What Is the Role of Inventory Management in Supply Chain?

What is inventory management, and why is it so important?

Inventory management refers to the process of ordering, storing and using the company’s goods or materials.

Successfully managing inventory enables companies to meet their consumers’ demand levels with appropriate supply. Ineffective management can lead to excess inventory, leading to the risk of damage, damage, or demand shifts, leading to stock accumulation.

Supply-Chain Inventory Management丨ChinaDivision丨G2-Learning-Hub
Supply-Chain Inventory Management丨ChinaDivision丨G2-Learning-Hub

If the stock is not sold before these events, it is usually sold at the clearance price or destroyed.

 According to a survey by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), nearly 60% of respondents indicated that inventory management is one of the top technical skills in their field.

This is an essential part of keeping the supply chain running smoothly. Effective inventory management requires a reliable technology platform and communication between all relevant parties.

Without inventory management, companies will suffer higher levels of waste and additional storage costs. Without accurate and up-to-date information, it is impossible to communicate with customers about product availability and estimated delivery dates.

How to improve inventory management in the supply chain?

 Effective supply chain management starts with technology. Eliminating traditional human errors can save time and reduce the risk of errors.

Digital operation management makes it easier to share any information recorded in the entire supply chain. If your company has implemented a Transportation Management System (TMS), then you have already optimized the whole supply chain!

 

How-to-improve-inventory-management-in-the-supply-chain丨ChinaDivision丨STORIS
How-to-improve-inventory-management-in-the-supply-chain丨ChinaDivision丨STORIS

Transportation management and warehouse management are two fundamental parts of a successful supply chain.

The Transportation Management System (TMS) handles the movement of products throughout the supply chain and provides the necessary communication platform for carriers, shippers and manufacturers.

The stock management platform focuses on the quantity and type of products in warehouses or other storage facilities. These technologies form the basis for the company to deliver its products to customers as efficiently as possible.

For example, when a company uses TMS to respond quickly to a customer’s order, it will soon move out of the warehouse instead of occupying inventory space. 

The integration of inventory management and TMS can make it easier to track deteriorated or defective inventory. With the help of TMS, warehouse managers can easily track the movement route of products after they leave the warehouse by tracing SKUs.

When an item recalled, the warehouse management team will have all the relevant information needed to find and isolate the defective product. Real-time inventory information will help bridge the gap between inventory management and transportation management.

What are the benefits of warehouse & distribution automation that you need to know?

Warehouse & distribution automation includes automated data collection and inventory control. All work is coordinated through the warehouse control system and the use of necessary hardware equipment and software systems. This helps greatly improve efficiency, but what tools used to achieve it?

What facilities are involved in Warehouse & distribution?

  1. Barcode labels: They form the basis of warehouse & distribution automation, through which products can be tracked. Barcode labels can accurately capture product data and eliminate errors in product tracking or product shipping. The use of barcode labels can realize automatic warehouses, inventory monitoring, purchase planning, improve picking efficiency, optimize transportation, and reduce stock-outs.
  2. Inventory Management System (IMS): This facilitates real-time monitoring of inventory levels, product information, and storage locations, thereby providing companies with a high level of inventory control.
  3. Automatic storage and retrieval system (AS/RS): The software system consists of machines that move up and down on optimized channels to retrieve or place items. They provide improved inventory control and product tracking. They can also ensure that the warehouse is better arranged vertically and horizontally, thereby saving inventory. The key elements of AS/RS include storage and retrieval machines, automated guided vehicles (AGV), frame structure, and warehouse control system software (WCS). All these components work together to receive, place, pick up, pack, and ship items along an optimized route.
  4. Necessary hardware equipment: If you do not use the necessary hardware, you will not be able to retrieve data and monitor activities from the barcode label, and will not be able to achieve automation. Commonly used devices are portable data terminals, stationary computers, bar code scanners, rugged tablet computers, and label printers.
warehouse-distribution丨ChinaDivision
warehouse-distribution丨ChinaDivision

The benefits of warehouse & distribution automation

Automating your warehouse system can bring the following benefits:

  • Reduce labor costs and other operating expenses.
  • Improve warehouse space utilization and optimize warehouse layout and processes.
  • Improve accuracy, efficiency, and productivity while minimizing labor expenditures.
  • Improve inventory accuracy and avoid complete depletion of inventory.
  • Automatic storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) will improve inventory control and cargo tracking.
  • Automatically collect product shipment data and inventory tracking to eliminate inventory misplacement, shrinkage, or loss.
  • With the available data, the efficiency of the operator’s picking, packaging, and transportation improved, so that the order can be shipped and delivered in time.

