Inventory management is the impeccable control of inventory stock so that it is never accumulating in excess, unable to be used, nor is there not enough to meet customer orders. While it is difficult to achieve this level of inventory control, it can be made a lot easier with the use of inventory management software. Here we consider how quality control affects inventory management and vice versa.
Storing inventory stock is important as correct storage affects the quality of items. It should be a perpetual aim to produce quality items for customers. This can only be achieved if the quality of every component is maintained – how can you ensure the storage of inventory stock enhances its quality? Investigate the recommended storage conditions for every item and ensure they are implemented. You can also implement usage system that sees to it that all items are used within their expiration dates.
Inventory management systems provide traceability of individual components that comprise the whole product. This is achieved through a manual card system and part numbers, or by the use of radio-frequency identification tags (RFID) or barcodes. Whatever system you choose, be it manual or automated, traceability is essential to verify the quality of a product and to rectify any issues that may only become apparent once the inventory has already been shipped.
Inventory management systems not only organise inventory, but they also promote better physical organisation of the warehouse. Have you heard the old adage, ‘A cluttered space is a cluttered mind’? This can be applied to inventory management. By decluttering and organising inventory stock, items are easier to find and more likely to be used in a timely manner which promotes quality. This affects quality in all areas of the company as time is saved so staff can spend more time on more value-added activities; the physical storeroom and space is easier to keep clean, enhancing the quality of the product; and staff morale is improved.
Not only does inventory management keep track of items through the manufacturing process, but it also allows business to track the processes and time taken to complete each step. In short, inventory management helps to streamline processes that are a fundamental component of quality management. By ascertaining where time is being wasted, processes can be improved. If the time between a product being receipted and sold is minimised, it will always improve the quality of the product.
Saving Time and Money
Improved processes, through quality management and inventory management, will result in savings across the board including time and money. This, of course, frees up more of these two vitally important commodities to invest back into creating a quality product and improving business operations – which can only be a good thing.
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.