Monday, April 9, 2007

Product Inventory Management Made Easy

There are several ways in which you can simplify your system of product inventory management, and choosing the methods and procedures that suit you is essential to your ability to adhere to the guidelines that you set forth. After all, if you implement a procedure that you don’t truly feel is important or integral to your system, then it will be difficult for you to follow it, as well as to enforce adherence to the policy with your staff. Here are a few suggestions to get the wheels in your head turning so that you can decide on the proper product inventory management strategies for your department.

Organization

Perhaps you are having trouble determining how to organize stock within the space provided. Several methods could assist you in making this decision. First of all, you’ll want the most popular products to be the most easily accessible, since these will be accessed most frequently. Next, you’ll want to map out the space you have and look at the size of items you stock, as well as the quantities you keep. Drawing it out on paper and scratching out where each item would best be located to maintain organization while still making efficient use of the room is a great product inventory management strategy.

Analysis

Don’t just assume that all items you have in stock when you take over the product inventory management process are necessary. If you look through sales records and find that a particular item hasn’t sold in months, you may want to do away with that item entirely. In fact, depending on what the product is, how large a quantity you have in stock, and the number of other items for which you need more storage space, you may determine that the best course of action is to simply write it off. You could even offer it at reduced prices for quick sale to help cut your losses, but it is best to remove it and make way for items that bring in revenue.

Budget

Work within a budget. Remember that, just because you have space for more stock, it doesn’t mean you have to fill that space. Sometimes, it’s best to leave empty bins in the warehouse where in case you need it in the future. For example, you have a product that goes on sale and the demand soars. This space can be used to store temporary additional stock of that item. It is better to have open space than to overextend the budget by ordering too many items. Also, having too much inventory on hand detracts from the value of the company. Avoid this situation because it doesn’t pay to show net worth in the red.

Tools

Make use of software and other tools you have for product inventory management. Most of the software packages available will give you analysis reports that can help you make better decisions in the future and help you track the goods you warehouse, taking a lot of stress and strain off your shoulders. Let the computer do the work and the worrying while you just motivate yourself and your team to maintain a free flowing inventory process.

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You Can Be An Expert In The Inventory Management Process

The key to success in the inventory management process is no big secret; it merely takes some training and experience to learn the ropes. In order to become an expert, you have to strive to learn all the techniques and functions that will make control over your inventory successful. There are several ways in which you can increase your knowledge of the process.

Read

Whether you purchase books from a local bookstore or look up information on the inventory management process online, you’ll find that reading is necessary to learn the various tools and systems used to be successful at inventory management. There is an unlimited amount of advice and an enormous number of resources for you to consult, so don’t hesitate to start reading.

Observe

Before you get into inventory management, you will probably have worked in a particular warehousing location for awhile. Take advantage of the opportunity to observe the practices of your superiors, and make note of the inventory management process that you are given to follow in order to keep the supply chain linked together and smoothly controlled. Never take for granted any information that your supervisor is willing to share with you regarding his or her own inventory management process.

Attend

From time to time, you’ll find seminars given in your area regarding the inventory management process, including new tools that you can use and different techniques you can try to improve the current system. Be sure to attend these to learn about the latest software and tools, as well as to brush up on your knowledge and simply remind yourself of the proper tactics to employ to make sure your inventory management process is as efficient as possible.

Apply

Every time you learn something effective, apply it immediately in the best way possible. Hands-on experience is the best way to become an expert in the inventory management process.

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Taking Care With Telecom Inventory Management

In the field of technology, there are infinite numbers and types of products used, especially in telecom. Telecom inventory management is an extremely delicate and important aspect of making sure that customers receive what they need when they need it.

Because parts are so delicate and many are extremely similar, barcodes and product numbers are not only important but vital to telecom inventory management. For example, a telecom company could have two router switches that essentially perform the same function, cost the same, and have product codes that are only one or two numbers off. However, one may be for a different version of the system than the customer has, and shipping the wrong item could cause the breakdown of an entire telephone network, costing the company hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

However, with careful consideration and the use of sophisticated software, telecom inventory management can be handled efficiently. Avoiding human error is the greatest necessity in proper implementation. If you enter the wrong product code or forget to add a digit to the end of a barcode, you could cause a number of errors. For this reason, most telecom inventory management systems are completely automated, using scanners and other electronic equipment to store codes and product information, including quantities and warehouse locations.

