Warehouse management is typically tedious and stressful work. However, it is an aspect of business management that plays a crucial role in the delivery and manufacture of products. Inefficient management of your inventory can waste company dollars through labor costs and even cause delays which can decrease customer satisfaction. Ultimately, warehouse management is something that should be prioritized in running businesses.
Thankfully, technological advancements have made warehouse inventory easier. Some practices are commonly used by businesses for efficient warehouse management. As the market grows, the importance of warehouse management has never been more important. Here are some popular practices in warehouse management:
Best Practices in the implementation of a new system
In the management of your warehouse, you need to know what to do and how to do it. Firstly, you must answer the question “What is it that you want to do?” regarding your warehouse management. What is it that you want to achieve the most with your way of warehouse management? Do you want to decrease delivery times? Or do you want to increase production? Answer that question first before moving on to the next step.
Once you know your goal, you will then have to do some research. Proper knowledge about your business and its warehouse can help you diagnose the problem areas in your business. Study your performance of your current operation in terms of picks per day, quantity of lines picked per day. This will give you a metric to measure success in the future.
Know the size of your warehouse and how much product it can hold. Be aware of how much your warehouse can store by familiarizing yourself with the size and number of your bins and racks. It is also important to research the financial information you may need as well as the number of pieces you are working with.
With proper research, you would have a realistic picture of whether your warehouse can achieve your goal. You can then create a plan to achieve your goal. Formulate a hypothesis using the data from your research. Identify your problem areas and what the model would look like on its best day. It is also crucial to be aware of what mistakes or problems usually occur in your warehouse.
Start by creating a simple plan. Condense your ideas and expectations of the program you are going to use for your inventory. This will help your system work better and automate processes faster.
Once you have a plan, you can then experiment by testing your system. Use your system for a while so you can gather data. If you back out too early by assuming your plan isn’t working, then you may not be able to get accurate data on what your system was able to do for your warehouse. You won’t get accurate data of what’s working and what’s not if you alter the plan. Let it deal with the unexpected, and let it run at peak performance. Work out any bugs.
After testing your plan, then you now have enough data to report to your WMS builders to see if you can retain your plan or create another one that you feel may work better.
Technological Best Practices
Technology is the key to enabling warehouse management to be done more efficiently and successfully. These are the common practices used in the technological application with warehouse management:
Go paperless. Digital transformation of inventory management is easier to access, easier to scale with new team members, and more accurate. Paper transactions are not only wasteful but can get easily lost and cause errors in the business. Bad penmanship and readability can cause miscommunication. Handling inventory management demands accuracy. It also needs to be informed with the latest updates regarding the business. Businesses can reduce errors by using digital systems. It can eliminate 90% of the time used in data entry.
Use wireless devices to improve communication. Communication is imperative in every stage of fulfillment and manufacturing. Emails can be sent late and left unseen. Wireless communication allows for a real-life update on the processes done in the inventory. It is more accurate and can eliminate, or at least decrease, the probability of errors in the business. Order fulfillments and delays can be referred to faster using wireless communication. This speed is critical for real-time inventory visibility.
Automate your return management. As online ordering becomes more and more popular, it’s important to look at the statistics. Approximately 30% of all online orders are returned. Leveraging automation for return management through your WMS is your best safeguard to protect your bottom line. Return Management systems allow businesses to store and track data to what is being returned and who is returning it. It can also assist in advanced allocation practices.
Store your data in the cloud. As stated, digital information can be easily accessed and stored. Storing information digitally is key, but the sheer amount of data can easily overwhelm the largest of hard drives. WithoutWire has built-in cloud storage, so there’s no limit to the amount of data a business can compile. With Microsoft Azure Cloud, you get scaling, security, and monitoring, alongside the benefit of digital storage.
