I received a note recently from one of my newsletter subscribers asking if inventory management is dead. He stated that he didn’t think there was a single session on inventory management at APICS 2015 and wondered if the topic was dead. The answer is NO….at least not for successful companies!
Interestingly, I was asked specifically to talk about inventory management by the APICS Ventura chapter as their programs chair said that their members were interested in fundamentals topics – what really matters to success in the workplace. That is the reason why inventory management will never go out of style – similarly to the fact that your house will not stand up long term without a solid foundation, your company will not stand up long term without solid inventory management practices.
Start with the base fundamentals. You must start with systems transactions – timing, accuracy and separation of duties are all important. I’ve been called into significant messes including failed system implementations that I’ve been able to resolve largely stemming from these types of foundational elements. It is well worth paying attention to them! Next look at inventory levels – optimize the level of inventory, your supply chain network structure, your lead times, customer service levels, efficiencies and margins. The right mix will result in business success – and optimal inventory and cash flow levels. For more advanced topics, evaluate collaborating with customers, suppliers and other supply chain partners to take inventory management practices to a new level only achieved by looking at the end-to-end supply chain. If you’d like to discuss options to dramatically improving your inventory management practices, contact me.