Four Key Factors to Design a Successful Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Strategy

Designing a successful eCommerce order fulfillment strategy can be tricky because this task requires consideration of various factors in the process. You need to understand all aspects of the supply chain and provide your customers with an excellent experience after careful planning and optimization.

Here are some tips to help you design an eCommerce order fulfillment strategy to help you deliver products on time while improving customer satisfaction.

How to Design a Successful Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Strategy?

Track inventory regularly

When a customer finds that the ordered product is out of stock and not delivered in time, they may never shop in your store again, or vent their anger on social media. These consequences may not only lead to an increase in customer churn but also have a terrible impact on your brand.

Therefore, to avoid these incidents to the greatest extent, your best strategy is to simplify your order fulfillment process and deliver products to customers as quickly as possible. You need to focus on inventory and build an inventory management system. This system can help you get real-time fulfillment cycles, so you always know when products are out of stock or unavailable.

Ecommerce-Order-Fulfillment-Strategy丨A-Better-Lemonade-Stand丨ChinaDivision
Ecommerce-Order-Fulfillment-Strategy丨A-Better-Lemonade-Stand丨ChinaDivision

Product Kitting

Product Kitting helps reduce the processing time and cost of order fulfillment. Product Kitting refers to the process of grouping, packaging, and supplying different but related items as a unit.

Product Kitting can increase productivity and reduce labor costs by storing products in separate kits. Besides, you can reduce inventory and improve cash flow.

Automated warehouse

Adopting an intelligent warehouse system can help you manage inventory, warehouse organization, and logistics using data-driven technology.

You can automate the warehouse by choosing to use technologies including RFID identification, the Internet of Things, and easy tracking of the inside of the IoT.

Using a warehouse management system can reduce human errors in order processing.

Transparent supply chain

Supply chain visibility is the focus of your strategy. Supply chain visibility can give you a deeper understanding of each process and improve the underperforming parts.

For example, if you track picking activities in a warehouse and find that manual picking increases time costs, you can move it to an automated process.

Therefore, you must keep track of your supply chain and collect data.

How to Use Warehouse Logistics Plan to Accelerate Your E-Commerce Development

Warehouse logistics is the process of planning, operating, and controlling the flow of goods in a warehouse to optimize costs and time and achieve other business goals. The warehouse is an important part of the supply chain and should be aligned with the broader organizational goals and the entire supply chain.

Before you start planning a new warehouse, it is always recommended to develop a feasible warehouse logistics plan. Without a plan that includes clear business goals and a road map to achieve those goals, it is impossible to estimate whether you can reach your goals.

Warehouse-Logistics丨-Maintenance-Covid-Management丨ChinaDivision
Warehouse-Logistics丨Maintenance-Covid-Management丨ChinaDivision

Identify warehouse logistics requirements

If you need to determine the company’s warehouse requirements, you need to ask some questions before making a final decision, such as:

  • Who are your customers?
  • Where are they located?
  • What is the order volume?
  • What solution is currently adopted?
  • What is the cost of the current solution?
  • What is the delivery time of the current solution?
  • Will the new warehouse save costs?
  • What is the implementation timeline?
  • How efficient is the operation of the new warehouse?

Thinking of these questions can help you clearly define implementation needs, requirements, benefits, and timelines. You need to estimate operating costs, including all the elements of the current warehouse logistics operation, the cost or time savings gained from the investment in the new warehouse, and the break-even point of the project.

This analysis may not prove the rationality of the dedicated warehouse. In this case, cooperation with a reliable third-party logistics operator may better meet your needs. The top third-party logistics providers have spent years perfecting their operations, allowing the company to use its expertise and achieve the best performance at the lowest cost compared to maintaining internal warehouses and logistics operations. Or, you can extend the life of your warehouse by implementing flexible automation solutions.

Find location

When you finally decide that you need a new warehouse, then you need to determine a suitable location. The questions you answered in the previous requirements gathering phase will come in handy here. Once you know the location of the customer, you can easily find the best warehouse location to serve the customer.