Check the potential Return on Investment (ROI) before adopting new technology. Advancements in technology are powering significant advances in inventory science, but there are caveats. Advertisements for new technology are left and right, and always enticing. Adopting new technology without proper research can be detrimental to your business. It’s best to take a look at the “why behind the why” of your WMS, and consult your support staff to see if the technology is helpful, or if it’s another hurdle.
Look into incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions. AI advancements are showing real promise for inventory management and re-thinking how a supply chain is run. With cloud-based data and machine learning, your WMS could be able to forecast issues and automate processes that save you time and money, with little to no up-front cost.
Focus on visibility. A modern WMS offers dozens of ways to stay vigilant over your supply chain, but they only work if you use them. It is important to train and enlighten your staff on how to use your new system. Taking the time to familiarize employees with all of the options available and helping them customize dashboards so they are able to quickly and efficiently navigate the inventory platform. It will decrease delays inputs and errors in the system. Furthermore, it can also help in your assessment of whether a new system is beneficial for your company.
Save money with wave-picking and cross-docking. If a business is struggling with storage, managing inventory by employing cross-docking through their WMS offers a seamless solution that saves time and makes processes easier for employees. Wave picking is supremely useful for businesses with a particularly complex shipping system, and if an advanced tracking method is adopted, both cross-docking and wave picking can save significant amounts of time and money.
Use forecasting in your budgetary planning. Advanced allocation gives businesses the opportunity to forecast supply needs, seasonal demands, and contribute to avoiding overstocks, or short supply. Forecasting in your budget meetings allows you to strategize and plan, letting your WMS take care of the rest. The algorithms and formulas available within WithoutWire are built to help businesses forecast while automatically updating in real-time.
Operational Best Practices
Utilize Advanced Shipment Notifications (ASNs). ASNs are electronic notifications sent from the buyer to inform the company about an impending delivery. This is a simple solution that can reduce the receiving effort by 70%. ASNs can help with backed-up receiving and reduce delays in the delivery of orders.
Add a Put away Process. Put away refers to the process of moving incoming inventory from the receiving zone to another location that is optimal for storage. More often than not, it is not seen as an urgent priority. However, neglecting this function can negatively affect the management of your inventory. It can result in lower fill rates, congestion in the aisles, and picking obstructions. A WMS will prioritize hot receipts—those that need to be immediately replenished or cross-docked—and help you monitor and manage zone congestion.
Simplify Picking Procedures. Wave picking, batch picking, pick and pack, pick and consolidate, and discrete order picking are some of the things to consider in managing inventories. It's best to keep this process simple by reducing the number of selection methods used and working on a regular schedule. Moreover, the allocation of a few large waves instead of many small ones is preferred. For larger groups of orders, a warehouse management system can select the right assignment size and group orders to optimize the pick paths.
Adapt to changing product demands through re-slotting. It is best to maximize the space of the inventory to maximize storage and ease deliveries. A part of the normal picking or put away process is to move a product to optimal locations.
Map your processes. Mapping your processes is a great way to identify unnecessary activities. Look for ways to streamline, simplify, and eliminate steps that do not add value. Over time, small, incremental improvements can make a big difference.
Those are best practices for warehouse management. As can be seen, digital systems have become a necessity in the efficiency and optimization of your inventory. While inventory management can be downplayed as mere storage of products, it can greatly affect the production and fulfillment of deliveries by the company. It is important to assess all aspects of the business, most especially warehouse management. As your company becomes bigger, management of inventories can become too difficult to handle manually. Making use of a warehouse management system can decrease labor and order delays for your business.
WithoutWire offers a WMS that help with inventory managing. The Inventory Platform WMS can assist with the seasonal allocation of products, using algorithms custom-made from the data provided by your business. It can help with budgetary planning, as well as a myriad of other things. We can help optimize your inventory and increase order fulfillment for your business.
If you are curious, contact us for more information and we’ll be happy to assist!
