As inventory makes its way through your supply chain, it is vital to be able to pinpoint its location at any given moment. But in many warehouse scenarios, inventory seems to develop the power of invisibility, perfectly ill-timed for that moment when it is suddenly crucial for you to identify its location. If this stress sounds all too familiar, it may be time to examine your logistic strategies and tracking system.
Ask yourself this: “Right now, in this moment, do I know where my inventory is?”
If your answer is anything but yes, you have just identified an area of undue stress in your business, and it could be costing you money, as well as sleep. According to an Entrepreneur report, many companies realize a profitability increase of 20 to 50 percent or more when they implement a careful inventory management system.
What do you look for? Your tracking and analytics system should have the capabilities to easily locate any piece of inventory without stress or hesitation. The system you have in place should be able to support the monumental responsibility of managing the flow of product as it moves through the reverse supply chain with a focus on data metrics — from product receipt to final disposition.
Does Poor Tracking Keep You Awake at Night?
Perhaps you think this is all just part of doing business. But, it doesn’t have to be. Other successful companies have discovered that a stress-free inventory management process requires an intelligent logistics tracking system to provide detailed up-to-the minute information.
The solution is simple. With the right tracking program in place, you should be able to log into your system and quickly and accurately get access to status reports, including if the product was received, is being tested, has posted for sale, or is awaiting shipment.
Most companies do not create and implement a successful plan and system without some expert assistance. According to an MIT Sloan report, there are so many moving parts to your inventory supply chain metrics that proper management requires the right software, a customized strategic plan, and time to oversee its implementation.
Taking the Leap: Working Smarter not Harder
One solid solution to these challenges is to enlist the help of a third-party provider, one who supplies you with advanced analytics and reporting software, completely tailored to your business requirements, and that provides a full structure of in-depth technical reports.
These reports should encompass complete tested product inventory information, which includes: the quantity, condition, serial number, defect (if applicable), and included and/or missing accessories. Sales reports are also easily created so a vendor can view their return on investment.
Your logistics partner should be able to provide a full breakdown of all of these reports, sortable by individual item, model number, category, or price point for analysis. At any point, you should know where your inventory is located along the chain or in the warehouse.
Additional System Concerns
If your tracking system has a history of less-than-stellar performance, you are probably also concerned about data security. If ITAD (recycling, refurbishing for resale, or perhaps both) is a part of your business operation, then the importance of a reliable inventory tracking system and detailed reports increase exponentially.
Your ITAD plan should provide stringent security measures, document the entire process, and provide assurance that all hard drives and memory storage systems are completely wiped or destroyed before final disposition. Without a guarantee that this destruction of data is thorough and meets all regulations, your risk and potential liability increase dramatically.
Adding to the challenge, regulatory requirements vary depending on the industry. Compliance is one of the major areas where you must focus your attention, not only when creating data safety protocol for day-to-day operations, but especially for when it is time for disposition of IT devices. Data security is a top concern because regulatory standards place a very high importance on a company protecting sensitive information, and they will hold organizations accountable (aka, inflict big fines) if it is found that the company failed to prevent a data breach or allowed any sensitive information to be leaked.
Choose to Improve Inventory Tracking and Analytics
Reporting and analytics are a vital tool in keeping track of all your inventory, wherever it is in the supply chain. The quality of this reporting is frequently what sets one provider apart from another. Top-of-the-line reporting and analytics hold the key to tracking inventory easily, evaluating the effectiveness of your sales strategy, and provide fool-proof evidence that you are in compliance with any environmental and government regulations.
The right third-party logistics service provider can help create a customized plan to track your inventory, ease stress, and maximize your time and business success.