intuition and luck. But having a well-organized and accurate history of sales provided through jewelry software reports, will take much of the guesswork out of inventory management.

A jewelry software program will help you look at a number of forecasting factors such as product history and the expected demand. The reports generated by your program should give you an in-depth analysis of numbers, both for historical sales and ongoing sales curves. At the very minimum, you should be able to rely on your jewelry software reports for 60% of your forecasting decisions with 20% based on experience and 20% on intuition.

Naturally, the more you become familiar with your jewelry software, the more reliable your inventory planning will become. You will never obtain 100% accuracy but 90% is an achievable goal.


Don’t be timid about customizing your jewelry software

Jewelry software programs are customizable. So after purchasing a good jewelry software program, it will probably need some tweaking. For example, every jewelry store has its own forecasting process to suit its particular needs. Therefore in order to be successful, the program must work for you...not you for the program. So don’t hesitate to adjust the jewelry software program to fit your exact needs.

You will probably find customizing easy with any of the top jewelry software programs now on the market. Not only do the developers want you to customize their software but will help you do so. A well-written and easily understood manual is a must for this activity. Lastly, a good customer support program should back the software.


Use your jewelry software program every day

Inventory management should never be a once a month or once a week activity. You should be looking at the figures generated by your jewelry software program every day. This will help you develop a more accurate understanding of your daily business flow, be able to quickly spot the need for inventory adjustments and greatly increase your forecasting accuracy.

Remember, a well-designed jewelry software program is the first step toward reducing overstocks and preventing out-of-stocks. You will find it to be one of the best inventory tools available for the successful operation of a jewelry store.

Cheree Dohmann is an internet marketing consultant that works with individual companies to build branding, search engine visibility and create online advertising opportunity for small businesses. Cheree has worked with IBIS for the past 2 years to promote their jewelry software. To learn more about IBIS, please visit http://www.ibis-net.com.

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Top Ten Business Uses of the 80 - 20 Principle

The 80/20 Principle can be used in almost any area of function to direct strategic and financial improvement. However, Richard Koch in his book-The 80/20 Principle, list ten top business uses that he believes has the most potential for improvement.

Strategy

Using the 80/20 profit analysis, determine a segment strategy by dividing your business up into as many categories as are relevant to your business. Compare the profit and loss of each segment to find the 20 percent that are accounting for 80 percent of the profits and the 20 percent that are accounting for 80 percent of the losses. Redirect your efforts to the areas where you can gain the most benefit. Reduce your efforts in the areas where you are having the most losses.

Quality

Using the 80/20 principle to focus your efforts on the least 20 percent causing most of the problems, instead of trying to tackle all the problems at once. As the least 20 percent that are causing the most problems become resolved, reevaluate your list again and start over.

Cost reduction and service improvement

Simple is cheaper and better, make the simplest 20 percent of your products as high quality and consistent as possible. If something is complex, simplify it or eliminate it.

Marketing

Identify your core 20 percent of your best customers and do everything possible to keep them. Provide exceptional and outrageous service to them even if it has a short-term cost, the payback later will be worth it.

Selling

Have all of sales focus on the core 20 percent of customers in their business line. Resort to less expensive phone or mail support for the remaining 80 percent. The core 20 percent are the customers that are providing you with 80 percent of your business profits. Reward you best sales people and hire more with the same personality and attitude.

Information technology

Computer programs become more efficient when 80 percent of the processing time is used on 20 percent of the need. This results in functions that are used the most often, being faster and easer to use. Most advances in the last 50 years have been due to the 80/20 principle being applied to technology. There is no end to the refining processes that use of the 80/20 principle will bring to businesses relating to information technology.

Decision making and analysis

Since 1950, business has increasingly been blessed, or if you prefer plagued, by management, scientists, and analytical managers. Analysis has probably been the greatest U.S. growth industry in the past half-century, and instrumental in some of the greatest U.S. triumphs. But analysis has had its darker side: the escalation of corporate staffs that are only now being properly dismantled. The 80/20 Principle is analytical but puts analysis in its place.

Five rules for decision making:

Rule one. Not many decisions are very important. Only one in twenty will be important.

Rule two. The most important decisions are often those made only by default.

Rule three. Gather 80 percent of the data and perform 80 percent of the relevant analyzes in the first 20 percent of the time available. Then make a decision 100 percent of the time and act decisively as if you were 100 percent confident that the decision is right.

Rule four. If what you have decided isn't working, change your mind early rather than late.

Rule five. When something is working well, double and redouble your bets.

Inventory management

Stock almost invariably follows some sort of 80/20 distribution, around 80 percent of stock only accounts for 20 percent of volume or revenues.

Point one. Cut down radically on your unprofitable product.

Point two. Try to export the problem and cost of inventory management to other parts of the value-added chain, to your suppliers or to your customers. The ideal solution is for your stock never to come near your facilities.

Point three. If you must hold a certain amount of stock, there are many tactical ways to use the 80/20 Principle to cut costs and speed up picking and packing.

A word of caution, in repair related business, make sure that you are not hurting your business by cutting your part's department of parts needed for repairs. Use the 80/20 Principles to better manage these stocks. Stock higher assembles in place of hundreds of smaller parts.

Project management

Management structures are being exposed as inadequate and worse. Many of the most energetic people in business, from chief executives down, do not really have a job. Rather, they pursue a number of projects.

Project management is an odd task. On the on hand, a project involves a team. It is a cooperative and not a hierarchical arrangement. But on the other hand, the team members usually do not know fully what to do, because the project requires innovation. The art of the project manager is to focus all team members on the few things that really matter.

Simplify the objective, 80 percent of the value of any project will come from 20 percent of its activities, the other 80 percent of the activities will arise because of needless complexity. Impose an impossible time scale, this will ensure that the project team does only the really high-value task, the 20 percent that will deliver 80 percent of the benefit.

Plan before you act, write down all the critical issues that you are trying to resolve. Decide who is to do what and when. Re-plan after short intervals.

Negotiation

The 80/20 Principle adds just two points to the study subject of negotiation. 20 percent or fewer of the points at issue will comprise over 80 percent of the value of the disputed territory. Build up a long list of spurious concerns and requirements early in a negotiation, making them seem as important to you as possible. These points must, however, e inherently unreasonable, or at least incapable of concession by the other party without real hurt (otherwise they will gain credit for being flexible and conceding the points). Then in the closing stages of the negotiation, you can concede the points that are unimportant to you in exchange for more than a fair share of the really important points.

Second, don't peak too early, wait until the deadline looms. 80 percent of the concessions will occur in the last 20 percent of the time available.

Impatient people don't make good negotiators.

Suggested reading: The 80/20 Principle, by Richard Koch, ISBN 0-385-49174-3

About the Author: Hubert Crowell, Cave Explorer

After working in service for 23 years with Eastman Kodak Company as a service person, technical support and training specialist, followed by another 13 years working for other companies in the service field, I have decided to share my ideals on improving the service department. I would like to thank Jack Ingram, my supervisor at Eastman Kodak Company for the encouragement and guidance until his retirement. I would also like to thank Barco Projection Systems and all the great employees that worked with me for the last seven years before I retired.

For complete paper on The Service Department, Please visit my web site at: http://hucosystems.com/

I have started writing as a hobby and plan to write about my life, work, hobbies, religion and many other things of interest to me and maybe others will enjoy also.

For a complete viewing of my articles with photos please visit my article web page at:

http://hubertcrowell.name/

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Manage Your Inventory by Using Inventory Management Software

If you have a company that handles large amounts of inventory you’re going to want to have a system in place that lets you manage your inventory in a way that you always know exactly what you have on hand, what has been sold and spoken for, and what stock you have arriving. Managing the fulfillment of your orders is very important so that you don’t run out of inventory. Running out of inventory can mean losing sales and this is a scenario that you want to avoid. Inventory management can be made easy with the use of inventory software that is available to do all the work for you. No more papers lying around waiting to be filed.

Inventory software is easy to use and will most times come with a tutorial to help you get started. You’ll be able to keep track of the inventory that pertains to your business without ever having to second guess yourself again. As well as an accurate record of what inventory you have on hand you’ll also be able to keep track of your costs, expenses, and debts. Most inventory management will also let you keep track of the equipment that you have that is used as your business capital. If you have any equipment that is depreciated you’ll be able to tell at a glance what the value is. With all the functionality of an inventory software program you may be able to reduce those other types of business software that you’re using to keep records and information about other aspects of your business.

There are many different types of inventory software on the market. If you’re unsure about what management system to buy you can check reviews of software in many business magazines and journals. Many software companies will offer their software with a trial version so you can use they program for a couple of weeks or will give you an extensive online overview of their product before you decide to buy.

James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest. Read more at http://www.inventory-management-center.com

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The 5 Phases of Selling - Part 1

Making contact with a new customer is much like starting a car. And if you sell new methods or processes, or new technologies, or new ways of doing things - moving too fast stalls the process. Even if you are not selling anything new, you still need to follow these steps to ensure success, and to save yourself a lot of time and stress.

These are the steps for a successful B2B sale.

Phase One: The customer must agree with you that he has a problem. If for example, you sell inventory management software; your customer must acknowledge that he's got an inventory management problem.

For most sales people, this is the most difficult step in the process. Almost all sales people, who are looking for new prospects, spend most of their time in phase one. However, instead of asking what the problem is, these sales people try to sell a solution first, by trying to tell the prospect what business they are in. They then leave it up to the prospect to figure out if they need their help or not. This is not only the wrong approach. This is also a terrible waste of a salesperson's time!

Let's look at the process here for a minute. The sales person receives, or builds, a list of prospects to call. Many have had no training on how to approach a prospective customer. Most have been taught by the "Stuff against the wall method". This method stated that the more calls you make, the more sales you will make. This outdated and incorrect methodology has been used for too long. It was a method invented by uninformed sales people who didn't know any other way of calling prospects.

So, they pick up the phone and start calling. Most sales people are terrified of this process. They know that over 95% of the people they call will not be receptive or hospitable to their call. The sales call will receive rejection, and most of these sales will people take it personally. I know, I've been there, done that!

We need to educate sales people on what they should be doing when they first approach a prospect. Many companies do not know how to do this properly. This is a subject for another time. But, if your sales people are struggling with this exercise, then do not blame them. Get them the proper training and coaching on how to perform this important part of the selling process.

In actual fact, phase one is a marketing issue, not a sales issue. It is marketing's responsibility to build leads. Depending on the size of your organization, you need to ensure that marketing and sales work together, to make this the driving force behind your revenue generation machine.