Electronics manufacturers such as Entech Electronics have had to beef up their supply chain and purchasing teams to meet the challenges of a global shortage of electronic components. Yaser Darban explains what companies can do to weather the shortage.
As the world recovers from a pandemic, another threat looms for manufacturers – a global shortage of components. So when companies like Apple say that a chip shortage can cause a loss of $3 billion to $4 billion, it makes us wonder how even industry leaders didn’t foresee it.
The global chip shortage didn’t come without its warnings, which many industry leaders failed to heed.
Preparing for global component shortages. Photo: Entech ElectronicsProjections say that the global chip shortage will last at least another 12 to 24 months, but there are ways in which businesses can mitigate the problem to manage the crisis better.
Practical solutions to chip shortage
We must plan actionable steps to prepare for and reduce production risk due to global components shortage.
Price is not the key element; the total value is important.
Prioritizing the total value over the price of the components will affect how your business runs. Amidst shortages, prices are going to be high.
In such a scenario, you may choose to lower your purchases. However, this strategy will affect the consistency of supply and the time to market.
It is important to be mindful of this challenge to set competitive pricing. If one associates a value with a cheaper component price, the long-term effects of this decision can be detrimental to the progress of your manufacturing business.
It is better to place the value on the end product and not on the individual prices of parts. As a manufacturing unit, better not sacrifice time, be it weeks or months, for a marginal reduction in the BOM (Bill of Materials).
Yes, by waiting for a few months, it is possible to reduce the BOM cost to some extent by design improvement. However, it also means that there are going to delays in the order. It is better to secure parts that are fixed in the design as soon as possible. Ultimately, customers will choose other suppliers who have enough inventory available.
Ordering parts early will only have a minor difference in procurement costs, but with a well-planned inventory, the production schedule will be much better. Eventually, this decision will help boost brand image, which should ideally be the real end goal of any manufacturing business.
The collaboration between the customer, designer, part supplier, and the manufacturer is essential to keep the flow of products moving and keep the business growing. When one chain breaks, it will lead to unforeseen delays and holdups.
Currently, we see that these essential components within the industry follow a closed loop. Most designers and manufacturing companies are unwilling to share their product information or BOM, fearing that it would compromise their IP.
However, if the lines of communication are open, there will be a significant shift in how these components work with each other. Professional and experienced operators can identify how to avoid compromising IP and connect clients to enablers in the supply chain network.
To navigate this situation, companies should consider sharing as much information as possible with manufacturers and/or part distributors.
If a reliable supply chain partner is not available, start looking for one that can be trusted. A connected manufacturing partner with a robust supply chain team can serve as a valuable consultant to advise on how to plan procurement and avoid shortages.
Communication is the key
Communication is the bond that keeps each part of the company in sync with each other. In a manufacturing business, it is crucial to promote the connection between supplier capabilities and customer requirements.
When creating a product, the earlier the critical suppliers are involved in the vision, the better. This process brings supplier expertise to the mix and provides businesses with essential insights into designing the product efficiently.
Another advantage is that companies will be well-versed with the supplier’s capabilities. Matching the supplier capabilities with customer demands yields the best results when it comes to manufacturing.
Besides, with the supplier’s visibility on material lead-time, planning is easier in the current shortage situation.
Everyone should get a chance to express their concerns about the product or parts of it. If there is no voice for constructive criticism or concerns, people will not contribute positively even when knowing that a certain decision would hinder the company’s progress.
In the same light, suppliers and manufacturers may have critical information or warnings for the company, urging them to plan in advance. When the industry is experiencing turbulence, suppliers/manufacturers will see it coming in advance. Hence, it is always a good idea to consider their concerns and inputs.
During the global chip shortage, one company that thought to suffer the most fared much better than its competition – again, it’s Toyota.
The automaker perfected a just-in-time supply chain strategy with a core idea to identify “what is needed when it is needed, and in the amount needed.”
According to this philosophy, many thought that Toyota wouldn’t have enough inventory to weather the chip shortage storm. However, the opposite happened.