Remember, prioritize customers who can create greater profit margins for you. You can select warehouse locations based on your proximity to your best or long-term customers so that you can deliver to these customers faster than short-term or occasional customers. goods. Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tools can be used to determine the best location for the warehouse.

Logistics丨PNGWing丨ChinaDivision
Logistics丨PNGWing丨ChinaDivision

Another factor to consider is whether you want to use an existing warehouse to upgrade to a new warehouse or choose a new warehouse. These considerations boil down to your storage needs and costs. You should also work with the company’s financial department to determine the best solution from a financial perspective. Purchases, leases, and leases have different effects on the balance sheet, and the finance department is more capable of determining the factors that are most suitable for the company’s long-term financial situation. At the same time, your new storage requirements should not be affected. Achieving finance and goals at the same time is a delicate act of coordination, so it is necessary to maintain transparent and open communication between various departments.

Mapping warehouse

Mapping the warehouse is essential for determining subsequent deliveries and how to handle operations. Order picking activities are considered to be the most labour-intensive activities in the warehouse, accounting for as much as 55% of warehouse logistics operating costs, and mapping the warehouse can help simplify this basic business function. The warehouse mapping process includes:

  • Evaluation space
  • Marking space (including aisles, shelves, shelves, containers or garbage bins, etc.)
  • Estimated traffic volume
  • Implement the right shelf system
  • Choose the best order pickup truck to meet warehouse requirements
  • Implement inventory management software

Mapping the warehouse is a crucial step and should not be missed. Without a well-mapped warehouse, your logistics business will be chaotic, because there is no operational blueprint.

Advantages of Simplifying the E-Commerce Supply Chain

Does your e-commerce supply chain encounter the following situations:

  • Delivery is not on time
  • Slow adjustment of out of stock
  • Slow product packaging and delivery speed
  • Long shipping time

Although you may not have encountered these situations, are you willing to take the time to optimize your e-commerce supply chain to achieve greater sales growth?

What is an e-commerce supply chain?

E-commerce supply chain has a series of logistics processes, including product raw material production, manufacturing, warehousing, inventory management, order fulfillment, and last-mile delivery. The ultimate goal is to provide your customers with high-quality products and good customer experience. Every link in the supply chain is critical and depends on reliable partners.

What is e-commerce supply chain management?

E-commerce supply chain management refers to the logistics process of supervising product inventory, from manufacturing to order transportation. A highly optimized supply chain is highly optimized to help reduce costs and increase productivity, which may affect profitability and customer satisfaction.

E-Commerce Supply Chain丨The Leadership Network丨ChinaDividision
E-Commerce Supply Chain丨The Leadership Network丨ChinaDividision

Four advantages of simplifying the e-commerce supply chain

A simplified e-commerce supply chain can not only improve internal operations but also improve the customer experience. The four advantages of simplifying the e-commerce supply chain are listed below:

Higher transportation efficiency

Any delays in the supply chain can wait for improvement, especially transportation. The two main factors affecting transportation time include:

  • The location of each link is different (manufacturer, warehouse, customer)
  • Different transportation methods (air, sea, freight, etc.)

The right method of transportation can bring you a competitive advantage to win more customers, and even provide services similar to Amazon.

Cost-effective freight

An important point in optimizing the e-commerce supply chain is to find cost-effective freight to reduce transportation costs. Use appropriate packaging for the weight and size of the product, split the inventory geographically were cost-effective, and ask the carrier for shipping discounts based on the order volume, etc.

Accurate inventory management

Inventory management is a key link in the e-commerce supply chain. By optimizing inventory levels, you can:

  • Avoid unnecessary stock outs and discontinuations
  • Forecast future demand
  • Simplify inventory assessment

Methods to solve common e-commerce inventory challenges include: setting reorder points based on historical order data and future forecasts, regularly reviewing inventory, and implementing inventory management software.

Better customer experience

Simplifying the e-commerce supply chain ensures that you can provide the best customer experience for every order. By optimizing the supply chain, transportation costs are reduced, delivery time is shortened and the risk of human error due to improper chain operation is reduced.

As your e-commerce supply chain becomes stronger, you can focus on improving customer communication by tracking orders in real-time to provide them with the latest information from processing orders to delivery.