It is also important to be precise with telecom inventory management processes because the equipment generally used in the industry is worth thousands and millions of dollars, and losing or misplacing a single item is serious business.

Overall, telecom inventory management is one of the most difficult areas of inventory management in the business, not only because there are so many similar parts to keep track of but also because of the value and delicacy of each individual product. You should always maintain tight control over telecom equipment in your inventory to prevent disaster.

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Interacting With Inventory Management Services

Sometimes, we all need a little help getting our heads on straight, especially when it comes to learning the ropes in a new position or taking over a role that was not handled so well by the previous player. This is especially true in regards to inventory control, which is why there are inventory management services available to help you get your ducks in a row. What are inventory management services, and how can they help you when you take over a department or warehouse?

Inventory management services can be compared to property management companies in that they enter into the picture when you have little or no experience and need assistance in setting up a new system for control. This could be because there was no system implemented to begin with, because you are unsure where to begin, or because a former manager was unable to keep control of the inventory, leaving the entire warehouse is a state of disorganization.

In any of these cases, an inventory management service will come in, take an inventory of the entire stock in your warehouse, reorganize the storage of the items you have in stock so that everything is properly indexed, labeled, and securely stored in its own bin, and even set up an inventory management software tool for you and your employees to use to keep track of all stock.

Once everything is in order, some inventory management services will train you and your staff to use the software and will even provide you with tips and techniques to keep the inventory organized and properly managed. This means giving you information on how to guarantee that you don’t overextend your budget, order the proper items in the proper quantities, and generally understand the concept of turnover and stock rotation so that you can make sure your company or department is profitable. After all, money is the bottom line, and if you needed to call in an inventory management service, your business probably wasn’t profiting much.

While it may seem like an extreme measure, usually the money spent hiring and interacting with an inventory management company will pay off quickly and can help you save money and increase your income. These companies are trained to make your inventory management procedures as smooth and streamlined as possible so that you don’t have to hassle with any further rearrangements or make any further changes to your system.

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Sunday, April 8, 2007

What Inventory Management Technique Will Tweak Your Revenue?

When you become involved in managing a department, one of the fringe responsibilities is inventory management. Part of the main concern in this area is how to produce the greatest revenue without overtaxing your budget by keeping too much stock. Employing a specific inventory management technique may assist you in increasing revenue without increasing expenditure at the same time.

Whatever type of inventory you have and however large your department or store, there is an inventory management technique that will work well for you. Perhaps you need a better labeling system. Are your part numbers or stock numbers too similar, so that they are easily confused and loaded into the wrong bins? If this is the case, perhaps some sort of color coding or additional barcoding will set things straight. Maybe you could impose the use of a particular type of inventory software that would print out the additional labeling material upon recognition to make identification easier.

Simplify the Ordering Process


If you find that you tend to order the wrong quantities of the wrong items frequently, perhaps a good inventory management technique would be to create a “short list” of the items that most often need to be ordered, as well as those that rarely need to be restocked. This would simplify the ordering process so that you could guarantee that you don’t overstock an item.

Spatial Planning


If you are having difficulty organizing your inventory to fit within the confines allowed for the items you need to keep in the warehouse or supply area, you may want to consider drafting out the space on paper and planning the layout of your inventory. Sometimes, this kind of visualization is the only way to achieve the spatial organization that is required for successful inventory management. Whatever seems to be the problem, there is an inventory management technique available to provide a simple solution that meets your needs.

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Using Inventory Management Tools To Help Your Employees

While you may be familiar with the inventory management process and may in fact have years of experience in this area, your employees may be new to the idea. In order to better serve you and maintain proper control of inventory, you may need to provide some inventory management tools to your staff to assist them in their efforts to help you keep your department running smoothly. The key to choosing the right tools is to take into account the type of inventory you stock, the quantities that you keep, and the level of experience on the part of your employees. What sorts of tools are available to you and your employees to ensure that they are able to manage your inventory?