Toyota stockpiled on semiconductors for their cars and maintenance tools before the chip shortage happened. In a recently released statement, the company said that they do not see any major short-term impact from the deficit. On the contrary, Ford expects that the chip shortage will lower its earnings by about $2.5 billion in 2021.
So, did Toyota forsake its ideology? Not exactly.
Firstly, lean manufacturing doesn’t mean that there is no room for advanced planning. Toyota adhered to just-in-time manufacturing, but as always, it showed that it learns from the past.
The automotive giant was in a similar situation during the Tsunami of 2011, where its chip suppliers couldn’t supply semiconductors due to damages. From that experience, for the coming years, Toyota kept a careful eye on supplier capabilities and trends. This practice functioned like an early warning system that showed the impending chip shortages.
During the pandemic, Toyota foresaw the effects it is going to have on the semiconductor industry. The company then took the list of the most important semiconductor components it needed to stockpile and did just that! Toyota merged just-in-time production with advanced planning, where they stocked more components if they identified an impending scarcity.
Not relying on the grey market
An efficient supply chain is possible by establishing standard processes such as supplier analysis and qualification and financial and commercial controls. This process discipline provides the ability to compare and contrast options, boosts product output, and also plays a more prominent role in the success of supply chain partners.
When this process is absent, businesses likely look forward to the grey market to compensate for the low inventory. However, this solution is more like a pain killer that subsides your pain for a short period but won’t make it go away completely.
These short-term solutions do not provide answers to why there was a shortage in the first place. Besides, grey market components may not uphold the same quality standards as the primary supplier/manufacturer.
Additionally, if the customer feels a dip in quality, it will diminish the brand image, making the short-term gain insignificant to a much more significant loss in terms of customer perception.
A few considerations can go a long way
Before the chip shortage, the usual approach for businesses was to order parts after seeing the finished design. Although it is still the right approach to design, test, validate and certify the new product before mass production, consuming more time in the current situation may now result in inadequate stock or no stock at all.
The solution is to source parts on the move. For example, businesses can avoid waiting to finish EMC testing before ordering parts since most components like the MCU or connectivity modules will likely not change at the EMC stage.
If the prototype is nearing completion, it is already known that many of the parts will not change. At this stage, it is better to move forward with ordering the critical components for production.
Minor modifications to some parts are inevitable, but waiting till perfecting the entire design will negatively impact the part availability.
While regulatory approvals and certifications are necessary, they won’t likely impact the main electronic components in the BOM. So it makes sense to order parts in advance to prevent shortage issues later down the line. It is better to consider as many alternatives as possible on each of the parts on the BOM.
As always, think long-term. When ordering parts, make sure to source enough so that you can keep the production running for the next 18-24 months.
Understanding the current shortfalls of your manufacturing business during the global chip shortage will offer you valuable insight into what you can do for the future to prevent such a scenario from happening. At the core of it, foresight, planning, and communication are the key drivers that will enable your business to overcome such a situation.
Yaser Darban is general manager, sales strategy, APAC, EU at Entech Electronics.
This story was originally published by @AuManufacturing.
At WithoutWire, we've seen dramatic changes in our history. Paper transitioned to computers, then to smartphones, and beyond. With artificial intelligence, things are evolving quickly; it requires us to start thinking differently about how we connect as a business. Whether you're privy to it or not, decoupled systems are here to stay. IT projects and software implementations, and integration have left many people with headaches, and we're here to help you avoid them. As a company, WithoutWire has had the privilege of being on the frontline of changes in technology. Payroll, HR, marketing, sales, customer service—all good examples of platforms that now live outside of the financial operations engine known as an ERP, and despite the critical nature of the software applications, they are now integrated into an ERP—not buried inside of it. These functional operations are now independent and creating new and innovative competitive advantages for their adopters.