Now let's have a look and see what you need to do as you move into phase two.

Phase Two: The customer agrees that there is a problem. Now, he has to agree that he "wants to solve" his problem. This can be a very difficult phase to overcome. However, again, this should be a marketing issue, not a sales issue.

You have to convince the prospect that he will only gain by solving his problem. As you know, some people realize there is a problem, but they believe the solution will be more hassle to them than the problem.

As an example, a controller knows that budgeting software will help him in his budgeting process. He also knows that he will have to train all of his staff on the software, and more importantly, how to do their job differently. In the short term, it will be very disruptive to the whole organization, and he does not want to get involved. He has heard the horror stories from friends in other companies.

You need to show him that you are interested in solving his problem, and that if he doesn't solve his problem, he will be much worse off than he is now. You do not want to make the mistake of trying to sell him something in this phase of the selling process.

What you have to do here is show the prospect that you are knowledgeable about the problem. You can best demonstrate this knowledge in two fashions. An excellent way to show your expertise in this area is through a white paper, a newsletter, or a technical review you or your company has written.

If you (your company) have a white paper describing how to fix this problem through sound business practices, you will start to build trust with the prospect. Remember that someone will not buy from you if you have not developed a certain degree of trust with him or her.

They want to know that they are buying from someone reputable. The best way to demonstrate your reputation is through your knowledge of your prospect's business, and consequently the problems they have been experiencing.

The other, and better, way to show him that you can solve his problem, with the minimum amount of disruption to his business, is by a referral or through references. In fact, referral selling is the best way to sell.

Phases three to five will appear next time in "The 5 Phases of Selling - Part 2."

You already know that the B2B sales cycle can be anywhere from 2 months to 9 months. What if you could cut that time in half? Discover how you can do just that and at the same time stop chasing non-productive leads.

My name is Ian Dainty and I have written a book entitled "A Fast Track to Success in B2B Sales". Visit my web site at http://www.hitechsalescoach.com/ and get your copy now. You can also contact me at ian@hitechsalescoach.com at any time for any questions you have about selling and marketing. I look forward to working with you to help increase your income.

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Inventory Asset Management Software

Of the many advantages of using effective inventory asset management software, perhaps the most important is how it prevents over- or under-stocking. Inventory software churns out projections based on order history, so you can prepare for peak seasons and lessen stock during dips. This prevents a company from investing in assets that will reap no eventual rewards. Plan ahead for stock requirements and accurately gauge combined net stock requirements with a click of a button.

Inventory asset management software can also help you streamline your warehouse procedures. You can integrate ordering with cross docking to save time and energy. You can also speed up stock turnover with the software’s real time processing. Moreover, inventory asset management software can help you develop a distribution planning system by simulating purchase patterns and other indicators, so you can take your business to new heights.

The ability to give immediate customer support is another obvious benefits of using inventory asset management software. When you know how much you have and when to deliver more, you can give customers reliable timeframes and commit to contracts more intelligently.

If you are serious about improving your inventory management systems, then you need software that supports production and assembly procedures. Some inventory software business packages have built-in material and capacity planning functions to prop up assembly line processes. You should also choose software that is expandable to handle unique projects. It should allow you to create and maintain customized project tracking and development structures for special or one-time ventures while integrating data to your current processes.

Asset Management Software provides detailed information on Asset Management Software, Digital Asset Management Software, Inventory Asset Management Software, Fixed Asset Management Software and more. Asset Management Software is affiliated with Free Project Management Software.

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Bulk Reselling, Part Three: Storing and Managing Your Wholesale ...

Once you’ve placed an order with your chosen wholesale supplier, you’ll have a bit of time before the shipment arrives to determine where you are going to store your newly acquired bulk reseller items.

Depending on whether or not you’ve purchased something small (like Italian charm bracelets) or something larger (like computers) will determine on how much space you’ll need for your bulk reseller items. Also, some purchases (like clothing) may come in different sizes or colors which will need an organized space to store everything. Of course, if you’ve used a reputable dropshipper, I’d advise skipping this part of the series and moving on to Bulk Reselling, Part Four: Packing and Shipping Your Wholesale Items.

How and where you will receive your wholesale items? They may be loaded on a very large, heavy pallet that needs to be lowered from the back of the shipping truck, or they may be sent in smaller, more manageable boxes. Either way, you’ll need to know beforehand how the bulk wholesale items will be shipped, or else you may have a headache on your hands when the bulk reseller stuff arrives.

Once you’ve determined how you’ll receive and store the bulk reseller pieces, the next step is to create a warehousing system to keep all of the “same” items in one place. This will ease your packing, shipping and inventory management later, so don’t omit this very important step. Make sure to have a home for every different type of item you’ve ordered, and then create a diagram of the grand scheme of things so that you (and your helpers) can easily find everything in seconds.

Next, it’s time to create your inventory management system. You could just have a piece of paper and a pen next to your inventory items, with a list as to where items have been sent, but I’d recommend something a bit more technical for your business’ sake. Many bulk resellers create their own Excel spreadsheet for this purpose, and others use inventory tracking or auction management software (such as ChannelAdvisor or Andale) to simply the process.

Once you’ve completed these time-consuming but crucial steps in the bulk reselling continuum, you are ready to move on to Part Four of this series.

Jim Staley is the is the CEO for WholesaleGopher (http://www.wholesalegopher.com/), one of the most trusted dealer and distributor directories on the Internet, offering visitors wholesale items, import and export goods, surplus and closeouts from true wholesale sources.

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US Retailers Shift Gear to Perform Better

Introduction to the Retail Industry

Retail sector is the second largest industry in U.S., accumulating number of businesses and employees. According to the government broad measure of retail sales that consists food service, gasoline sales and automobiles) sales in the U.S. climb nearly 6.6% to $4.16 trillion in 2005, comparing a 3.8% increase in the year 2004. In the last year, retail industry evolved strongly, due to higher gasoline costs and good discounting during the Christmas.

The elimination of the global textile quota system enforced industry players to reorganize their businesses again to thrive in a cut-throat competition in the global apparel market. Last year was significant for the exporters and retailers, who re-organize to take benefit of the free trade era, and the best possible exploitation of resources. New initiatives were put in practice to meet new challenges to give the buyers value-add products at more competitive prices.

As a result, re-arranging the businesses for stiff competition was also witnessed in the American apparel industry. The sections, in which retailers focus on more are - better merchandise and inventory management, consolidating sourcing and more involvement in sourcing the country. The only reason behind all preparation was for a better market reach with wide product range.

The strategies made into practice last year and plans for growth in 2006 brought success for leading retailers like: Wal-Mart, Target, Tommy Hilfiger, JCPenny, Kohl's, Sears Holding, and Gap Inc., are all sourcing massively from India.

Wal-Mart: Success is a result of expansion strategy

Wal-Mart is considered the leader in value-added market and currently shifting gears to offer better products to its customers. The company was offering limited range in apparel line, but, has introduced the exclusive apparel line, Metr07 collection in Oct 2005. The intention behind launching this collection is to cater the needs of urban buyers with more styles, featuring feminine touches and fashionable looks.

In a move to provide eco-friendly lines, Wal-Mart has just launched durable, hygienic, value-added product, the George Baby Organic cotton clothing line. This would be the first clothing line, for which Wal-Mart is planning for the coming years.

The Wal-Mart management is very optimistic at the record net sales growth with 9.5 percent to $312.4 billion. 537 new international stores have been added and the company is going to sustain a trend this year with more than 600 stores.

Currently, Wal-Mart operates 2,285 international stores, sourcing from 70 countries and is looking to enter into unexploited markets.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc operates Wal-Mart discount stores, super-centers, Neighborhood Markets and SAM'S CLUB locations in the United States. The company operates in Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Germany, China, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Japan, Nicaragua, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico and South Korea.

JCPenney: Sees growth through high-end merchandising

In previous years, JCPenney's has marked upbeat enhancement in various commodity ranges and witnessed increase in recognition as a superb place for shopping. The company is optimistic about the future growth with 18 newly added stores, a 22.5 percent climb in operating profits, and more than $1billion in sales generated from jcp.com. Long-term initiatives have been made, which were implemented in mid 2005 to increase growth rate until 2009.

The designed plan has four major objectives to concentrate on, emotional touch with the customers, creating beautiful and easy shop interiors, to make JCPenney the best working place, and to become a premier in performance. Considering these objectives, the company has launched many new brands such as Miss Biou, Lee-work, Nicole, A.N.A., and Solitude.

The new POS system that provides internet connectivity and lessens transaction time to improve the shopping experience was implemented at more than 30 stores in the previous year. The company will implement this system in the remaining stores by the end of this year.

The company aims to add 27 new stores in 2006; most of them are scheduled at off-mall locations. It anticipates mid-single digit increases in sales in the year with re-organized focus on online merchandise and catalogue. JCPenny's also targets home furnishing area as another area of development.

JCPenney's is one of America's largest department store, catalog, and e-commerce retailers, employing approximately 150,000 associates.

Target: Implementing new ideas & innovations for better growth

In a move to comply its strategy to offer exclusive and exquisite designs, Target sustained to pour-in more investments to developing design and source fashionable, precise merchandise with objectives to add more competitively priced ranges along with true value-added goods. The annual sales reached over $50billion last year, and the company is looking for better growth on this performance by utilizing the experiences gained over the year.

To lure more shoppers, the company launched 'GO international', limited edition clothing line, featuring a totally new international designer every three months. Each collection introduced is carefully placed within the format to use sourcing skills and knowledge in designing the product. The company has strengthened product development teams and sourcing destinations are focused more than in the previous years.

The company is also focusing on enhancement in stores' presentation via the completion of remodeling, renovations and construction at the existing stores.

Target Corporation's continuing operations include large, general merchandise discount stores, as well as an on-line business called Target.com. The company currently operates 1,418 Target stores in 47 states.

GAP Inc.: Searching success via effective strategic initiatives

Last fiscal year was hostile for GAP, as it slipped 2 percent in net sales and 5 percent in comparable store sales. Despite the poor sales performance, Gap strengthens its financial condition in cash and investments with $3billion, and eliminated $2.9billion in debts since 2002.

For the coming years, strategies had been laid-out to set up operational efficiencies, putting scissors on sourcing vendor base, making better shopping experience for all clothing lines, and adding more space to the stores both in the country and overseas. The first expansion of franchise stores are scheduled to launch in Malaysia and Singapore within the current year.