Choosing the Right Tools


The inventory management tools that will best assist your employees in learning and adhering to the guidelines you set forth for inventory control depend much on the type of business you have. If you own a small, independent enterprise, you may only need some specified filing habits that maintain organized packing slips and invoices in order to keep track of the incoming and outgoing stock. In some cases, you may choose to utilize a small database that will decrease the amount of paperwork required and store all the information electronically. For a larger warehouse, especially if you are dealing with items that are all quite similar with the exception of a few digits in a serial number, it is vital to have some sort of database or software management system.

Training Your Employees


Once you have these inventory management tools in place, you need to make sure that your employees are trained in how to use them. Having a database full of information is useless unless your employees can use the software with confidence and ease. Your employees should be able to search, enter information, print reports, and reference ordering information from the software you have chosen for your management tool.

Other inventory management tools that you may use to get your employees up to speed and able to help you maintain a controlled environment are training courses and seminars. There are several how-to courses that can be purchased, as well as general training videos that you can show your employees as a sort of initiation video, and any time a seminar is offered, you should plan to send new employees so that they can learn the importance and overall value of running a tightly controlled department with careful inventory management.

Electronic Tools


Anything that can be computerized is a great help in simplifying processes. Barcodes and scanners are excellent inventory management tools to make the tracking and placing of orders quick and easy for anyone in the department. You can also easily identify that stock is placed in the correct storage area much more efficiently with proper labeling.

These are just a few inventory management tools that can help your employees learn the importance of being organized and being able to keep track of all products that should be in your inventory. With time, implementing the use of such tools will assist in bringing your employees up to speed.


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Employing Good Principles Of Inventory Management

In the business world, not everyone follows good principles that aid in their success. However, the principles of inventory management cannot be ignored if you expect to maintain a quality business with a good reputation for always being able to assist a customer. Employing good principles is the best way to profit in any industry because it keeps you afloat in a world of chaos and madness. Principles maintain organizational quality and responsibility to a project, aspects that are most important in inventory management.

Cleanliness and Organization


The principles of inventory management are simple and easy to follow, if you simply make it a point to do so. For example, one of the top priorities in inventory management is to maintain a clean, organized warehouse in which all items are properly stored and labeled. This is important for several reasons. First of all, cleanliness is important for you and your staff, as well as for any products you store. You don’t want the appearance of dust and dirt to have a client thinking that no one has purchased from you in years, and you certainly don’t want grime buildup to cause items to become damaged or ruined. Organized storage and labeling allows you to easily locate and order, pull, or stock any item in your warehouse without a long, difficult search.

Stock Rotation


If you employ good principles of inventory management, you’ll be certain to rotate your stock, selling through older stock before delving into new shipments. This will assure that you always have fresh product and don’t lose money by having to write off old items that were never sold or used. It also means that, again, none of your items appear as though they’ve been in the warehouse untouched for years because they won’t have time to build up dust and dirt to a significant degree.

Tracking


Keeping careful track of all of the items in your warehouse is one of the best principles of inventory management. How can you possibly sail smoothly and run an efficient department if you don’t know part numbers and quantities you have in stock or where they may be located in your warehouse?

Obviously, you can benefit greatly by employing just a few basic principle of inventory management in your workplace. The more you work towards running a tight ship, the better off you’ll be as a manager, and the more profitable your department or business will be.


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Finding Inventory Management Solutions To Meet Your Needs

There are many ways to handle inventory management, but when you come into a situation where poor management has led to a mess that you need to clean up, you need to find inventory management solutions that meet your needs fast. Depending upon the level of deterioration of control you find when you come into the picture, you may need to implement several changes to the current system.

Inventory management solutions range from hiring a clean-up crew that can come in and start everything over to attending a seminar that will give you tips and techniques to help you evolve the situation into a successful, smooth process. If you have a large budget, it may be to your advantage to hire an inventory management crew to come in and reorganize the warehouse, providing information on models and quantities, storing items properly, and perhaps even setting up software for future management. However, if the system has been inefficient for a long time, your company is probably struggling with finances and will not be willing to fund this kind of reorganization.

Doing It Yourself


That leaves the task of finding valuable but cost efficient inventory management solutions up to you. First, you will need intelligent, hard working employees who are willing to assist you in the implementation of a new strategy to manage the inventory and who can help you reorganize the current stock. This could take hours, days, or even weeks, depending on how large your department, warehouse, or supply house is. Still, it is the first step in solving the inventory problems.