As the ERP acronym indicates, it's a resource planning system for businesses that have come to represent a more significant meaning. Many are now suited to complex manufacturing supply chain management and project accounting. These features, developed in the '90s, failed to continue to grow, however. The diminishing payload of an ERP's backend has forced a slowdown in innovation. As anyone in the software industry will tell you, the more code in a solution, the harder it is to manage, and then the harder it is to innovate.
As companies continue to look for improvements beyond the limitations of an ERP, integrated solutions have tried and have failed many times. These failures happen because many IT and operational staff don't take kindly to outside or integrated add-ons. Across industries, it has been challenging to propose a solution based on these sorts of integrated add-ons. It's taken many years for the tech and design ideas to adapt to this, and advances, particularly in security, have been enormous enablers for integrated solutions that span well beyond an ERP, helping segue into the world of cloud computing. Fast-forward to today and now, antiquated systems are replaced by open-sourced ones, and ignorance of third-party add-ons replaced by marketplaces committed to add-on features.
It's hard to argue that ERPs are well-positioned to meet the needs of the next decade. However, an ERP cannot compete with cloud-based services when it comes to the modern supply chain. This is because ERP systems were built with an inward focus, much like a traditional 20th Century company. But today, the Fortune 1000 executives are looking for solutions in supply chain visibility and management that augment the weaknesses of a traditional ERP.
Licensing of an ERP system can also be a deterrent. It is costly to authorize every user that needs to see information and create separate log-ins. The data structures alongside security layers and even UI's are primed to be replaced by solutions like Microsoft Power Platform and other programs in the Microsoft Dataverse. The main goal is to open up visibility to your ERP. Let data be analyzed by other systems more efficiently.
Although an integrated cloud approach to business is finally making great strides, there's still work to be done when a company chooses to loosely couple its ERP system. However, with the proper planning, project, and procedure, you can finally start taking advantage of add-ons that enable your business to explore new possibilities and reflect the positive growth that you've been fostering for years.
If it isn't broken, it doesn't need a fix - especially if it's tech that was designed to make things easier. Sure, there are better ways to do something, but like Occam's razor, the most straightforward answer is often the correct one.
Barcodes trace back to the mid-to-late-20th century. June 26th, 1974 was the first-ever scan if you're looking for specifics. It was supposed to be an elegant solution; it was—and still is. There are always new developments to boost their efficiency, and there's always someone working to make inventory management more effortless. However, there are still times where the juice isn't worth the squeeze.
So, if barcodes are so simple, straightforward, and widely used, why do you even need a strategy for them? When a business thinks about how often they want to scan, how complex the scanning process is, i.e., the physical range of the devices used, and how often the information represented by the barcode will change.
Today's technology has unlocked a bevy of information, forms, and ciphers available to be used that can enhance the information saturation of your barcoded devices. The end goal is one universal "scan" that can handle all types. EFN, EAN, UCC Codes, GS1s, 2-D barcode formats, the list goes on, but the central concept is these are all ways to encode data into the barcode, that are all focused on achieving one thing: a reliable read of information.
How To Optimize Your Barcode Strategy
Much like with anything else in manufacturing, distribution, and field service, you don't want to double or triple-handle anything that doesn't need it. This applies to barcoding as well. If your business is looking to optimize your barcode scanning process, the simplest way is to try to reduce the number of times something needs to be scanned in the first place. The most efficient way to do this is by leveraging License Plates.
License Plates are a collection of materials or items that live in a movable location together. The location can be represented in its entirety in what we call a Set. This eliminates dozens, possibly hundreds of scans throughout the supply chain if used to package a set and treat all the individual items as a whole. As a way for transacting mass inventory throughout the supply chain, it's hard to find something more straightforward to use than License plates. At the same time, they can be a problem as well.
