Wholesalers are always looking for better ways to understand and control their supply chain. While many will have an accurate view of their stock-on-hand, others struggle to keep track of stock and their reordering levels. Over the course of any month, the need for frequent manual counts, stock level requests and guess work creates a melting pot of human error, inaccuracies and poor forecasting. And so the quest for better visibility over the entire supply chain continues. Fortunately for wholesalers, recent developments in inventory management software are offering wholesalers some cutting edge solutions to their inventory problems.
Inventory optimization via inventory management software
Inventory optimization is certainly one of the general aims of all inventory-centric businesses, though how each business tries to achieve this varies. For wholesalers, inventory optimization is more than just a preferred state – it’s an essential tool and one that can have a huge effect on profit and operational health.
The simplest way to illustrate inventory optimization is to refer to the not too much, not too little balancing act. But there is much more to it than that for wholesalers. Whereas retailers only need to master their own forecasting and ordering processes, wholesalers must work within a multi-verse of supply and demand.
Each business they supply have their own supply and demand requirements and expect their suppliers to deliver what they need, when they need it. What doesn’t always take place is the timely communication with regards to inventory forecasting, as it is often difficult to understand what the real-time stock level requirements are.
Where more and more wholesalers are gaining traction when it comes to optimization is through the use of cutting edge inventory management software solutions. Stock discrepancies can be reduced, physical counts performed with more accuracy, appropriate cost methods assigned, and lot tracking and serialization made more accessible.
Barcode and mobile technology
The improved amount of control and accuracy afforded by barcode and mobile technologies offer some supremely valuable tools for wholesalers. An essential part of running a successful wholesale supply chain is knowing exactly what inventory you have, what you ideally need and how to best utilize it. Human error however, and the need for regular, manual stock counts has often been one of the biggest challenges of a wholesalers day-to-day.
Where the picking, packing and stacking of a warehouse was previously manual, and hence prone to a wide variety of mistakes, barcoding offers a significantly more accurate and cost effective process. Mobile technology too has revolutionized the wholesalers’ warehouse, with real-time data entry, scheduling and stock counts, as well as the ability to check any part of the supply chain remotely and in real-time.
Better supply chain visibility
Real-time data is sometimes used as a blanket response to any inventory management problem. That being said, the value, accuracy and flexibility that real-time access offers a business is both huge and essential for inventory management.
Any business that can have meaningful, relevant and real-time access to their supply chain has the most potential to turn that access into successful and intuitive inventory management. Although not the only essential ingredient for success, it does indeed give the benefactor a great advantage. Better visibility means better inventory management.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.