After the triumph of Forth & Towne, five more operations for the brand are planned at different locations in 2006. The GAP designer team is concentrating on making quality products quicker, enhance merchandising at 200 top adult stores, and create buzz that GAP is again on track. The team is focusing on main products and more amicable fashions in the clothing collection for Banana Republic. GAP Inc. is also shaking hands with the stake-holders to handle the bang in economically challenged areas. The major strategies for the growth are - managing and upholding current brands, with off-shore expansion via franchise systems, creating an online business, and making new brands.

Gap Inc is one of the world's largest specialty retailers, with more than 3,000 stores and in 2005 revenues of $16 billion. It operates four of the most recognized apparel brands in the world - Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Forth & Towne.

Kohl's: Success thru ideal merchandising concept

Last year was a fiscal triumph for Kohl's with record net sales up of 14.5 percent to $13.4billion worth of sales. Kohl's attained favorable outcome in broadening the customer base via launching new brands and merchandising mixed categories.

The success was a result of four initiatives laid out to concentrate on merchandise content, managing inventory, marketing, and enhancing store shopping experience. In the current year Kohl's plans to expand on the basis of last year's success and introduce new brands. The store plans to add about 500 more locations within the next five years. This expansion will be made through a strategic blend of existing and new stores, along with taking advantage of real estate opportunities that may climb as the sector continues to uphold. The company plans to operate over 1200 stores throughout US by the end of 2010.

The focus is to control its brand concept, adding value and cater to needs of existing customers. Widen customer base with better management of inventory along with continuously offering of latest and exclusive new clothing lines.

Based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Kohl's is a family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store offering moderately priced national and exclusive brand apparel, shoes, accessories, home, and beauty products in an exciting shopping environment. It operates 749 stores in 43 states.

Sears Holdings: Merger to roll-out silk route

Sears Holdings completed its first year of the 'Sears' and 'K-Mart' grand merger in March 2006. The merger had created great anticipations for better product and value.

The first year after merger, passed in settling down merger integration affairs and putting strategies into practice. However, now all the issues are settled down and the company has shifted its gear to attain for $55 billion in revenue within the next few years.

The integration processes of the two companies are finalized and this is the time to examining and executing the strategies set during the merger. The company is following new format, SearsbraM for clear communication on the quality of product variety.

The popular brands, such as Craftsman, Diehard, Land's End, and Kenmore are aimed for better product assortments to mark their name as identity of quality and excellence. The stores, which were not performing well, have been shut down.

Sears Holdings Corporation is the nation's third largest broad-line retailer, with approximately $55 billion in annual revenues, and with approximately 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada.

Tommy Hilfiger: Tightens inventory management

In terms of achieving objectives, last year was encouraging for Tommy Hilfiger, as it successfully expanded its European business, restructured US wholesale operations, re-organized product assortment, while growing the company as a multi-brand recognition.

The company reorganized merchandise mix by removing the junior and young men's collections, while more concentrated on men's and women's clothing lines. It has enhanced its inventory management to get better on the flow of products to the sales floor.

Tommy is focusing more on sophisticated premium denim market than the promotional jeans wear commodity. Additionally, it is launching new labels for women "Crest", anticipated to meet the increasing demand for casual dress line for women. The management at Tommy is optimistic about the new product line, and expects that it will offer huge opportunity to meet consumer requirements with a casual clothing line.

The key areas of focus, in 2006, are improving marketing efficiencies and reduce excess capacity. The company has initiatives to introduce Lagerfeld brands in the US this year. Lagerfeld brand was acquired by the Tommy Hilfiger in 2005, in a move to expand worldwide with an identity of having multi-brands.

The management has made up its mind to project Hilfiger as a specialty store for it will run test stores in different retail formats. These stores are anticipated to become fully operational the second half of this year.

Tommy Hilfiger Corporation's subsidiaries designs, sources, and market for men's and women's sports, jeans, and children's wear. Its brands range consist Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld.

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How to Make Money Selling on eBay - How to Manage Inventory

Merchandise inventory management is a constant battle for those who have high-volume eBay businesses. Yet if a seller wants to know how to make money selling on eBay one of the keys to success is that inventory management. The lower the amount of cash that is invested in inventory on-hand and the higher the sales, the more likely the odds are for business success.

So how can a seller know when the right level of inventory has been established? How can a seller know when the right level of inventory has been achieved? Those who know how to make money selling on eBay know that there are several components to the perfect answer.

The right answer is based on current sales levels, inventory currently on hand, orders for new resale merchandise that are in transit, and the level of safety stock that is desired. All of these factors combine to provide the answer.

Do you want to know how to make money selling on eBay? Start by taking all of the inventory components and creating the right inventory levels for your eBay business. Place the current numbers for your eBay business into the following formula:

Current On-hand Inventory + Resell Merchandise In-Transit - Anticipated Sales = Anticipated Inventory

Current Inventory can be obtained by physically counting all of the merchandise that is currently on hand and available for sales.

Resell Merchandise In-Transit is simply the merchandise that has been purchased to replenish inventory and is on the way to your business.

Anticipated Sales are the sales that you anticipate making during the selected timeframe. It can be sales for the next week, two weeks, or month. This number can be projected based on current actual sales levels.

Anticipated Inventory is simply the quantity of merchandise that you plan to have in-stock and available for resale as a result of adding everything together. If you have established a safety stock level, the anticipated inventory should be that safety stock level plus anticipated sales for the period until more new replenishment stock arrives.

Do you want to know how to make money selling on eBay? Start by using this formula to help you manage your inventory to the lowest levels possible. By minimizing the investment in inventory an entrepreneur creates the opportunity for greater profits. Managing the inventory helps to ensure that merchandise is always available for shipment as sales are made as well.

To your eBay success!

To read my free e-report Go Here! Bob Hamilton is an entrepreneur, writer and consultant. Bob sold his brick and mortor store to sell on eBay and has been helping others to get started on eBay ever since. http://www.openingadollarstore.com

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Inventory Management - Good Practices And Benefits

In every kind of business, inventory management or management of the inventory consists of a series of processes on the multiple functions with reference to the tracking, handling and managing of goods and materials that are held in stock.

Efficiency in effective inventory management will always give a competitive edge to the business, regardless of its nature. With effective control and management over inventory stock, as well as accurate visibility and fast efficient fulfillments, comparative pricing can be given on a customer-to-customer basis.

In addition to cutting down on operating costs, it will also bring satisfied customers back for more businesses in the near future. However, modern day management of the inventory is usually not as simple as the contemporary practices of just keeping abreast with inventory standards and expenditures.

Most businesses, especially those in the process and manufacturing industries, will require varied sets of both simplified as well as complex integrated inventory management controls. Such regulations are streamlined for effectiveness in compliance and distribution as well as making provision for further improvement on software and other protocols.

Primarily, the first and most important step to commence in inventory management is to acquire accurate data in terms of facts and figures. Next, a set of rules and regulations is set up to protect and guard the information efficiently. Such information may become a crux factor in the improvement of inbound operations, strategies and productivity.

In addition to the physical monitoring of materials being moved into and out of the stockrooms and drawing up reconciliations of the inventory balances, other tasks involved in inventory management may include tracking and reporting of replenishment techniques, analysis on the actual and projected inventory status as well as setting periodic targets and re-engineering the execution framework.

Although having proper management of the inventory may create a great difference in attaining and retaining a competitive edge in the sales markets for certain products of any businesses, it remains an integral and essential effort of a company to reduce its inventory management costs.

As a result, several computer software companies have since developed a standardized set of comprehensive inventory management systems to help businesses control and manage their inventory stock.

Aside from certain specialty features, the requisite module should be able to integrate into the pre-existing software system of the business. In addition to providing a quick and easy access to detailed inventory and ordering information, the new inventory management software should also give accurate and timely data.

Although the inventory management system is a beneficial tool, there are some basic and extremely significant points to ensure an effective and proper flow.

These will include good practices like making accurate entries on every stock receipts into the computer, setting up a replenishment strategy on all items in the stock houses and drawing up specific guidelines on the control of excess inventory as well as on-going dead stock. Such effective inventory management habits will give any kind of businesses a superior competitive advantage over their competitors, especially with an easy-to-use stock analysis tool that delivers quick and accurate information.

Ske Chay of www.trade-opportunities.com Providing some comprehensive information on inventory management at www.inventoryanalytics.com

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Benchmarking Your Way To Success

Bench Marking

What is bench marking all about? Benchmarking is the process of observation and validation of procedures and practices that the most successful companies employ. They set the standard for success. Who has the best customer service, inventory management, pricing systems, logistics, warehouse management or sales effectiveness process? Any business process can be benchmarked. Once we identify the winners, benchmarking is the means to figure out how the winner got to be the best. This provides insight to help determine what we have to do to reach those standards. Bench marking is a best practice. Best practice is not about opinions. You have a bunch of opinions on best practices, I have opinions on best practice and I have the confidence of my convictions. I am an old sales guy. I know that I am right. Why? Because it just feels right. That is not what Best Practice is about. Best Practice bench marking says -- I am going to go out and compare myself to businesses that are similar to mine and look at somebody that does better then I. I am going to take a look at what they do and if I find a Best Practice, I’ll bring it back and apply it. Most business processes are common and very similar throughout wholesale distribution.

“Benchmarking is a best practice tool. It is the process of identifying, understanding and duplicating proven practices from organizations that have consistently performed in the upper quartile of performance to improve your own businesses performance.”

So, who do you bench mark against?

A common mistake many people make when beginning a bench marking initiative is that they only look within their own industry to find a benchmarking candidate. This in itself will not negate your effort to the point of making it valueless. You already have a tremendous amount of knowledge about your own industry. The benchmarking objective should be to find a company or companies that have a proven record of success specifically in the area that is the subject of your benchmarking activity. This means that you must focus on a specific area, process or practice that you are trying to improve. Bench marking an entire company, although interesting and helpful, will not allow you the time or focus to specifically address issues, processes and practices that are specific areas of desired improvement within your company.

Peter Drucker described Wholesale distribution as a dark continent of the American economy. It is the main thing that made us different then communism. Wholesale distribution wasn’t even legal in the Soviet Union or Russia until Boris Yeltsin was elected president. Seven percent of our GDP, 1 out of every 20 jobs in the United States is an employee of a wholesale distributor. So, don’t go thinking that distribution is like some little second string thing, just the middle man, Five percent of all the employment in this country is involved in wholesale distribution. Distribution is not in the backwater of the economy. We are the Dark Continent. We aren’t some invisible thing because wholesale distributors touch everything.

