Know how to differentiate between ‘must have items’ and ‘wish list items': Wish list items tend to force initial system implementations outside of budgets and time frames, while adding little additional value to the new inventory management system. The initial phase of any new system implementation should always focus on business critical tasks to support daily operations. After you are beginning to earn your return on investment, then discussions regarding a second phase to incorporate wish list items should be started.
Realistically assess your internal project management and information technology expertise: When working with a software vendor for an inventory management system, it is critical to be up front about the availability of internal resources. Most software vendors can offer the project management and technical expertise needed to help implement their systems through their partners, minimizing the time your internal staff needs to spend on the project to well defined, planned meetings and conference calls. If internal staff are overburdened with project tasks and their regular work load, project timelines tend to slip and project momentum can be lost.
Focus on systems built upon readily available, well supported technology platforms: Unless you already have proprietary systems in place, it makes sense to consider inventory management systems that are based on popular, well known technology platforms. Considerations such as database, operating systems, reporting tools and bar code technologies are critical to long term support and reliability. For example, Oracle & IBM DB2 database administration are much more demanding from an IT support standpoint than Microsoft’s SQL Server family. Client software should be compatible with the latest windows operating systems such as Windows Vista and XP to ensure internal upgrade decisions would not affect the inventory system that is selected. Reports should be developed in a recognized tool such as Business Objects Crystal Report writer. All of the above give you flexibility in the future in terms of support, data reporting and integration paths without having proprietary limitations imposed by the software vendor.
Find a software vendor that has local partnerships and an international client base: Having a local partner to turn to as well as the software vendor themselves offers you multiple paths for support and general questions. A local resource allows you to talk face to face when dealing with new operational concerns and will make addressing those concerns straight forward. A software vendor that has many international as well as government clients shows longevity and stability, allowing you to know you are not only purchasing an inventory management system but building a long term relationship to grow with as your business needs change.
Can a traditional Inventory Management System be used for Asset Management? Yes it can. With few minor adjustments our CoreIMS™ Inventory Software can be utilized as an Asset Management System for companies of any size. By using CoreIMS™ Asset Tracking, a company can track any hard assets such as computers (including its parts, software, etc.), furniture, required maintenance and updates; as well as locations of all items, building addresses and, of course, employees’ to whom assets are issued to.
- CoreIMS™ Asset Management allows separation of all assets by departments, create replenishment schedule for perishable items, and transfer items between employees, departments and locations.
- CoreIMS™ Asset Management allows tracking of items shipped for warranty repairs and returns.
- CoreIMS™ Asset Management tracks all assets for accountability and transparency without additional headaches and it will also produce necessary paperwork for all transactions.
- CoreIMS™ Asset Management will seamlessly transfer all the information to the accounting software for review and corrections.
Bottom line, if your goals are to stop wasting time and losing money, and to track your assets/inventory then you need to invest in good reputable software. CoreIMS™ Asset Management will help you achieve these goals.
Warehouse solutions are NOT one-size-fits-all. We know first-hand that every warehouse is unique. With decades of developing and implementing inventory solutions around the world, however, we have identified some fairly universal truths. This is the third installment of our blog series designed to share these common but critical steps towards accurate and efficient inventory management. If you missed Inventory Solutions Part 1: Barcoding Your Warehouse or Inventory Solutions Part 2: Cycle Counting & Barcoding Your Inventory be sure to go back and read these first. The reality is that each of these solutions are most effective, and really only effective, if utilized together.
- Identifying Roles & Responsibilities for Warehouse Personnel
Identifying roles and responsibilities for warehouse personnel is a very important aspect of the whole operation. For a smaller warehouse it is more likely you will have people doing more specific roles such as
-People assigned to the specific equipment (like forklifts, forklifts of different sizes,etc.)
-Quality Assurance (QA) people
Bottom line, you have to define your people’s specific responsibilities. By doing so, it establishes who assigns tasks, who approves transactions, who decides when to do a cycle count, and how to organize the work process. You should already know the system for these processes in place, so defining the approrpiate person to execute the process will set the balls in motion.
- Establish Proper Procedures for Receiving, Moving and Shipping Items
You most likely already have these procedures in place but they should be revisited and clearly documented to reflect and work in harmony with the new warehouse organization, barcoding system, and personnel roles.
This concludes our 3 part Inventory Solutions Blog Series. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to us anytime. Our team of experienced warehouse organization and inventory tracking experts are here to help you find and implement the best warehouse solution for your organization! You can also download our free eBook “Organizing Your Warehouse.” Best of luck!
We began this blog series to share some of the most universal and applicable inventory solutions we have experienced over decades of developing and implementing warehouse inventory solutions around the globe. If you missed Inventory Solutions Part 1: Barcoding Your Warehouse be sure to go back and read that as well as each of these solutions are most effective when implemented together.