Where License Plates Can Cause A Problem
Let's say you have a license plate that contains two different lot numbers. If you're planning on using the license plate to scan a product, you're going to have a hard time finding which lot number is being used on that license plate unless you force a scan of it as well. It's best practice from a barcode scanning protocol to require a second scan if you are apprehensive about potential confusion regarding the license plate.
Another Potential Hurdle
If your organization is planning to use non-sticky license plates applied to a pallet through shrink-wrap, they are easy to misplace or accidentally throw away after the pallet's tear-down. Imagine your highest-inventory day, with dozens of pallets and pounds of shrink-wrap across the floor—if your License Plates wind up on the floor, you'll be leading your staff on quite the chase to track down each of them and put them where they belong. Data entry is a cost no one appreciates, but sorting the barcodes for that data beforehand certainly is quite the productivity-killer.
Tips + Tricks for License Plates + Pallets
Barcodes: How Large Should They Be?
To most, this is an afterthought. To us, this is a key to improving efficiencies in your warehouse. The larger they are, the further away you can be when you can. If you have products that are stored on the L2 rack of your warehouse, and your crew doesn't want to get a ladder and spend more time, they can usually scan from right below. 8.5" x 11" paper works great for this. Using reflective materials is also a great way to increase the distance you can scan a barcode.
However, the other major factor in this is the technology you use to scan the License Plates. If you're curious about what scanning technology is available on the Inventory Platform, Get in touch with us.
Using license plates is not for everybody. There are many considerations that need to be taken into account. Sometimes, it's simply because your operation might not need them. Suppose you have inbound barcodes that already exist in the product and raw materials coming into your receiving dock. If this is the case, and it is relatively reliable, we recommend that you use the existing technology of your vendors and partners.
When you're dealing with lot, serial, and expiration products, lowering the number of errors is closely tied to reducing the number of scans your team takes. Using the Application Identifiers of the GS1 Barcode Standard lets you segment out pieces of data reliably, auto-feeding it into the data collection process. In pharmaceuticals and food products, the GS1 is very common and can easily be applied across the board in operations. For example, Lot Number is your Segment 10 in this system. With the data present from your vendor's barcodes, you can take that and post it into the lot number segment of your systems.
Barcoding tech can make it easier to have a traceable solution around barcode scanning—without barcode scanning. When dealing with products that don't require lot tracking or serial tracking, and you have an established system where you scan material into a location that's kept as the only item/product in that location for a set amount of time. By doing this and scanning by bins rather than by item, you save your team a lot of time on excessive scanning. As long as your system can check for contents and tracks them over time, you can design a system that works exceptionally well for lower-dollar value items.
Improving the barcode strategy is systematic and happens over time. One of the key things we tell our clients is that a rule-based system governing what can and cannot be mixed at specific locations is a great jumping-off point. This helps remove those additional scans that may not support the system, only slow it down when tracking amounts and locations of lots.
With smaller items and products, 2D barcodes are something your organization may want to consider. These barcodes can be very compact but still allow for enough characters present to identify the item. With a location filled with subdivisions of other locations made of small parts, barcode scanning is inherently more complex. We recommend keeping item barcodes off the racks and scanning bin locations to indicate a given item, given restrictions limiting one item per location.
A better barcoding system involves the usage of Bin Barcoding. If your warehouse includes multiple levels of racks, it can be difficult to scan the bin barcode if it is directly adjacent to the second, third, or fourth tier of your racks. One way around this is to color-code your barcodes or spatially orient them from the top-down at the lowest bin for easy scanning.
For the more permanent locations, like bins, it's never a bad idea to consider 3rd party printing. It's common sense, but masking tape on unlaminated paper is inevitably going to tarnish and fall. At the same time, a more permanent, embossed, and color-coded barcode built to stick to a metal rack in any season stands a considerably better chance at longevity. Even using placards with magnets associated with bins can be helpful if you are experiencing a lot of shifts across your warehouse floor regularly.
