Imagine, if you will, a manufacturing company in the small town of Hillsboro, USA. It’s early morning and the sun is shining as the employees engage in conversation on the way from the parking lot to the entry doors. Except for one…the mild-mannered Inventory Control Manager who is already busy organizing the supply chain. He or she has the job that no one may notice, but that the company can’t live without.
This superhero manages the inventory so that the right products will be on the shelves at exactly the time they are needed, every time they are needed, in the right quantities, and that there is never any excess or obsolete inventory. That’s the way it should be. An Inventory Control Manager’s title says he or she is in control, but without the right tools, demand can’t be met. Then the Inventory Control Manager has to deflect punches or hide out in the bat cave.
A day in the life of the Inventory Control Manager
Here are some of the superhuman things that an Inventory Control Manager may have to do to meet those expectations and please everybody:
- Predict the future. For every customer and for every product.
- Determine how much is enough, how much is too little, and how much is just right. All the time.
- Maintain inventory turns collectively, by product group, and even by item to help ensure consistent cash flow. Try that when you have absolutely no control over sales or sales planning.
- Never run out of stock. On anything. (See previous bullet point.)
- Avoid excess inventory. It sucks up cash like a vacuum.
- Determine the margin of safety (aka “safety stock”) needed to cover product in the manufacturing or delivery pipeline.
- Calculate with consistency the delivery time from every supplier. Try that when you have absolutely no control over the supplier or their production issues.
- Keep book inventory and physical inventory accurate. (Which is kind of redundant in a retail bookstore or book warehouse.)
- Maximize average sales per square foot.
- Be flexible.
Consider that a short list.
Bottom line — inventory control is crucial to success
The bottom line is that inventory control is vital to the survival of your business. The reality is it’s almost impossible for one human to manage this labor-intensive process on their own with just a spreadsheet as a sidekick. The job calls for the right tools… an inventory control system that is: automated, integrated with your operations or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, tracks products via barcodes or, better yet, RFID.
Automated ERP and inventory control management should be a priority for any growing business, because as the business grows and becomes more complex, the more difficult the Operations and Inventory Control Manager’s jobs become, and the harder it will be to get a true account of your business without an automated process. Up until recently, it was hard for the Inventory Control Manager to get a place at the corporate table. Now, however, with inventory tracking tools never before dreamed of, CEOs everywhere are lighting the bat signal for this corporate hero.
Want to learn more? Contact us for an inventory management software demo and be recognized for the superhero that you are.