Invest Time In Inventory Management

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Time spent upfront is invaluable for inventory management.

If I was a pet sitter, looking after your precious dog Ralph and your sweet cat Pearl for the first time, I bet you would take 15 minutes, at least, to go over your pets’ needs and routines with me.

Time well spent

Multiply that 15 minutes by 4, and that’s about the amount of time you should spend with your fulfillment specialist, talking about the intricacies and needs of your inventory managment, ordering and shipping.

It’s business time

Fulfillment pros use sophisticated software to manage the goods that they store, pack and ship for their clients, but that software works best when information about your product is part of it. I call this information “business rules,” and these are rules that are never standard — they vary from business to business and from product to product. Here are a few things you should talk to your fulfillment professional about before the first pallet of your product lands in their warehouse:

What’s on my pallet?

Describe your product. What does it do? Who uses it? How much does it weigh? Is it fragile? Does it involve any hazardous materials?

What are my product’s special needs?

Does it require a particular level of humidity or range of temperature? Does it have to be stored in a particular way?

How much product should be stored?

What are the numbers? How many of each item should be stored in our warehouse? What’s the magic number—the number at which we sound the alarm and tell you it is time to replenish your stock? How long it takes to replenish your stock? Do orders vary seasonally? If so, when does ordering usually go up?

When is your product “spoiled”?

When does your product become outdated or outmoded? When it is “spoiled,” what would you like for us to do with it?

The more you can tell us, the better. By talking about your inventory management at the outset, you prevent problems in the future and you ensure that customers who order your product get what they need with little waiting.


Sharon Vanover

June 22, 2015

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