There are 300,000 firms with an average size of $8 million in revenue. The companies that you need to bench mark against should be companies of comparable size. It is not the product, it is not the industry, it is companies in wholesale distribution of similar size and scale. You have very different problems once you have multiple branches then you do when your warehouse is staffed by a man and a dog. So, first of all if you are going to do bench marking, against what do you bench mark yourself? Secondly, out of 300,000 firms, how do you decide who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? ROTA is probably one of the measurement terms that cuts across all lines of wholesale trade. ROTA is the Return On Total Assets. In other words, you could grow sales a lot if you doubled your inventory. How about if you made your terms 30/60/never? You would probably get a lot more sales, but what happens to your assets? Your assets explode. The effectiveness of a wholesale distributor fundamentally is measured by their financial return.

If you plan to initiate a bench marking process in your organization your biggest return in the shortest period of time might be to focus on three specific areas that are generally the most complex for distributors that are growing. Those three areas are:

* Markets

* Customers

* Segmentation

Much can be learned about operations, logistics, technology, purchasing and inventory management but the biggest bang for your buck on your first bench marking adventure lies in focusing on the three categories listed.

Dr. Rick Johnson (rick@ceostrategist.com) is the founder of CEO Strategist LLC. an experienced based firm specializing in leadership for wholesale distribution. CEO Strategist LLC. works in an advisory capacity with company executives in board representation, executive coaching, team coaching and education and training to make the changes necessary to create or maintain competitive advantage. You can contact them by calling 352-750-0868, or visit http://www.ceostrategist.com for more information.

Rick received an MBA from Keller Graduate School in Chicago, Illinois and a Bachelor's degree in Operations Management from Capital University, Columbus Ohio. Rick recently completed his dissertation on Strategic Leadership and received his Ph.D. He’s also a published book author with four titles to his credit: “The Toolkit for Improved Business Performance in Distribution,” the NWFA & NAFCD “Roadmap”, Lone Wolf-Lead Wolf—The Evolution of Sales” and a fiction novel “Shattered Innocence.” Rick’s next book due in November is titled; Lone Wolf – LEad Wolf The Evolution of Leadership

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Inventory Management 101

Inventory management may seem complicated to some, but if one truly thinks about what the words “inventory management” mean, it is a simple concept. Inventory is basically a list of goods and materials that are held by a business and are available in stock. Inventory management is the process of keeping track of inventory, and having the delicate balance of supply and demand firmly mastered. When having inventory, a company does not ever want to have too much of a product, nor does it want to have not enough of that product to meet demand. Inventory management helps to ensure that a proper inventory is maintained at all times.

Benefits of Inventory Management

Inventory management has many benefits for companies. Companies are required to have a certain amount of inventory, but they do not want to have too much. Inventory costs money, so a company with too much inventory is wasting money and hurting itself. Inventory management can help make it so that a company has the exact inventory needed. No more, no less. Inventory management is also an effective way to keep track of exactly what products a company has. If a company sells 100 different products, it is important to know how much of each product they have. This knowledge can be obtained through inventory management. Inventory management appears as an asset on the balance sheet for a company, but it also ties up money. That being said, managing one’s inventory is essential. Well-organized inventory management can help save a business unnecessary costs, while delivering products and services to customers more quickly and efficiently. This will eventually lead to increased customer satisfaction, giving a business a greater chance to retain customers and gain new customers. Successful implementation of inventory will improve the entire business significantly

Inventory Management Software

Who manages the inventory? Naturally, businesses have jobs specifically designed for monitoring inventory. Today, as business technology becomes increasingly important and prevalent, inventory managers use software. Inventory management software may consists of a variety of programs. Most generally, inventory management software has databases in which information can be entered easily. Inventory management software also provides a central hub to find out information on all of the inventory a company has. This is quite useful for any inventory manager, or a company deciding how much additional inventory to purchase.

Suggestions for Successful Inventory Management

Inventory management is a wonderful idea, but it has to be carried out correctly. Some suggestions for successful implementation of inventory management are to have the best software available for one’s company. This does not necessarily mean the most expensive, or technologically advanced. Rather, having the best software to suit the needs of the particular company. It is also important to have highly trained personnel working on inventory management. Employees must be able to adjust to changes in demand and supply as quickly as possible. There are many inventory management seminars available. Sending inventory managers to these seminars is always a good idea. The better the employees understand and successfully implement inventory management, the better off the business will be.

Conclusion

Inventory management is important for keeping costs down, while meeting regulations. Supply and demand is a delicate balance, and inventory management hopes to ensure that the balance is undisturbed. Highly trained inventory managers and high-quality software will help make inventory management a success. The ROI of inventory management will be seen in the forms of increased revenue and profits, positive employee atmosphere, and an overall increase of customer satisfaction.

Steven Ronsworth writes about inventory management frequently. Learn more at Inventory Management Review ( http://www.inventorymanagementreview.org ).

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Inventory Tracking Software

In view of the close interrelation between inventory level and customer service level, inventory control definitely involves a compromise between cost and service. These two factors are the main ingredients of inventory tracking software.

The different functions of physical distribution such as transportation, handling, warehousing and inventory management interact constantly with one another. As the functions are interdependent, the costs are also closely interrelated. Very often, one function offsets the other. For example, if the firm is prepared to incur increased cost on transportation, it may be in a position to reduce its warehousing/inventory cost. This is because when there are no curbs on transportation costs, the firm can use faster modes of transport and rush the stocks to the desired warehouse, and thereby keep inventory at reduced levels. The opposite is also true when warehousing/ inventory holding is unlimited, slackness in transportation does not cause damage to sales.

This means that none of the physical distribution functions can be handled in isolation. They have no separate identities. They need a high degree of coordination and common direction. If the functions are scattered in an arbitrary manner among different departments of the company without a common direction, control will become fragmented and effectiveness will be adversely affected. In fact, under such a situation, the very objectives of inventory tracking software get fragmented and distorted. The different functions would pull in different directions. The transportation people would go all out to reduce the cost of transportation unmindful of the effect of such a policy. They would settle for less reliable and slower modes of transport. The sales people, on the other hand, would opt for large inventories in several locations with a view to maximize customer service.

Inventory Software provides detailed information on Home Inventory Software, Inventory Accounting Software, Inventory Management Software, Inventory Software and more. Inventory Software is affiliated with Fleet Maintenance Software Reviews.

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Seven Ways Microsoft Dynamics AX Can Help You Improve Your ...

Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 is the latest version of Microsoft’s integrated enterprise resource planning system, used by over 7,553 customers to gain competitive advantage. It improves business efficiency, saves administration time and provides real-time information to improve business decision making. Customers of Tectura are recording a total return on investment in just 3 years.

Summary of Microsoft Dynamics AX benefits

1)Efficiently match supply with customer demand and optimise inventory levels. You can create sales and purchase forecasts based on items and time periods and use an unlimited number of forecast models to simulate various future scenarios. To quickly project cash flow, you can transfer item forecasts to the general ledger forecast.

2) Detailed insight into your inventory and item tracking improves inventory management. Inventory dimensions in Microsoft Dynamics AX are a powerful tool for classifying your inventory according to storage and item characteristics, so that you can get a detailed overview of your inventory whenever you need it. With enhanced product tracking and RFID technology, you can track items throughout the system using batch and serial numbers. You can also view documents related to an item from anywhere in the system. At any time, you have direct access to information telling you where items are from, where they are now and where are they going. You can have confidence that you can recall products quickly and efficiently if needed.

3) Improve your materials resource planning. Microsoft Dynamics AX gives you an efficient and flexible means of managing bills of material (BOM) to ensure you get the most accurate costing and materials requirements information. An infinite number of BOM levels can be managed effectively and accurate consumption of raw materials can be calculated using formulas specific to each component. Cost price can be calculated for each level of the BOM, giving you accurate and detailed pricing information which is updated throughout the solution.

4) Improve warehouse efficiency and control through product specific put away strategies, perpetual inventory and resource optimisation. Microsoft Dynamics AX facilitates product specific put away strategies, giving you the ability to sort items by characteristics such as food, non-food, type or weight. This helps you optimise your warehouse resources, with enhanced inventory management and control. It also facilitates perpetual inventory methods, as you can track the value of inventory and quantity of merchandise on hand at any time by tracking sales, returns and receipts.

5) Streamline your supply chain process. Microsoft Dynamics AX streamlines and automates receiving and shipping processes and facilitates cross-docking and back-order shipments. As a high performing system, Microsoft Dynamics AX is designed to handle large amounts of transactions using the same resources. Handling the process from end-to-end takes away the difficulties of manual systems and employee input. It boosts business productivity, whilst supporting business growth.

6) Improve your business visibility with real-time reporting at any stage of the business. By utilising Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, Microsoft Dynamics AX enables users to report on any stage of the business and extract the real-time information they need. It supports activity tracking and activity-based costing. And gives you the ability to perform analysis based on margin, revenue and cost value. Users also find that the familiar Microsoft look and feel makes Microsoft Dynamics AX easier to adopt and fully utilise.

7) Dispatch stock faster and improve the efficiency of sales order processing. Customers want to know if they can have the products and when they will be delivered. Microsoft Dynamics AX‘s direct integration with the warehouse means your sales and customer service employees have a live view of inventory and product availability. They are able to tell the customer in real time about potential delivery dates based on post code information and truck routing. They can find out if products are in stock, what quantities are available between distribution sites and product deliveries expected from suppliers. In addition, faster order entry, combined with the speed and accuracy of information available means employees can process more orders than ever before. Brett Jones, IT Consultant at Sampford & Staff, said that since using Microsoft Dynamics AX, the Service Management division has had a 60% efficiency improvement in sales order processing. This is based purely on dispatching stock faster. It used to take staff an hour to process a sales order, now it takes 10-15 minutes.

To find out more about Microsoft Dynamics AX and Tectura visit www.tectura.co.uk

Tectura UK - Microsoft's Global Partner of the Year for Dynamics AX - http://www.tectura.co.uk

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Inventory Control Software

Any kind of manufacturing operation is almost impossible without the support of software. Custom designed software packages meant for all sorts of applications in the production industry are very common. Inventory control is a very important part of the manufacturing process, and it is extremely essential to check what is moving where, current stock levels, supplier details and seller details to ensure proper compliance with the entire process. This becomes enormously arduous without the proper tools and the right software packages.

