Life as in Inventory Control Manager isn’t easy. No one ever appreciates what you do. They barely even notice you, until there’s a problem, THEN everyone knows you. Yep, we’ve been there. It’s not an easy life, but there are some ways that you can make your inventory control job quite a bit easier.
Here are three things you can do to make your work life a whole lot easier.
Heed the word of the old saying, “You get what you inspect, not what you expect.”
There’s a lot of truth in some of the maxims of the past.
Do you regularly inspect inventory at your 3rd party warehouse? When you’re on the ground and hands on with your inventory you can cut off problems before they explode into catastrophes.
We both know that problems are going to happen in inventory control management. They are inevitable. But the single factor that can make you a rockstar inventory control manager is how well you resolve problems. The best way is to nip them in the bud, before they spin out of control. Once that happens, they’re on everyone’s radar and then you’re not the rockstar, you’re the donkey that everyone’s pinning the blame on.
Does your 3rd party warehouse know what you are inspecting? If your warehouse is aware of what your priorities are AND they know that you’re going to be checking up you can take it to the bank that your priorities will have a much better chance of becoming a priority for your warehouse vendor.
Have you established a clear set of KPIs and metrics by which your warehouse is being measured? And equally as important, have you shared those KPIs with your warehouse vendor?
In order to evaluate any vendor you need a set of very specific and clear goals and Key Performance Indicators that you and your vendor are aware of. They help everyone understand your expectations and give your warehouse vendor the chance to focus on what YOUR goals are. Clear communication of expectations is fair for everyone. You don’t want to go back to a vendor with a complaint and have them reply “You never told us that’s what you wanted.”
Setting and communicating goals and KPIs increases the likelihood that they’ll be met by an enormous degree. Review them regularly and your success will multiply.
Communication. As we just said, it’s important to keep the channels of communication WIDE open. When there is an open flow of information between you and the warehouse, you eliminate the likelihood of ugly surprises.
Scorecards are a really awesome tool for any Inventory Control Manager. They are a standard in today’s technology-driven era of 3rd party warehousing. They may be one of the most important tools that you have to help meet your goals.
Yes, conference calls are a pain and yes we have too many of them. But a regularly scheduled, same day and time each month, call to review KPIs and scorecards will go a long way in establishing regular communication and expectations with your 3rd party warehouse provider.
But do you communicate above and beyond the monthly scorecard? Reach out to the individual members of the warehouse team. Build a personal relationship with them. PICK UP THE PHONE. These days everyone emails and text messages. So much nuance is lost in that form of communication.
Picking up the phone, even to just chat for a minute or two can help you firm up a relationship with your warehouse people. Then when you really need them to go the extra mile, they’re much more likely to help you out.
Cycle counting inventory. Everyone dreads the annual physical inventory.
Counting is usually required by the accounting department and its team of auditors & despised by everybody else.
Can you get away from an annual physical inventory and instead “cycle count” through your inventory with weekly cycle counts and or counting all inventory once a quarter?
Sure the warehouse would prefer this. It’s a huge nuisance for them to shut down operations for 24-48 hours for a physical inventory.
By utilizing a cycle count program the warehouse will find mistakes quickly and more frequently. This strategy also benefits you because again you are able to identify problems and mistakes earlier and therefore it’s easier to correct them.
There’s really no benefit to finding that you’re missing inventory at the end of the year when you needed it 6 months earlier.
Try implementing these three strategies and you’ll make your life as an Inventory Control Manager much easier!