Inventory visibility, or knowing the location, quantity, and movement of products, is an essential component of running a successful operation. In its absence, bad inventory data results in inefficiencies like CSRs not knowing what is available to sell, buyers not knowing what inventory they need to replenish, excessive inventory holding costs, and customer frustration.
These blind spots into inventory availability and quantities make retailers respond reactively versus proactively. The result is reduced inventory turn times, hasty warehouse planning, bottlenecks, stock-outs, and excess inventory. Worse still, efficiency, profitability, and—perhaps most importantly—customer satisfaction are jeopardized.
Keeping track of every piece of inventory at every stage
Modern order fulfillment operations are complex, as consumers demand more options and rapid delivery. Inventory management now includes numerous touch points across the supply chain, including the distribution center, in-transit orders on trucks, store shelves, and stockrooms.
Order accuracy is critical to running a successful operation because it ensures that your inventory records reflect the reality of your stock, order monitoring and tracking, and more. Unfortunately, part of the challenge is confirming, with accuracy, that vendors have fulfilled orders as promised and all items are received and indicated in the stock ledger.
Inventory visibility is key
The reality is that acquiring consistent, accurate, and timely data is now foundational to successful inventory management. Retailers are quickly moving away from a status quo where they previously accepted limited or no inventory visibility, and are instead striving for real-time insights in order to make strategic business decisions. That said, a number of challenges stand in the way of perfectly-managed inventory:
1.) Item Data
The bigger your warehouse, the more difficult it is to manually keep track of every piece of inventory you have, and the precise bin in which it’s located. But no matter the size of your business, you want to have reliable information and know where every item is located without fail. Otherwise, you run the risk of stockpiling excess inventory, going through the trouble of redistributing items to an appropriate warehouse location, or being unable to quickly and correctly answer customer inquiries about which items you have in stock.
2.) Packing Data
Whether you’re receiving or shipping items with incomplete or missing packing data, the result is the same: unreliable inventory data. This issue worsens if your business uses EDI, as your trading partner will issue chargebacks for incorrect information in your transaction. Those are profits you can’t afford to lose, especially because such errors are entirely preventable.
Incomplete or missing packing data adds further operational costs by necessitating manual inspections and the painstaking process of matching packing slips to invoices to packed boxes. The time it takes your employees to manually open and inspect orders and relabel information is better spent on revenue-generating activities, rather than correcting avoidable errors.
3.) Shipping Details
A distribution center cannot operate smoothly without visibility of inbound shipments and orders. You need to know what is arriving from vendors, and when. Without shipping details, you can only react to the situation, instead of being proactive in how you schedule staff and manage the yard. These inefficiencies can lead to unforeseen costs and tedious processes, such as hiring additional staff to track missing inventory and manually opening, counting, and unpacking shipments.
Effectively and accurately managing outbound shipments and orders is equally important, and directly tied to customers’ experiences. In both the B2B and B2C world, your customers want to know where their orders are, and when they can expect to receive them. Merely knowing that an item is somewhere in the warehouse won’t do. Is it undergoing quality control? Has it been picked and packed? Which specific items are in each package of a shipment? These are questions your customers want answered, and a comprehensive inventory management strategy is crucial to providing that information in a timely manner.
Transform your operation with Inventory Manager
If manually tracking your inventory is time-consuming, prone to error, and not meeting customer expectations, what is the answer? Easy: Inventory Manager.
SalesPad by Cavallo Inventory Manager is your all-in-one solution for a disorganized warehouse relying on outdated practices to stay afloat. It allows for complete inventory visibility, so you always know what you have, what it’s worth, and where it’s located.
Ensure accurate packing data 100% of the time with barcoding. SKUs can be long and easy to mistype if you’re entering or tracking them manually. Scanning a barcode, on the other hand, immediately validates that you have the item you’re looking for. Not only is your fulfillment process simplified, but you can avoid a costly return and a dissatisfied customer.
Furthermore, a significant amount of money can be tied up in assets if your shipment to a customer is delayed. If there’s a bottleneck backing up orders that need to go out, you want to know about it before it spirals into a profit-consuming problem. With Inventory Manager, you can easily check the status of your orders at any time, and allocate more resources to getting your high-priority items shipped out as needed.
“We actually went a full year without a single mispick.” — Jeff Downs, CEO of Hoy Shoe Co.
Our customer Hoy Shoe Co., a B2B shoe manufacturer and distributor, has been in business for over half a century, with no plans to slow their growth. Before implementing SalesPad, they relied on the manual picking process of walking the aisles of their warehouse with a clipboard in hand. Not only did this process slow them down—it put them at a high risk for mispicking inventory.
When it comes to shoes, the boxes look similar, if not identical. But picking the wrong shoe by only a half-size off means the shoes won’t fit, and customer frustration and a return are sure to follow. Precision, then, is paramount to Hoy Shoe’s success.
Moving from checking a clipboard to scanning a barcode changed everything.
“When we got everything set up with Inventory Manager, and we got all our scanners and set up the workflows in SalesPad, we found that it made our employees much, much faster,” said CEO Jeff Downs. “We can get more products out today than we’ve ever gotten out. Scanning an item instead of manually checking a pick list saves so much time.”
Introducing automation into their operation was game-changing for Hoy Shoe, and left them more time to focus on growing their business, rather than correcting mistakes. “We actually went a full year without a single mispick,” Downs stated. That’s the kind of reliable accuracy Inventory Manager provides.
Achieve total inventory visibility and accuracy
Having a perfectly organized warehouse doesn’t have to be an unrealistic dream. Inventory Manager sets your business up for success by removing opportunities for human error, providing 100% visibility of your inventory, and allowing you to accurately and efficiently track the status of your orders. Stop settling for mispicks, bottlenecks, and unhappy customers—and take your warehouse back.