An ideal inventory control software is easy to use, flexible, powerful, and able undertake all kinds of inventory control activities such as: serial number tracking, checking the minimum stock levels, reordering quantities, assemble items, disassemble items, FIFO/LIFO cost tracking, item sales history, billing of materials, and real-time adjusting stock levels. It also accommodates customer information, vendor/supplier information, sales, and purchases and generates reports for all categories. It can identify in-stock items, out-of-stock items, and sales quantities by item, customer balances, invoice balances, purchase order details, detailed sales lists, sales tax reports and outstanding order details.

Today, there are many inventory control software packages available. Each of them performs most of the basic functions apart from providing additional services like printing barcode labels, barcode scanning, printing vendor mailing labels, printing item pricing labels, printing customer mailing and shipping labels, locating purchase orders, generating purchase orders automatically, searching for invoices by field name, ability to track serial numbers for items, weight tracking, image association, calculating discounts, tracking non-depleting items, filtering only requested information, and printing invoices and purchase orders. The packages also have better database support to keep vendor and customer information and inventory statistics at the fingertips.

There are also customizable inventory control software packages that can be personalized. They also have user-friendly, multi-user interfaces for easier interaction. Many allow complete remote access when connected to the Internet. The minimum system requirement for installing an inventory control system is a Microsoft Windows operating system (95 or above), 32 MB RAM and at least 24 MB of hard disk space. Some of the popular brands of inventory control software packages are: iRenaissance SCM, Track-It!, TRAX, CoreIMS, NetSuite, InveTrak, and Integrated Inventory Management Software. When choosing inventory control software, consider a few important aspects such as the cost, the functions, integration with the current software systems and long-run maintenance costs. Software packages are available from just $199 onwards. Most companies also allow free download of the trail version for a limited period.

Inventory Control Software provides detailed information on Inventory Control Software, Manufacturing Inventory Control Software, Free Inventory Control Software, Inventory Stock Control Software and more. Inventory Control Software is affiliated with Auto Dealer Inventory Management Software

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Building And Maintaining An Inventory Database Can Be A Vital ...

As a small business owner or operator, you probably thought it was out of your league to build and maintain an inventory database, and that kind of thing was just for the “big boys”. Well you couldn’t be more wrong. Current software readily available for sale and immediate download through the internet can help even your small company revolutionize all aspect of your inventory control and make your business more efficient and probably considerably more profitable.

Part of inventory management package. inventory stock control relates to the effective methods of establishing and maintaining optimum stock levels to enable the running of a business, no matter its size and turnover. A tool that helps in inventory tracking and controlling stock levels, inventory stock control software handles an across company series of actions ranging form inventory order entry, off the shelf charge outs, generating a sales quote, raising invoices, raising replacement inventory purchase orders, purchase orders, dealing with recurring invoicing, and handling multi-job service orders.

Having an active database will help to move your business forward. It will help strengthen your relationship with your existing customers, and give you the confidence and desire to go out and search for new ones. You will find that your stock procurement systems will operate more effectively than ever before. Your database will be able to identify items of inventory that have remained in stock for too long. This facility is ideal for the small business as it will enable you to take this dead stock and discount it sufficiently release the valuable capital that you have tied up in it.

Some of the more powerful and up to date inventory database software includes some other handy features that include barcode generation to really help your inventory system run like clockwork.

Never allow yourself to forget that efficient inventory management control is absolutely essential. It will put your company on an even keel with the most sophisticated of your competitors, and bring your company straight into the cutting edge information technologies of the 21st century.

Russel Clark owns and operates http://www.inventory-management-software-help.com

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Inventory Software

To understand inventory software, it is important to take a close look at the main issues involved in managing inventory. First, there has to be correct identification of the functions performed by the inventories. Second, there has to be an establishment of the right relationship between inventory functions and inventory levels that decides the optimum level of inventory. Finally, strategies have to be worked out to keep inventories at optimum level.

Of these, the most important issue is defining what the optimum inventory is. In simple terms, it is the level that is sufficient to meet the projected demand, but not enough to erode the projected profits. The firm has to determine at what inventory level it can avoid lost sales due to stock out situations. Lost sales are a relevant concept in inventory management from more than one angle.

It is quite easy for any firm to totally avoid stock out situations and the consequent risk of lost sales by maintaining a very high level of inventory incurring a heavy cost. Sound business calls for optimization of inventory levels and costs subject to the condition that the forecasted sales are realized from the relevant territory. Reducing the inventory levels can reduce inventory costs. Obviously, one must assess the probability of run-out and the effect on sales and profit and offset the costs of holding the stocks against the profits accruing from holding the stocks and realizing the sales.

Since the task is basically one of offsetting the costs of holding the inventories against the benefits derived by holding the inventories, inventory management is essentially a balancing act. Inventory is primarily a function of the customer service level fixed by the firm. And the customer service level in the physical distribution context is primarily a function of the ability to meet a demand at the retail outlet level as and when the demand arise from the readily available stocks without having to generate a back order.

Inventory Software provides detailed information on Home Inventory Software, Inventory Accounting Software, Inventory Management Software, Inventory Software and more. Inventory Software is affiliated with Fleet Maintenance Software Reviews.

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Inventory Stock Control Software

Inventory management and control is an integral part of a business- either a manufacturing firm or a service-firm. Efficient inventory management is absolutely essential, not only to keep the firm running smoothly, but also to represent professionalism and profitability to potential customers and investors.

Inventory stock control is a part of inventory management that relates to maintaining stock levels effectively. Inventory stock control software is a tool that helps in inventory tracking and controlling stock levels, real-time as well as batch. It proficiently deals with order entry, point-of-sale (POS) invoicing, quotation generation, invoice generation, preparing purchase orders, dealing with recurring invoicing, and handling multi-job service orders. The software has intelligent interfaces that can determine when stock needs to be reordered, giving the user complete control over the inventory cycle. This helps keep the inventory always stocked up so that the user does not lose an order due to insufficient stock. The software can also identify and remove dying stock. It can track sales trends over a period of time and report on expected orders. Other useful features include barcode generation, customer and supplier database management, email support, multi-user interface, reorder management, group inventory, and generation of custom reports.

Integrated Inventory Management Software from NetSuite, XpertMart from Dinari Systems, Inventory Strategy Manager from Entalysis, iMagic Inventory Software from iMagic, Inventory4000 from Real Asset Management and STOCK.NET from Xpress Data Systems are some of the products available. Inventory stock control software can be bought for $199. There are many advanced versions also available, for a higher price. Most providers also offer free demo versions for a limited period. The minimum system requirements for installing this software are: an Intel Pentium processor, Microsoft Windows 95 OSR 2.0/ Windows 98 SE/ Windows Millennium Edition/ Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 5/ Windows 2000/ or Windows XP, 32 MB RAM and a 24MB space in the hard disk.

Inventory Control Software provides detailed information on Inventory Control Software, Manufacturing Inventory Control Software, Free Inventory Control Software, Inventory Stock Control Software and more. Inventory Control Software is affiliated with Auto Dealer Inventory Management Software.

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Managing Your Restaurant Inventory Wisely

Inventory management is a necessity in every business, but more and more restaurants are realizing that it can be the difference between success and failure.

Inventory management is the process of controlling costs and waste through effective use of on-hand product. Combine this with a reliable forecasting model and restaurants can realize dramatic reductions in their monthly spending.

Every business is faced with the unfortunate reality that employees will steal from their employer. An effective inventory management system combined with secure storage and lock-up procedures will result in far less loss due to employee theft.

In the restaurant industry there are primarily three types of inventory management systems: Manual or Limited Integration, Mixed P.O.S. or Partial Integration and Fully-Integrated.

Manual or Limited Integration

Manual inventory management refers to the process of physically counting each item every week to obtain restaurant costs. This system is more suited to smaller, independently-owned operators who purchase fewer items and maintain simpler accounting records.

Once all counting is completed, then data can then be transferred to the restaurant’s accounting system. If there are no errors, the inventory is complete. If there are errors however, the entire inventory process must start again to find the mistakes.

Mixed P.O.S.

Mixed Point of Sale (POS) or partial integration, combines the restaurant’s POS system with manual inventory procedures. Point of sale refers to the computer system used to order food and drinks as well as settling all checks.

Each time an item is ordered through the POS it is removed from the current inventory. When the items are counted during inventory, the on-hand stock should match the inventory listed by the POS. If however, there are discrepancies between the two lists, another physical count of the inventory must begin.

This method of inventory management is more effective than the limited system, and when combined with strong loss-prevention procedures can result in large cost reductions per month.

Fully-Integrated

A fully-integrated inventory management system implements three different elements into its system. It combines the restaurant POS system with an Ordering/Shipping system as well as an electronic physical inventory system. This is the most sophisticated and accurate of the three systems and results in the least amount of monthly and overall loss of product and profits.

Some restaurant suppliers will provide their more important restaurants with an online ordering system. This system is integrated with the restaurant’s POS and can accurately predict what is in on-hand inventory, as well as forecasting the size of the next supply order.

Once per week or even per month there is a physical inventory done with portable, electronic bar-code readers and electronic scales. All data is automatically sent to both the supplier and the restaurant.

Some are so sophisticated that they incorporate the recipe breakdowns, by ingredient and then calculate the inventory. This type of system will save you money in the long run but also help you run a more streamlined and efficient restaurant business.

R&I Solutions is the maker of Cost Genie, a leading restaurant costing and inventory software program. Get a free demo today at http://www.costgenie.com

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Recommend The Best Inventory Management Practice For Office ...

In the office furniture world, an Inventory Management System and an Asset Management System are basically the same thing. If you are responsible for maintaining excess office furniture, an effective method of managing this inventory can be beneficial for your company.

  • It can be cost effective when you reuse furniture instead of purchasing new furniture.
  • Furniture can be readily available for new employees.
  • If you have need to rent furniture on occasion, you may have what you need in your inventory.

Inventory management software saves both money and time when tracking your inventory. Excess furniture can be bar-coded and inventoried before put into storage. The condition of each piece of furniture can be noted. Or this furniture can be cleaned, repainted, touched up, or reupholstered first so it's readily available when needed.

Warehouses that are experienced in asset management may already have an inventory management system in place. If they don't, you might consider purchasing the software program that is best suited to your needs or sharing the cost with the warehouse. Many software companies will train staff members to use their inventory management system programs.

TIP: The ideal situation would be that the warehouse that manages your inventory is owned by your office furniture dealership. There are several reasons for this, but the primary reason is that the warehouse only "works" for one dealership.

If you are considering implementing an inventory management system, here are some issues you should consider and discuss with your office furniture representative.