Data Management


Once everything is properly sorted, counted, stored, and labeled, you should purchase some sort of inventory management software. Building a database could be the easiest way to keep track of items in your inventory, and this will help you manage your ordering process, inventory checks, and even stocking process, simplifying all aspects of managing your stock. One of the simplest inventory management solutions, a software system or database is a way to completely organize and catalogue everything that arrives and leaves your warehouse so that all items are accounted for at all times.

The cleanup after another manager leaves can be brutal, but there are many sources available to get your warehouse back in order. Take advantage of suggestions that other successful managers offer, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially since you are going to be held responsible for the outcome in the end.


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Keeping An Inventory Management Database For Easy Reference

If you are in charge of a small warehouse or storage space, you may not realize how important implementing an inventory management database can be. Keeping an inventory management database can help you be certain of models and quantities you have on hand. Supplies of books, CD’s, office supplies, and any other items can be tracked through a simple database without employing any complex or expensive software equipment and will assist you in knowing how much you’re keeping on your shelves.

Use of an inventory management database can range from simply monitoring the number of items on hand to determining cost of the items that you are keeping and profitability from sales.


Advantages

Databases also allow you to index materials based on various details for search options. For example, an inventory management database can be implemented in a bookstore to allow the owner to index the books carried by author, title, subject, and any other fields that are built into the database. For those looking for a way to keep track of sales, an inventory management database can be configured to keep track of the cost and sell price of an item so that, when it is purchased, the profit is logged.

Knowing the quantity of items on hand also allows you to reorder products when the stock is low. For example, if you have a small office supply store and you are down to the last three packages of your best-selling pens, you may overlook it unless you have an inventory management database to alert you of the low stock level.

While most large companies use some sort of software to keep track of inventory, many small businesses forego such important systems. Using an inventory management database to keep track of your items can be essential to the success of your small business.


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Choosing An Effective Inventory Management Strategy

If you plan to be successful as a manager of any department, warehouse, or supply chain, you’ll need to employ an effective inventory management strategy. The most successful retail, warehouse, and supply chain managers are those that are fully aware of the state of their stocked inventory at any time and have a regulated system that allows them to easily index and monitor the coming and going of product within that inventory.

What Are Your Needs?


Implementing an inventory management strategy begins with the specific items that you have and the type of storage location in which the product is kept. For example, your strategy may involve careful planning for spatial needs, especially if you must maintain a number of items in a minimal amount of space. An appropriate strategy at this point would be to create a diagram of your warehousing or storage environment and map out the locations of stocked items that will best organize the materials with no wasted space. This can be accomplished with electronic tools or simply by hand, but it is vital to the success of tracking and managing your inventory.

Maximize Profit


The next order of business when you are mapping out your strategy is to maximize your profit. Many times, the items in your inventory may sit for long periods of time due to lack of demand. This is not only a wasted expense; it also takes up valuable room in your warehouse or supply room that could be filled with a faster selling item which would draw more profit. Your inventory management strategy should definitely include some form of tracking system to identify quick selling products, as well as those with the highest profit margin. Such systems will report what items you should maintain at high levels within your inventory to meet demand and maximize your profit.

Software Systems


Your inventory management strategy would be incomplete without a software system that allows you to keep track of every item that comes in and out of your warehouse. This means that, when inventory checks are completed, you’ll be able to identify errors, thefts, losses, and any other discrepancies much more readily. It will also assist you in your ordering process, since the electronic tracking will give you information on exact quantities of inventory without you having to run out and count everything by hand. When you see that the stock of a particular item is low, you can prepare to reorder.

Labeling and Identification


One final implementation of an effective inventory management strategy is to make sure that all items are properly labeled. Incorrect or incomplete labeling can lead to several problems, including wrong identification by your software, misplacement when restocking the inventory, loss of the item, or inability to find it for shipment or shelving later.

Following these guidelines will help tremendously as you prepare your inventory management strategy and train your employees to adhere to the regulations you set forth. Best of all, set a good example yourself in sticking to the rules, and others will follow your lead without question.


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