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Top 10 Solutions to Your Toughest Inventory Challenges – Part II

Top 10 Solutions to Your Toughest Inventory Challenges – Part II

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Top 10 Solutions to Your Toughest Inventory Challenges – Part II

Jun 29, 2021

Ken Weygand
Organized Warehouse with Full Inventory Levels

Managing a consumer goods warehouse is complex. It requires a lot of good, old-fashioned hard work. And though the complexity of the warehouse isn't likely to go away anytime soon, you can make managing your inventory that much easier.

All you need is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. When all the parts of your business can share data, talk to each other and update in real time, you're going to be more effective, more efficient and more confident when it comes to managing your inventory.

In the first part of this series, we wrote about the most common challenges in inventory management. We had a strong and solid list of ten. Now, we're going to take those ten challenges and talk about how an integrated distribution ERP with inventory management functionality can help you overcome them.

We've created a list of solutions to your top ten inventory challenges.

  1. Efficient Processes – Eliminate workarounds and processes that aren't value-adding. How do you do this? You create efficient operations. Without the right tools, technologies and partner to support and advise on best practices for streamlining procedures, it can be challenging. When you create efficient processes, you're positioning yourself for success, employee retention and customer satisfaction. You're able to harness the power of technology and utilize your employees for innovation and value-adding tasks, both of which keep your customers happy.

  2. Complete Visibility – You don't know what you don't know. If you don't know something isn't working, then you can't begin to correct it. Without a unified ERP solution, gaining complete visibility into your inventory (and business operations) is nearly impossible. With an ERP, you have the tools you need for effective and efficient inventory management and monitoring. You get complete visibility into your inventory: what's available, what isn't, where your product is (either in the warehouse or on its way into or out of the warehouse), whether inventory levels are strong or lean, whether you're actually profitable or not.

  3. Automation – When you put automation and digitization at the forefront of your inventory management processes, you save valuable time and money. Your employees and teammates can dedicate their time and energy to business-growing tasks. With manual processes, there's a lot of labor-intensive manual work, a lot of repetitive work, and a lot of unshared information. When documentation is automated, or when the ordering and invoicing processes are automated, everyone has access to the same data simultaneously. It's not spread across databases, people and platforms. Instead, it's centralized and works as a single source of truth for your data.  Additionally, you eliminate the likelihood of human error when you automate your inventory processes.

  4. Volume Management – With the rise of the ecommerce revolution, now more than ever, you need a tool to help you manage your volume. The ecommerce model is based on sending out thousands of single-parcel packages directly to your consumers—depending on the size of your business and what you're distributing, that number can be higher or smaller. Regardless, you want to be able to manage your output volume effectively. The right ERP solution can help you manage both the traditional fulfillment model (where you fill a pallet and send it to a customer) and the new direct-to-consumer (DTC) fulfillment model. Efficiently and simultaneously. You can streamline processes and manage the high volume and output while still meeting customer demand.

  5. Inventory Levels Insight – Know how much inventory you do (and don't have) with a distribution ERP. The system enables you to manage and validate returns and meet customer-specific reorder needs quickly and efficiently. You can also quickly minimize inventory discrepancies because you have flexible inventory counting options, like cycle and physical inventory counting. And you can do all that while also improving shipment tracking and management with integrated bills of lading (BOL) and small parcel shipping soltuions.

  6. Proper Stocking – Fill your shelves with the inventory you need—not the inventory you might need. You don't want to be too lean and risk dissatisfied customers, but you don't want to waste money and space by overstocking. With a robust ERP, you can track all these numbers in real time. As a result, you can stay on top of your inventory and continue to satisfy your customers.

  7. Warehouse Environment Organization – Flexible bin, zone, and location management for single or multiple warehouses ensure scarce space is utilized effectively. And you want to organize your warehouse based on the specific needs of your business. You can track and manage workflow and inventory more effectively with space allocation for various distribution processes, such as pending shipments and return receipts. You can also speed up the receiving process and optimize space management based on product type, size, and inventory turnover rate with streamlined putaway capabilities with a distribution ERP.

  8. Accurate Lead Times – With complete visibility and all of your data in one place, you can easily leverage long-lead-time data to create accurate forecasts and more effectively manage your inventory. You can use historical data trends and patterns to plan out your inventory and track your products.

  9. Confident Decision-Making – Knowing your data is accurate and up-to-date can give you the confidence you need to do what's best for your business. You're able to fulfill orders quickly because you know exactly what inventory is available. When you have a distribution ERP with inventory management functionality, you have visibility into your processes, orders, inventory, vendors and customers. You can see it all—at either a granular level or in a big-picture way. Your system is automated, and updates anytime new data is added. It then keeps and tracks that data, creating a repository for all orders. As a result, forecasting and long lead-time purchasing becomes that much easier. You're no longer boiling down your inventory management to good guesses.  

  10. Industry-Specific Software – This is the ultimate solution for inventory management. You get the functionality and tools you need for the specific demands of your industry.  Successfully managing your inventory positions you for business success in the long run. An ERP enables you to do that. It's a single source of truth across your operations and business departments. It's your one-stop shop for all that you need to grow your business and effectively and profitably manage inventory.

All of these solutions work in conjunction to make you the master of your inventory. In addition, all of these tools, when integrated through an industry-specific ERP, enable you to overcome your inventory management challenges.

Successful inventory management means success for your business, your teammates and your customers. When your customers and consumers get what they want when they want it, they'll keep coming back for more. And the only way you can continue to provide that level of service is to have the right tools and technology. Aptean Distribution ERP can help you foster innovation and grow your business.

Are you ready to master your warehouse and control your inventory? Reach out, now.

Tell us about yourself and an Aptean specialist will be in touch.