The All-New AIM: Intelligent Forecasting + Inventory Planning

Invest in Training for Inventory Management Success

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Certain aspects of inventory management are highly technical, so many businesses rely on specialists to procure stock, manage the supply chain and handle outbound logistics. That said, in a large organisation or growing business, many roles may require some knowledge of inventory management – even if they are not frontline inventory control roles. Let’s look at some of the ways you might incorporate inventory management training into your business.

Ongoing professional development

For inventory management staff, ongoing training is an important aspect of professional development. Ensuring that your team is engaged and capable is one of the most significant factors affecting inventory management. It is important to note that inventory management has changed significantly in the past 10 or 20 years and is likely to continue to change, particularly with the rapid development of new technology such as RFID tags and cloud software. For experienced staff, professional development is a chance to ask (potentially as yet unanswered) questions about the way their roles have changed, such as the transition from Excel spreadsheets to online inventory management. For other staff, training offers the ability to stay at the cutting edge of inventory management innovation.

This kind of workplace training should not be a one-off or irregular event; ideally, workplace training should be incorporated into everyday work life. This may sound difficult, but all that is really required is a commitment to implementing training wherever possible. For example, consider assigning team members a particular inventory management tool or trend to research; one or two team members can then present each week at the inventory team meeting and share their learnings with the team.

Another way to integrate training into everyday work is the ‘buddy system’. Each new hire should be ‘buddied’ with an experienced staff member who takes responsibility for teaching the new staff member ‘on the job’, reinforcing his or her own knowledge.

Inventory management awareness

Workplace training for staff in other areas is useful as it provides those staff with the background knowledge and skills to understand inventory and to support the inventory management function in your business. Ideally, inventory awareness training would enliven staff to the inventory pressures and risks faced by your business (stock-outs, excess carrying costs, supply chain risk) and explain the relationship between their roles and inventory success – what can every team member do to achieve inventory management success?

Some ideas for inventory awareness training might include understanding the goals and objectives of the inventory management team, inventory carrying costs, safety stock, just-in-time inventory and the importance of accurate data and reporting.

Why is training important?

Training helps to improve a business’ competitiveness and future resilience, particularly by creating a pathway for talented staff to progress within the business, horizontally as well as vertically. Workplace training also creates an opportunity to check in with staff and assess their weaknesses and development needs.

Workplace training also tends to improve staff engagement and satisfaction; satisfied team members are likely to work more efficiently, engage more constructively with the rest of the business and are easier to retain. Team members with access to regular training opportunities typically feel that they are improving their skills and are working towards a more successful career.

Looking for quick videos to refresh your inventory management? Check out the Unleashed Academy for 90-second videos about inventory management and more.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

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.

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