  • monthly storage charges
  • approximate delivery and/or installation charges
  • can the warehouse arrange for cleaning, repainting, touch ups, or reupholstery; if they can, ask for a breakout of approximately charges for each function
  • will you have online access to the inventory information; if not, will you receive updated reports after changes are made
  • how long will it take for updates after furniture has been removed or brought into the warehouse
  • will your product be covered by insurance; you may want to go into detail about the actual coverage
  • would the warehouse store and track non-furniture items such as equipment, computers, etc.
  • will your stored furniture be racked so it doesn't sit directly on the floor

TIP: Make sure you visit the warehouse where your furniture will be stored. Some warehouses are immaculate and others look like an indoor garbage dump. The furniture stored should be on racks or stored in another manner so it won't get wet in case of flooding.

About the Author: Janet Vogel, who is retired from the office furniture industry, is now the owner of Homemade Gift Basket Ideas which she created to supplement her retirement income

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Financial Performance - The Key to Survival

Our culture revolves around statistics. In baseball there are statistics for the total number of bases a batter achieves versus his batting average. In cinema, the second week of a film's run is a more important factor in determining its long term success than the first. And in farming a high per acre crop yield is more important than the total bushels harvested.

All these statistics relate in one way or another in determining how well we do. They are the measuring sticks of life. Business use them; governments use them; churches use them; non-profit organizations use them. The most widely used statistic or measuring stick is the financial statement.

Financial statements are the measuring stick for success or failure in business. They provide management with the ability to measure their success or failure. The value of a company is measured by its financial resources and ability to generate income. Financial statements are tools we use to buy or sell a business, to purchase stock of a business listed on the stock exchange, and to validate our income and expenses in our non-profit organization or church. Financial statements are the single largest resource used by bankers to determine if they should lend money to a prospective customer. The federal and state governments use our financial statements to assess taxes.

Within a company, financial statements are the most accurate record of performance and one of the most helpful tools to management, if they are used correctly. Financial statements can help management determine if profit targets are being met, if cash flow is adequate, if long range objectives are being achieved; and they provide a backbone for predicting the future. In short, if management uses their monthly financial statements as a resource and management tool, it usually determines the difference between failure and doom.

The Key Components of a Financial Statement

The most important element of a financial statement is the balance sheet. The balance sheet provides a picture, a literal snap shot, of the financial health at a given time in a company's history. The balance sheet is composed of three primary segments: Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (stockholders equity). Think of a balance sheet as a teeter totter, the only difference is there is one person on onside and two people on the other side and it always is in balance. The one person by themselves could be considered the assets: the total funds invested in the business and the other side. The liabilities are the fund supplied to the business by its creditors and Net Worth is funds supplied to the business by its owners. Debra, if you can think of a better way to picture this, give it a try.

The balance sheet has been standardized by the accounting profession and essentially all basically contain the same categories. You can pick up a balance sheet of General Motors and one from your local grocer and each will have assets, liabilities and net worth.

The assets in a balance sheet are arranged in decreating order of how quickly then can be turned into cash (liquidity). That is why Cash is always first, accounts receivable second, inventory third and so on. The liabilities are listed in order of how soon they must be repaid. In this fashion, accounts payable usually top the list, other payable, taxes payable, bank note payable, mortgages and so on. Net worth is defined by a number of categories depicting what type of funds are invested by the owners or stockholders.

In more detail these are:

1. Assets - This includes current assets: cash, accounts receivable and inventory; fixed assets: land, buildings, equipment, machinery, furniture; and other assets patents, trade marks, and money due from others (accounts or notes receivable).

2. Liabilities - This includes funds acquired for a business through loans or the sale of property or services to the business on credit. Creditors do not acquire business ownership but hold promissory notes that are to be paid at a designated future date. Liabilities are defined as either current liabilities, payable within a year or long term, liabilies with maturies longer than a year. Current liabilities would include accounts payable, notes payable, taxes payables, salaries payable, and the current portion of long term debt. Long term debt would include mortgages payable, notes payable and any other obligation or money due to a creditor.

3. Shareholders' equity (net worth). This is money put into a business by its owners for use by the business in acquiring assets. Money can flow into equity through common stock, preferred stock, retained earnings (profit earned by the company in prior years) and current earnings, all total the net worth. Deductions to net worth would include treasury stock and dividends.

Your financial balance

The balance sheet is an excellent tool, management tool, for keeping you in tune with the financial balance or financial imbalance of your business or organization. This financial balance has cash flow and profit implications, which can greatly benefit or hinder the businessman. Entrepreneurs usually start their companies with a little bit of money, usually not enough. The overwhelming share of owner’s equity, though, comes from that powerful source-retained earnings. During the history of the business, there needs to be a reasonable balance between the proportion of owners (stockholders) money in the business (net worth) and others people's (liabilities). There isn't a precise, scientifically derived cutoff point between financial balance and financial imbalance, but there is an approximate point and its impact is really and immediate.

The best way to determine this point is through a ratio called the debt to worth ratio. It measures the relationship between liabilities (others people's money) to net worth (owners/stockholders money). This ratio is calculated by dividing the total liabilities by the total equity (common stock + retained earnings + current year earnings). Example, if the company had $350,000 in liabilities and $100,000 in net worth the company would have a 3.5 to 1 debt to equity ratio or for every dollar the owners had invested in the business, the other people have $3.50 loaned to the business. Determining the adequacy or inadequacy of this debt to worth relationship is not simple and is based on the historical performance of the company, the type of industry, the owner's own net worth and the concrete prospects that company has for profitable operations in the immediate future.

Consequently, for entrepreneurs to be able to manage the financial balance of their own businesses, they will have to be able to analyze their own financial statements and be able to evaluate those results in the light of some good business planning. This is particularly important due to the fact that the great cause of business failures is financially related. An article in the spring issue of Journal of Management Consulting, detailed the nine most commonly cited causes of small business failure. They are as follows:

1) lack of financial planning,
2) absence of business records,
3) no understanding or use of business records,
4) poor cash-flow management,
5) poor inventory management,
6) poor costing or pricing,
7) poor market research,
8) poor inventory management and
9) over borrowing.

The balance sheet is also the great resource of information in determine what needs to happen to increase cash flow in the business. The effective utilization of all assets: accounts receivable, inventory and fixed assets, is paramount to maximizing cash flow in the business. With information detailed in the balance sheet and a profit and loss statement, a business can measure the effective utilization of their investment in these key assets that directly affect cash flow.

Dan Lacy is the founder of Dynasty Business Building and is the principal in the organization. Currently, he has ownership in three different businesses. Dan has also consulted start up businesses where they began with an idea and a bit of borrowed money. He has coached over 500 businesses over the last 18 years, all across the United States. In the process, Dan has become a self-made millionaire.

Prior to going into business for himself, Dan received a Masters Degree in Business from the Peter Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate School. He worked for one of the fastest growing banks in California, ran a small business investment company (business lender to high risk borrowers) and managed a venture capital fund.

For more information visit http://www.dynastybuilder.com

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Supply Chain Inventory Management

A supply chain consists of three parts – procurement of raw materials and semi-finished products, converting them into finished products, and distributing them for sale. In this context, supply chain inventory management implies that the inventory should be managed in such a way that the supply chain can function without any shortages or excess burdens of large supplies.

Supply chain inventory management starts with the chain of suppliers who supply raw materials and semi-finished products. A person who is managing the supply chain is supposed to forecast the demand and supply of various products of the firm; the inventory management is done accordingly.

If the forecast indicates a higher demand in the near future, greater supplies of raw material and finished products have to be procured. Also, the process must be completed in time and without resulting in cost overruns.

A crucial part of supply chain inventory management involves managing warehouses. It helps in the proper storage and transportation of raw materials to production units, as well as the distribution of finished products through a chain of retailers and wholesalers. Supply chain inventory management ensures that the finished products are delivered at specific locations according to the pre-determined schedule.

Keeping in view the dynamic state of markets all over the world, supply chain inventory management has become a crucial factor in deciding the overall profits of a firm. Poor supply chain inventory management could spell disaster for any company. The higher the inventory investment as a percentage of total assets of a company, the higher the damage caused by poor inventory management. To ensure that this doesn't happen, there are various software tools available in market to help in supply chain inventory management. They are cost-effective, easy to use, and expedite various processes involved in supply chain inventory management. Thus, they are increasingly becoming popular. One can get customized software to suit one's specific needs also.

Inventory Management provides detailed information on Inventory Management, Inventory Management Software, Supply Chain Inventory Management, Inventory Management Systems and more. Inventory Management is affiliated with E-Procurement Services.

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Inventory Management Systems

Inventory management systems help a firm in managing the flow of raw materials, semi-finished and finished products, and equip the staff to co-ordinate various activities for effective inventory management.

Inventory management systems do not make decisions directly, but help the employees to make decisions. A good inventory management system would also provide help in forecasting the demand and supply apart from ensuring that the confusing paper work is done away with, and making sure that information about warehouses, and links to suppliers of raw materials as well as customers, retailers and wholesalers is readily available for use. The basic constituents of an inventory management system are sales forecast, production planning, advanced planning for procuring raw materials and semi-finished products required for manufacturing and keeping the inventory at a desirable level.

A number of software tools and offline resources are available to help a firm devise a productive inventory management system. In big companies, experts are entrusted with the job of handling inventory management systems. Such companies mostly use customized software.

There are specialized firms which help design operating systems. Companies which have huge inventories prefer to go for inventory management systems. This ensures that there is no pilferage or wastage, warehouses are managed properly and there is no loss of sale due to shortage of finished products or behind-schedule supplies to customers. Information systems need to be upgraded at regular intervals. Several new features can be added to such systems without costing too much. There are several training courses which can help one to learn more about inventory management systems. Many of them are short-term courses which help one learn how to manage these systems optimally.

Inventory Management provides detailed information on Inventory Management, Inventory Management Software, Supply Chain Inventory Management, Inventory Management Systems and more. Inventory Management is affiliated with E-Procurement Services.

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Inventory Management

Inventory management refers to the process of managing the stocks of finished products, semi-finished products and raw materials by a firm. Inventory management, if done properly, can bring down costs and increase the revenue of a firm.

How much one should invest in inventory management? The answer to this question depends on the volume and value of inventory as a percentage of the total assets of a firm. The importance of inventory management varies according to industries. For example, an automobile dealer has very high inventories, sometimes as high as 50 per cent of the total assets, whereas in the hotel industry it may be as low as 2 to 5 per cent.