As with any physical media, having the ability to create it on the fly is critical. We recommend at least one thermal imaging printer alongside a LaserJet printer on hand that can make a variety of different sizes.
Improving the barcode strategy is based on reducing scans and increasing the accuracy of what you track simultaneously. Although some of the examples we give our clients, like size, material, and placement, all seem pretty common-sense, a lot goes into improving the strategy beyond the surface level. Whether it's with license plates, or simple size and shape strategy, there are various ways to help simplify barcoding. If you're looking to learn more and see what the inventory platform can do for you, get in touch.
How important is it to meet the expectations of a promised ship date?
The answer, to most, is complex. Customer expectations are at an all-time high, and thus, the importance of promise-ship dates is also. Just recently, a distributor's primary concern was big-box retailers. In the 21st century, however, you need to include next-day shipping orders based online play just as big of a part.
Not meeting your promise dates can be a reason your company loses its edge. If you're working with promise dates with distributors like Target, Wal-Mart, or Amazon, there are severe penalties if you don't get your product there in a timely fashion. So, your business needs to focus on specific pick orders and the importance of allocating products to those.
Naturally, the other issue is shorting. You don't want to short orders, which in some ways also means you can't meet that promise to ship just because you have an outage in your inventory. Both are problems within themselves.
But can you imagine now how hard it would be to not only allocate and worry about focusing on just a tiny subset of your customers—but now expanding that to tripling and quadrupling your number of customers that you have to meet promised ship dates?
Now, of course, you can use all kinds of techniques to avoid even providing a promise to ship date, like presenting information on the e-commerce user interface or website that indicates when they can expect to receive the shipment. We remember a story many years ago, where a distributor was hiring new forklift drivers, and the guy on his first job took out a forklift and destroyed pallets of product. Those are the kind of products that were required to be used to fulfill orders right then and there. You cannot do much about that other than try to react as quickly as possible, which is what we consider the worst-case scenario.
What steps you're willing to take to address those worst-case scenarios? You have to think about how much money you're ready to put into a problem. It could even mean you're not making any money on this order.
Ultimately, in today's world, keeping a customer happy seems to have more importance in some cases—than actually making money on each order—as crazy as that sounds. It's like the old saying, "the best offense is a good defense."
In other words, you'd love to be able to prevent problems from ever happening in the first place. And, there are certain activities you could do and strategies to minimize those scenarios, like keeping more inventory in stock. But unfortunately, taking time, money, and effort to bear these expenses is not feasible.
You can also help your business by ensuring that you're putting accurate inventory information right on the website when people are ordering. Often, people won't be as upset if they see that you're out of stock as opposed to if you try to tell them you can ship it, but then you can't.
There are tools right in our system that can benefit you if you're looking to plan out when you expect to run out of stock, based on forecasts and incoming PO's and outgoing SO's that give you an end-of-day view into what to expect.
What about retail stores? When an online order is created, and somebody drives to a retail store to pick up their order and sees that a product was out of stock, that's another problem. Huge. Only superior inventory visibility can find you a solution, which is the core issue in some cases around not being able to hit promised dates.
For large retail stores, often one of the solutions to dealing with that worst-case scenario is quickly, dynamically allocate picks and transfers to other retail facilities using Inventory Platform technology. Introducing intelligent transfers is an approach that can be very useful in large retail chains.
We're always happy to help people deal with vendor and supply shortages. And in this scenario, being able to dynamically pull products in purchasing from vendors other than your standard go-to providers is another key to minimizing those shortages. One simple but essential aspect of being ready to do such a thing is to have multiple bar codes that represent your internal items. That way, when a new vendor who sends in new SKUs hits the dock, you're able to continue to scan and use those products throughout your fulfillment, and receiving, and so on.
We could spend days talking about these kinds of optimizations because we've spent days planning, building, and creating resources to help businesses work better. If you're curious about what WithoutWire can do for you, get in touch with us. We're here to make inventory management more manageable.