Five Common Inventory Management Mistakes

This post is part of the series of the ad hoc content writer (#AdHocCW). It was first published as an e-article, where it appeared with minor additions that contained information about the company.

Arguably, inventory management is one of the most important things in the manufacturing industry. It is the movement of the inventory from raw materials to finished goods and from items to products that create the flow of money. But, what if you weren’t managing your inventories well? We list the five commonest mistakes.

No Tracking of Inventories

Not tracking what comes in or goes out: This is perhaps the worst of all mistakes. But, it only worsens when you have more than one location to manage. There might just be situations when you would have days before the requests for replenishments reach you.

Solution? Get an ERP. A good inventory management system can help create tracks for raw materials, intermediate items, and finished goods. And, you can track down every single item right on your desktop. There are two important things that a good inventory management system can do for you: track the required replenishments and record the finished goods turns.

Lack of Inventory Forecasts

Efficient organizations know that customer-satisfaction indexes directly link to meeting production schedules and delivery deadlines. But, an absence of the required vision and knowledge may become an impediment.

Inventory management systems can help forecast the finished goods requirements based on trends, demands of finished goods, and production schedules. In fact, it is perhaps the need of the hour for you to adopt an inventory management system to keep up the pace with today’s fast-paced, competitive environment.

No Automation

Gone are those days of pens and (piles and piles of) papers. Go paperless! Get an inventory management system for real-time display and analysis of inventories. If you are still using either a manual method or the basic computer-based spreadsheets to manage your inventories, chances are you will run into trouble sooner or later.

Inventory management systems negate the possibilities of human errors. Also, those computer-based spreadsheets may only be good for creating tables, it seems. Today’s inventory management systems can store millions of records, which you can use to search, retrieve, and print the required information and reports in practically no time.

Besides, you cannot edit or manage manual records when you are running out of time. That’s because multiple users can access an inventory management system to record and access real-time information on the inventory statuses for multiple products, requirements, and locations. Now, that’s the efficiency you want in today’s environment.

Lack of Data Integration

Inventory management systems integrate seamlessly with your current databases. This helps create and manage information that flows easily from one module to another, just like the flow of raw materials from receipt bins through production facilities and to the shipment area. And, then you can multiply the benefit of seamless tracking and enablement for every location that you have.

Resistance to Adopt New Technology

Imagine businesses that see large volumes of incoming and outgoing inventories. How difficult would it be for them to manage the volumes efficiently? Now, imagine that scale of inventory management for more than one product, more than one warehouse location, and more than one business operation. It is easy to lose count and track of inventories.

Inventory management systems can help you manage such loads easily. You can even use your handheld devices to track inventories. Such systems can help you with operations like physical count, raw material and intermediate-product management, and storing packaging and finished goods items.

Conclusion

Today’s inventory management systems are equipped to provide a comprehensive inventory-management solution. You can use the systems to track the requirement for raw materials, consumables, and intermediates; create and manage intermediate items; and keep a log of how much finished goods items you have in the inventory. These reliable systems can greatly reduce the possibilities of mistakes and consequently improve your operational efficiency.

Using ERPs to Improve Productivity of Manufacturing Units

This post is part of the series of the ad hoc content writer (#AdHocCW). It was first published as an e-article, where it appeared with minor additions that contained information about the company.


An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is not only a tool to automate business processes and their underlying transactional data, but also a methodology to streamline and improve the operational efficiency of those business processes. And, manufacturing is indeed one business process where the impact of the use of ERP can be critical. Let us explore how does the use of ERP systems contribute to improving the productivity of manufacturing units.

Data and Decision Integration

ERP systems typically cover all business operations across a business unit. Consequently, the biggest impact of implementing ERPs lies in the integration of information. Such an integration is critical from the point of view of the survival and success of a business unit. That’s because decisions are time and resource critical. Any change or influence from the internal (controllable) and external (uncontrollable) factors can affect the decisions. And, having information at fingertips can always improve the effectiveness of the time-and-resource-critical decision making. Such decisions, though taken at different levels of different departments, will still be cohesive and move the organization in the same direction.

Vision Implementation

Businesses are as much about “tomorrow” as about “today”. Therefore, it is important for us to plan things much in advance. ERP systems can help us graduate data into facts, facts into information, and information into insights. These insights can lend us the vision, which is important to our success. An ERP system can also bring in the additional capability of analysis. We can use the reports and dashboards from millions of the stored data to come up with plans that can help us view the everyday business operations, such as demand and supply, way ahead of time. This capability is indeed important for the manufacturing units.

Organizational Management

One thing that ERP does, and does good, is operational management. We can use the information from ERP systems to help optimize our manufacturing activities. We can use ERP systems to switch people and tasks, based on the knowledge that the systems gather for us. That way, we can manufacture more in less time, with perhaps the best person and tool acquiring the best time slots.

Reduction of Losses

Just as we can forecast demands and supplies or transform data into insights, we can track and optimize our workforce, too, to make sure that we adhere to plans, budgets, and time constraints. This means a lot of time for us to adjust to changes, if any, in plans. But, a greater benefit of implementing ERPs is the reduction of losses. When we ERPs to optimize our manufacturing capabilities, we use our tools, people, and resources in ways that can help us predict, avoid, and, if required, overcome shortages and losses.

ERP systems can help us with some key areas of business operations, such as assuming timeliness in deliveries of orders, improving the quality of our processes and products, optimizing and reducing the product costs in the long run, reducing the downtime of manufacturing units on account of either lack of raw materials or failure due to overloads. But, the biggest benefit is still in reaping a higher sense of certainty in the overall functioning of a manufacturing unit.

The Ad hoc Content Writer

This month has been really exciting for me at the office. That’s because, from the first day, I played only a technical communicator. But in this month, I added some more feathers to my tech-comm cap – Newsletter and Blogs!

I delivered a big project at the start of this month: Administration, installation, and user guides; a CHM help; and a couple of utility documents. And, all that as the only writer for the project. Another project on the professional timeline, so I thought. But, the company had other plans for me. As I waited for other projects to start, my company gave me this opportunity to take part in the first-of-its-kind project, the company newsletter.

We decided it to be on the online platform, and in only about a couple of weeks, came up with the first draft of the newsletter. It must have been our efforts (and some luck) that we got the draft approved WITHOUT A SINGLE CHANGE. The newsletter is now live, but because it’s for only internal circulation, I cannot share the link with you.

My manager knows that I have a blog and that I contribute a fair amount of time to it. So, he assigned me to work with the content-writing team lead, and come up with blog posts for the company’s online presence. The efforts are to be a part of the company’s India marketing campaign. And, I am excited about this new ad hoc role of a content writer. Of course, I am still pitching in with the usual technical-communication efforts, but putting in efforts into the marketing side of things seems more like re-reading some old pages from my past.

In the coming weeks (or days, perhaps) I’ll share some of the blog posts I wrote for the company’s online presence. I hope you will like reading them. For ease of reference, I will hashtag those posts as #AdHocCW. Do let me know how good I do as the ad hoc content writer. One last thought: It has not been difficult for me to play the roles of technical communicator and content writer. I have always thought that technical communicators can excellently double as content writers; just that now I can say that more confidently.