The process of inventory management is a continuous one and there are various kinds of solutions available. It is advisable to employ specialized staff for inventory management.

The inventory management process begins as soon as one has started production and ordered raw materials, semi-finished products or any other thing from a supplier. If you are a retailer, then this process begins as soon you have placed your first order with the wholesaler.

Once orders have been placed, there is generally a short period of time available to a firm to put an inventory management plan in place before the supplies are delivered. Inventory management helps a firm to decide in advance where these supplies should be stored. If a firm is getting supplies of small-sized goods, it may not be much of a problem to store them, but in the case of large goods, one has to be careful so that the warehousing space is optimally utilized.

From invoices to purchase orders, there is lot of paperwork and documentation involved in inventory management. Several software programs are available in market, which help in inventory management.

Inventory Management provides detailed information on Inventory Management, Inventory Management Software, Supply Chain Inventory Management, Inventory Management Systems and more. Inventory Management is affiliated with E-Procurement Services.

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Inventory Management Software

Firms which handle large amounts of inventory prefer to use inventory management software. Effective inventory management means you always know what is in your hand, what you have sold and what you have not. It is a complex task. There are several software programs which help a firm manage their inventory. Some of this software is available for free on the Internet. But it may not fulfill all your needs.

In such a situation, you can purchase inventory management software that suits your business. This software can be purchased offline as well as online. They are easy to use and help even non-IT persons to keep track of their firm's inventory. This software is available in different price ranges.

If you are not able to get suitable ""ready to use"" inventory management software, then you can go for customized software. Many big firms do that. There are several software companies that provide such customized software. They also provide help in training the staff that is purchasing the software, so that they are able to make the best use of the customized software. Customized software is more expensive.

Most inventory management software comes with ""tutorials"" that help one to learn how to use the software. The biggest advantage of inventory management software is that it allows firms to get rid of the paperwork and complex documentation involved in managing the inventory. Your current inventory position will always be just a click away. You can check your inventory from anywhere in the world. That helps ensure that your stores are never over-stuffed with products, and that factories do not face any shortage of raw material.

Inventory Management provides detailed information on Inventory Management, Inventory Management Software, Supply Chain Inventory Management, Inventory Management Systems and more. Inventory Management is affiliated with E-Procurement Services.

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Opening a Dollar Store - Inventory Management

One of the biggest challenges faced by those who are opening a dollar store is associated with inventory management. While sales may only be in the hundreds or low thousands on most days, that still means that an equal number (100’s to 1,000’s) of items have been sold and need to be recognized as no longer being available for sale. Faster selling item inventories need to be managed to insure that adequate inventory is maintained to allow sales to continue. Slowest selling items need to be recognized to determine the right steps to take in increasing sales or liquidating those specific items from your future sales inventory.

For most who are opening a dollar store the costs associated with inventory management software cannot be handled. There simply is not money in the start up budget to purchase the software. For those entrepreneurs plans should developed to use early profits to make that purchase.

All entrepreneurs who are opening a dollar store must put some kind of inventory management tools in place before their store opens. For smaller store that can be as simple as manual inventory sheets with specific timing for physical inventory scheduled. Focus should be placed on higher selling departments as well as the fastest selling items in the store.

Failing to maintain a constant inventory of in-demand items will result in sales losses. Not having in-demand items readily available will also motivate shoppers to move on to other stores that routinely maintain adequate inventories of those items. Once a customer is lost the time and expense associated with regaining that customer can be significant.

Are you opening a dollar store? No matter how big or small your store will be never forget the importance of adequate inventory management. Inventory management can help to insure that your store sales continue to grow and that you are carrying the right products to meet your customer needs.

To Your Dollar Store Success!

Do you want to own your own Dollar Store? Visit www.openingadollarstore.com for more information. http://www.onlineauctionsmadesimple.net

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Inventory Management Software

Effective management of finished product inventory is quite essential for running a business efficiently and profitably. Inventory strategies and decisions become particularly important in businesses where inventory costs form a sizeable part of total marketing costs.

Carrying inventories becomes inescapable in most businesses, because the producing activities and consuming activities take place at different times, in different locations and at different rates. Inventories are made up of several elements: operational stocks kept for meeting the ready demand at different consumption centers. Some stock will be in transit at any given point of time, while other stock will be awaiting shipments. Finally, there are kept for meeting emergencies. All these make up the total inventory.

While discussing inventory management software, it is important to keep an eye on the elements of inventory costs. A variety of costs are incurred in carrying the inventories. They include interest on capital tied up in the inventory, warehouse rent, staff salaries, insurance, rates and taxes, stationery, postage and communication charges, administrative overheads, costs of handling, unloading and stacking, loss due to damage and deterioration while on storage and cost of order processing.

In businesses where the turnaround of inventories is rather slow, interest on the capital tied up in the inventory becomes the most significant element of the total inventory carrying costs. In fact, inventory cost causes the most worry to manufacturers today. Increased competition has resulted in the accumulation of stock in a number of industries. Inventory carrying costs are on the increase not merely because of increased level of inventories. Every increase in the price of the products pushes up the inventory carrying costs as the value of the locked up product goes up in the process. Similarly, every increase in the interest rates also pushes up the inventory carrying costs.

Inventory Software provides detailed information on Home Inventory Software, Inventory Accounting Software, Inventory Management Software, Inventory Software and more. Inventory Software is affiliated with Fleet Maintenance Software Reviews.

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Small Business Inventory Management Software

The success of a small business depends on the proper management of its resources. Studies indicate that most small businesses fail. A major reason for the failure is poor recordkeeping practices, which results in frequent occurrences of stock depletion, careless invoicing and subsequent loss of customers and business. This kind of failure can be avoided by proper inventory management.

Small business inventory management software usually includes basic inventory management features such as serial number generation, stock level monitoring, barcode scanning, and item cost tracking. It may be used to display information such as product sales history, item location, and sales tax. Through the software, one can keep track of purchase orders, received goods and taxes paid on the goods. The software can be programmed to automatically prepare purchase orders for some specific items. Small business inventory management software also handles the sales part of the business. It keeps track of the sales price, sales quantities, customer information, invoices, goods returns, shipping cost, sales tax, and payment method. The software can be used to produce a variety of reports such as inventory summary, customer-wise sales report, outstanding orders, detailed sales list, bill of materials and sales tax report.

Small business inventory management software may turn out to be the best investment a small business can make. This kind of software is usually inexpensive and therefore not hard on the budget. Additional hardware and software required for supporting it are also available at reasonable rates. The software is generally easy to operate and maintain, and there is no need for high-end training. However, a company wishing to purchase small business inventory management software should acquire it based on current as well as future requirements.

Inventory Management Software provides detailed information on Inventory Management Software, Asset Inventory Management Software, Auto Dealer Inventory Management Software, Free Inventory Management Software and more. Inventory Management Software is affiliated with Free Inventory Control Software.

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Auto Dealer Inventory Management Software

Auto dealer inventory management software is designed to help car dealers perform several management tasks. Management tasks that need manual recording and storing can be totally avoided using the software. A database in the auto dealer inventory management software tracks and stores all the information for future analysis. The data tracked and stored in the database includes information about the vehicle, such as purchase price, detailed expense tracking and auction information, and the pictures of all past and present inventories.

Auto dealer inventory management software caters to dealers trading in both used and new cars. The software can be bought off-the-shelf, or designed for the specific needs of the user. Car inventory management is a common feature in all auto dealer inventory management software programs. An interface for marketing and sale is another feature. Auto dealer inventory management software manages details and photos of the vehicle, and this information can be transferred to the website server database. Certain kinds of auto dealer inventory management software can give printouts to customers. Other features include tracking the worthiness of online advertisements, and customer details and accounting capabilities.

The software can track management operations and generate reports regarding the performance of salespersons. A list of blocked persons, known as ‘specialty designed nationals’ (SDN), is compiled by the government and provided to financial enterprises to prevent terrorism. Most software versions now have this feature, as non-compliance can lead to fines.

Auto dealer inventory management software programs have user-friendly interfaces which enable users with little or no computer experience to take full advantage of these. Ease of accessing and assured data security count are among the other beneficial features of auto dealer inventory management software.

Inventory Management Software provides detailed information on Inventory Management Software, Asset Inventory Management Software, Auto Dealer Inventory Management Software, Free Inventory Management Software and more. Inventory Management Software is affiliated with Free Inventory Control Software.

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Manufacturing Inventory Management Software

Manufacturing inventory management software is a specialized software package which monitors and manages the inventory required in all stages of the manufacturing process. This software manages processes such as purchase order placements, tracking the usage at each manufacturing stage, periodic checking of inventory levels, and reordering of depleted stock. Manufacturing inventory management software forms a key component in the automation of the manufacturing process. It helps in faster processing of the system with minimal human intervention. A company can rely on manufacturing inventory management software for greater productivity and better utilization of its resources.

Inventory control forms the core functionality of manufacturing inventory management software. Each stock item is tracked through the manufacturing process. The stock level is periodically matched with the reorder level to automatically generate purchase orders and requests for quotations in regard to fresh purchase orders. The software also performs other tasks such as serial number assignment, work order assignment, and report generation. A person operating the software is given a detailed history of the product manufacturing process. Advanced versions of the software can calculate labor costs and indirect costs involved in manufacturing. Personnel belonging to the production department can enter their hourly job status, which is utilized while preparing employee histories and job cost summaries. Manufacturing inventory management software has additional features such as customer order tracking, customer report generation, and tracing of the product order history of individual customers.

Increased productivity and faster processing promised by manufacturing inventory management software are often dependent on the user. Hence, a menu-driven interface is the mandatory requirement of manufacturing inventory management software. The software is feature-rich and can perform multiple tasks like storage bin label printing, database searching, and auxiliary report printing. It can also import and export production-related data into a variety of different file formats. Furthermore, the software supports a multi-user environment.

Inventory Management Software provides detailed information on Inventory Management Software, Asset Inventory Management Software, Auto Dealer Inventory Management Software, Free Inventory Management Software and more. Inventory Management Software is affiliated with Free Inventory Control Software.

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Asset Inventory Management Software

Asset inventory management software is a special package used for automating and steamlining the various inventory processes and managing the fixed assets of an organization in a quicker and easier manner. With businesses growing at a rapid pace, the need for asset inventory management software has grown.

Asset inventory management software allows the company to account for and execute changes in inventory. By keeping accurate records of the changes to its inventory, an organization can make better decisions in purchasing and maintain the assets critical to its daily operations.