How Does Transportation Affect Logistics?

Transportation is an integral part of logistics. Although scenes of trucks and trains parked by companies on commercial facilities are common, few people know how much the economy depends on reliable transportation.

1. What is transportation?

Transportation has long become one of the largest industries in the world. It refers to the movement of products and raw materials from one destination to another. This process encompasses both the beginning of the supply chain and the final delivery of finished products to consumers.

Transportation is a key link in the logistics chain, which connects the components scattered in every corner. The transportation system properly manages and controls the various components of the supply chain, so that transportation and logistics can work together smoothly, which is enough to prove the strong communication between the various parts of the supply chain.

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2. What is the impact of transportation on logistics?

The way transportation affects logistics is as follows:

  • Transportation costs are affected by the company’s factories: warehouses, suppliers, retail locations, and customers, or consumers.
  • Inventory demand is affected by the mode of transportation: high-speed or high-priced transportation systems may require less inventory, while slower, lower-priced transportation systems may require a large amount of inventory.
  • The choice of low-speed or high-speed mode can change the delivery schedule or the way the goods are packed.
  • Packaging will be affected by the carrier’s classification rules and transportation methods.
  • Contract negotiation may change the mode of transportation.

The role of various transportation methods on logistics:

  • Road transportation: highly flexible and can be applied to door-to-door service. Road transportation helps transport goods to locations far away from ports, stations, or loading points.
  • Railway transportation: an important mode of transportation. Compared with roads, railway transportation can transport a large number of goods with high stability and low cost.
  • Air transport: It is usually recommended to ensure quality and is more friendly to high-value goods. The fast delivery speed minimizes transportation risks, thereby improving the overall quality of logistics services and reducing the cost due to the loss of goods in the supply chain.
  • Water transportation: The most commonly used transportation method in logistics, because it has the advantages of large capacity and low transportation cost, and is mainly used for international trade.
Import Goods from China - ChinaDivision
Import Goods from China – ChinaDivision

3. In conclusion

Transportation is critical to the success of logistics programs. The operation of transportation determines the efficiency of product delivery.

A strong system requires a clear logistics framework and appropriate transportation strategies to enhance production procedures. Logistics managers, researchers, and transportation planners need to understand the various applications of logistics and the integrated relationship between logistics and transportation.

Why Seasonality is Important for Marketing

Seasonality refers to periodic fluctuations that regularly occur in a predictable pattern based on a particular season, quarter, or month.

In marketing, seasonality is more than just throwing a few joyful light-hearted festive posts on your social media accounts.Why is this so?

Because each season comes specific noteworthy holidays, events and activities, which cause consumers to behave differently, hence, provide opportunities for businesses to thrive.
Examples of seasonal opportunities that have the power to boost your revenue and connect you with your audience include; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve/Day, Valentine’s Day.

1. Spend enough time forecasting

Sound predictions of demands and trends are no longer luxury items, but a necessity for most companies. If you’re to cope with seasonality, sudden changes in demand levels, price-cutting maneuvers of the competition, strikes, and large swings of the economy.

Forecasting can help you deal with that.

2. Keep a keen eye on search trends

Depending on your industry, your audience, your goals, and even the size of your company, it’s essential to identify and keep a keen eye on search trends.

Google Trends can be a beneficial tool to help highlight the broader search [or seasonality] habits over a given time frame.

Whatever you use, it’s important to use a variety of tools together (from Google to your CRM system to a customizable analytics template) to track your customers’ behavior, any correlations among a specific audience, and your performance.

3. Scour websites, blogs, online forums and discussion boards

It is important to analyze key trends often, statistics or research on blogs, news sites or forums that gather data and break down industry reports into a format you can easily understand and digest.

4. Use different tools and analytics systems

It is also smart to use different tools and analytics systems such as Google trends (which I also mentioned above), Google Adwords to better pinpoint exact keywords and queries and identify the direction seasonal trends and opportunities.

Last one but not the end, adjusting your message, budget, and approach for seasonality.

Seasonality has a significant influence on the strategies that organizations put in place. Additionally, purchasing habits tend to shift based on the activities that consumers participate in, and online businesses need to take this into account well ahead of time. While seasonal marketing is all about having excellent timing, unique content, and a perfect campaign execution that earns engagement, and ultimately, sales.