Asset inventory management software offers a customizable and easy solution for any fixed or digital asset tracking process. This software is mainly used to catalog and produce reports on an organization's physical inventory, including desks, chairs, and other equipment. Organizations will be able to reduce the cost of purchasing redundant equipment with the aid of inventory management software. Furthermore, asset inventory management software helps in pinpointing trends in inventory use and replacement.

The benefits of asset inventory management software include the use of bar code technologies, and the tracking of all transferable assets using the check in /check out system. It controls all the asset cost information such as property type, acquisition date, class, location, supplier, and accumulated and expense account numbers. In addition, asset inventory management software manages asset costs more effectively.

Asset inventory management software can be installed to any standard web server, and is easily accessible via the Internet from anywhere in the world, no matter which operating system the computer uses.

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Salon Inventory Management Software

The beauty care industry has emerged today as one of the most lucrative and competitive industries. Almost all major salon chains boast a clientele numbering in thousands. This large customer base calls for efficient management of the salon’s resources for providing better and timely services. Salon inventory management software, as the name suggests, handles the management of an inventory comprising a variety of items. Salon inventory management software is usually part of a larger salon management software package that includes online booking, appointment management, client tracking, employee payroll, and other important tasks associated with the salon. All these components are designed to increase the efficiency and profitability of the business.

Salon inventory management software maintains a database that holds information about all the beauty products that are stored in the salon’s warehouse. This information is constantly updated based on the incoming and outgoing goods. Salon inventory management software databases also hold reorder levels of individual products. The reorder levels are compared with current stock levels, so as to send a notification to the store manager in case the products have to be reordered. In some cases, purchase orders are automatically generated and sent to the suppliers. The report generation module produces a variety of reports, which gives the salon owner detailed analytical information regarding individual product quantities and their demand. Future stock procurements are usually based on these reports.

Newer versions of salon inventory management software often include customer information. Products purchased by each customer are recorded in the database. This information helps in tracking individual customer preferences and overall customer trends. Furthermore, the operators of the software can get a complete history of the customers in just a few clicks. Awareness of customer history and preferences assist in giving the customers better service each time they visit the salon. In the competitive world of salon business, the quality of service is a decisive factor in retaining customers. Salon inventory management software has thus come to play a pivotal role in managing the business.

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Free Inventory Management Software

Free inventory management software has an increased presence on the web, following the persistent growth and success of e-commerce. Free inventory management software helps manage inventory from any location in the world. Free inventory management software is ideal for small and medium-sized enterprises such as shopping malls, home businesses, book stores, computer stores and others.

Free inventory management software packages are designed for inventory control. The software facilitates the creation of an invoice, and manages inventory control, stock balance management, goods item management and overall staff management.

Online inventory management software packages are given as freeware to support advertisements of particular products. These freeware versions usually operate without any restrictions. A few are free download versions lasting for a 30-day trial period. The evaluation version of free inventory management software packages will work only for a specified amount of data. As the number of records increases, the software terminates its processing. But in the case of registered versions there exist no problems, as future upgrades can be done online.

There are a large amount of inventory management software providers and other inventory control software resources available on the Internet, which includes inventory control software white papers and case studies. Some of the inventory service websites request inventory data before the freeware is downloaded. But be careful not to provide any inventory data on servers, as it can be accessed by a third person from anywhere in the world.

So be careful in choosing the right software for your organization. Before selecting free inventory management software, you should make sure that the software that is chosen will match all the requirements of the organization.

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Inventory Management Software

Inventory management software is required to efficiently manage and achieve appropriate levels in the supply chain. Inventory management software reduces your inventory costs and increases the efficiency and level of control you are able to exercise over your growing distribution business. Inventory can be one of the indicators of management effectiveness in the context of materials management. Inventory management software provides exact details of the stock you have, what you have ordered and what you have sold. This saves time, money and labor, and improves your sales. The large amount of paperwork that was needed for proper management can be a thing of the past, with efficient use of inventory management software.

A wide choice of inventory management software is available on the market, but certain features such as the cost, function, integration and maintenance have to be considered before adopting any particular software into the fold. The cost factor must definitely be tailored to the budget available. You must also decide the degree of complexity of your program, before settling for the software.

Certain kinds of inventory management software simply tell you the location and size of the inventory you possess. There are others that perform these functions plus forecast your future inventory, taking into consideration even weather forecasts by utilizing network information. The integration feature tells you whether you need a standalone system or one that integrates into the existing system of the organization. The maintenance aspect helps you to decide whether highly skilled labor is required, and also maintains a high degree of accuracy in functioning.

Almost all the software available performs general functions such as preparing invoices, keeping a database of clients, reordering stock, maintaining balances of inventory, etc. The market has new inventory management software coming in every other day, and it would be advantageous if a general study of the systems available is done before a decision is made.

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Inventory Management Guide 101

In business management inventory consists of a list of goods and materials held available in stock. Management of an inventory or Inventory management is all about handling functions related to the tracking and management of material. This includes the monitoring of material moved into and out of stockroom locations and reconciling the inventory balances, setting targets, providing replenishment techniques, reporting actual and projected inventory status. The task of ABC analysis, lot tracking, cycle counting support etc. can even be a part of inventory management.

The primary and foremost step in inventory management is acquiring accurate information for inbound operations. The information so gained in advance can be a crucial factor in improving the inbound productivity. Setting up of an advanced inbound strategy and execution framework can be done without too much of re-engineering effort for the supply chain. The perfect way to commence is to make the best use of information available to you and establish a set of rules and regulations to harness the information efficiently.

In order to better your work and progress further you can conduct a survey by asking supply chain executives to name the five most important area for improvement in operations support systems. The outcome of your survey will reflect better inventory planning as one of the target areas. You must pay special heed to establish an effective way to maintain inventory data integrity or setting up higher productivity and capacity utilization. Lack of efficient inventory data integrity can lead to large amount of non-productive labor, underutilized distribution center capacity and diminished customer service levels due to incomplete or late orders.

From past few years distributors were looking forward for a device that can help them control and manage their largest asset, inventory. As a result several computer software companies have developed comprehensive inventory management modules and systems. These fresh packages enable the distributor to effectively manage his warehouse stock.

Tough the software technique is a beneficial aid yet it cannot provide solutions to inventory management problems. In order for the inventory management system to live upto its potential and perform its best, make sure that you follow quite a few basic and extremely significant ways of good inventory management.

To begin with, ensure that your company is protected against theft. There should be no pilferage problem at your place. While ordering, order only the amount of non-stock or special order items that your customer has approved of. If you wish to add an inventory, you must get a purchase commitment from your customer. Make sure that you assign and use bin sites. Establishment and usage of proper bin sites make order picking a hassle free job in your warehouse. Don’t ever forget to make an entry of the material leaving your warehouse. Try to get rid of the ‘no charge/no paperwork’ material swaps. You should charge the product samples to a salesperson account until they are either returned to stock or charged to the customer.

Effective inventory management also requires paper work (picking documents to be filled by the end of the day, entry of every single stock receipt in computer etc.) that is upto the mark, determination of the most beneficial replenishment strategy for each item in each warehouse, setting up some lucrative offers and awards for the buyers, specifying guidelines for setting the reorder method and setting up of an on-going dead stock and excess inventory control program.

Mansi Aggarwal recommends that you visit Inventory Management for more information.

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Storage Trailer Inventory Management Software

Storage trailer inventory management software streamlines the processes involved with managing the business. An important process in the supply chain cycle is the movement and storage of goods within and outside the warehouse. Storage trailer inventory management software manages this facet of the system. Apart from transportation management, some software types include order management and accounting functionalities.

Storage trailer inventory management software operations include picking, storage, and restocking. Additionally, the software also manages advanced functionalities such as cross docking, goods tracking, automated data collection, and yard management. Furthermore, each transaction that is carried in between is tracked and recorded. This enables users to monitor the efficiency of the transaction and the profit involved. The detailed information also enables the storage trailer inventory management software to calculate shortages and excesses.

Storage trailer inventory management software helps a company maintain control over its products, equipment, space, manpower, and other resources connected with transportation and storage. To ensure maximum possible accuracy in tracking the inventory, storage trailer inventory management software usually utilizes advanced technologies such as bar code readers and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags. These technologies automate the recording process of incoming and outgoing goods. They aid in the validation of part numbers, quantity, and location. They reduce the chances of any misreporting, which commonly occur in manual procedures. Quality storage trailer inventory management software is characterized by easy-to-use functionalities and utilities. Although the software is rich in features, its interface is always kept simple so as to enable even naïve computer users to operate it easily and efficiently.

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The Best Inventory Management Practice For Office Furniture

The Best Inventory Management Practice For Office Furniture

In the office furniture world, an Inventory Management System and an Asset Management System are basically the same thing. If you are responsible for maintaining excess office furniture, an effective method of managing this inventory can be beneficial for your company.

  • It can be cost effective when you reuse furniture instead of purchasing new furniture.
  • Furniture can be readily available for new employees.
  • If you have need to rent furniture on occasion, you may have what you need in your inventory.

Inventory management software saves both money and time when tracking your inventory. Excess furniture can be bar-coded and inventoried before put into storage. The condition of each piece of furniture can be noted. Or this furniture can be cleaned, repainted, touched up, or reupholstered first so it's readily available when needed.

Warehouses that are experienced in asset management may already have an inventory management system in place. If they don't, you might consider purchasing the software program that is best suited to your needs or sharing the cost with the warehouse. Many software companies will train staff members to use their inventory management system programs.

TIP: The ideal situation would be that the warehouse that manages your inventory is owned by your office furniture dealership. There are several reasons for this, but the primary reason is that the warehouse only "works" for one dealership.

If you are considering implementing an inventory management system, here are some issues you should consider and discuss with your office furniture representative.

  • monthly storage charges
  • approximate delivery and/or installation charges
  • can the warehouse arrange for cleaning, repainting, touch ups, or reupholstery; if they can, ask for a breakout of approximately charges for each function
  • will you have online access to the inventory information; if not, will you receive updated reports after changes are made
  • how long will it take for updates after furniture has been removed or brought into the warehouse
  • will your product be covered by insurance; you may want to go into detail about the actual coverage
  • would the warehouse store and track non-furniture items such as equipment, computers, etc.
  • will your stored furniture be racked so it doesn't sit directly on the floor

TIP: Make sure you visit the warehouse where your furniture will be stored. Some warehouses are immaculate and others look like an indoor garbage dump. The furniture stored should be on racks or stored in another manner so it won't get wet in case of flooding.


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