2. Barcoding Your Inventory
Once you have properly marked and barcoded your warehouse you must begin barcoding your items and entering the barcodes in a system. As you likely already know, buying barcode equipment is a serious investment. It is much less then RFID, but still you still have to buy scanners, printers, and access points. Then you must install and configure all this equipment. Before buying stop and consider what you are really trying to achieve. The main goal of purchasing and installing barcoding equipment is usually improved speed and/or accuracy. If this is your goal, you will only achieve these results with a full, organization-wide implementation. If you are considering barcoding only part of the warehouse or part of the items in an attempt to save on cost we highly discourage that. It will ultimately amount to a waste of time and money. On the other hand, if you do not need to improve your speed or accuracy, you probably do not need to make this investment yet.
3. Cycle Counting Your Inventory
Simultaneous with barcoding your inventory, you will also need to start cycle counting your inventory. Cycle counting is industry jargon for recording all inventory items in all locations. There are multiple ways to accomplish this.
The most common way is to “freeze” a range of locations for shipping or receiving, and count everything there. Next, you reconcile your results with recorded inventory. This can be done in two ways:
- A “blind count” where you do not know how many items you will count
- A “non-blind count” where you know how many items should be there.
There are pro and cons for both of these methods, but the general idea is you have to do either one on a regular basis. That should become a part of your regular procedures for your warehouse.
The first time you do this will likely be challenging and time consuming, but once you have implemented proper software and barcode scanners this can be done much faster.
Stay tuned for Inventory Solutions Part 3: Cycle Counting & Barcoding Your Inventory. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out to us anytime, or download our free eBook “Organizing Your Warehouse”.
Inventory Solutions Part 1: Barcoding Your Warehouse
Decades of developing and implementing warehouse inventory solutions around the globe have given the CoreIMS team some very valuable insights into the industry. Where this is a very monumental and long-term warehouse solution for your organization, we are constantly involved with every stage of this process. This gives us the unique ability to pull from numerous past experiences and “case studies”, if you will, to provide the BEST warehouse solution possible for your situation. That said, let’s start at the beginning.
Typically, when company management starts looking for inventory software it is because they need it to fix an immediate problem. This problem manifests itself in different ways. Here are a few common examples:
- You realize your warehouse count does not match your actual inventory
- Your bank tells you to buy inventory management system, because they must have a reliable information about your inventory for a line of credit
- Your cash flow restrictions are making it impossible to know what to order and when to satisfy your clients
Bottom line: You need to know your inventory in real time.
Unfortunately, in most cases, these are only the tip of the iceberg marking the beginning of your journey to the world of real time inventory tracking. Experience has shown that there is almost always a larger, underlying problem causing these symptoms. It boils down to the reality that your current business processes do not fit your current business requirements.
If what you have read so far sounds familiar, it means that your warehouse needs a complete makeover. This blog post will be the first in a series designed to highlight the most common solutions required to correctly resolve inventory tracking problems.
1. Properly Marking & Barcoding Your Warehouse
Properly marking and barcoding locations, isles, pallet locations, etc. is essential. If your warehouse has not been properly marked and barcoded you will never be able to find your items. You must create a simple and easy system for your isles, locations, pallet locations, etc. Give each location a clear, unique name. (That might sound like it goes without saying, but we’ve seen some very interesting stuff over the years!) Avoid location names like “near the fourth column” because the next guy on the job may mark the same space as “between fourth and fifth column” and it will be a problem to reconcile. Rather, develop a naming system that can be expanded to fit the entire warehouse with room for future growth.
When developing your system, you want to place your inventory in your warehouse in the most efficient way for fulfilling your orders. The simplest way, shown above, is ABC Classification. It involves putting faster moving items closer to the door (class A), slower moving a bit further (class B), etc. in order to minimize traveling time. This seems like a very simple task, but one must remember that you are figuring out what the fastest moving items are based on your impression that actually could be wrong.
Once your system is devised, all location names should be clearly marked on the floor or at the location preferably with barcodes.
Stay tuned for Inventory Solutions Part 2: Cycle County & Barcoding Your Inventory. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out to us anytime, or download our free eBook “Organizing Your Warehouse”.
Regardless of the size of your warehouse, selecting the best warehouse software for your warehouse is a huge decision. Factors such as the importance of real-time visibility, integration with existing accounting software, and transition time after purchasing your warehouse management software are all critical elements to be considered. With over 15 year of experience in logistics, warehouse management and warehouse software development, the CEO of CorePartners, Peter Oykhman, offers a few tips to assist with this process
Helpful Hints for Purchasing The Best Warehouse Software For Your Organization
- Appoint a project manager. Person who will be responsible for the process of organizing your warehouse and choosing and implementing your warehouse system. This manager could be internal or external, but he/she has to have a good project management experience.
- Don’t assign responsibilities without also assigning rights to make decisions. It is pointless to give project managers responsibilities without also giving him/her rights to make certain decisions about the project. Of course bigger decisions still have to be made by shareholders or owners.
- Timeframe. Define a time frame for the project – from purchasing to implementing the new warehouse software in your warehouse.
- Define your criteria. If you want to choose the right warehouse software, you need to define criteria and selection process prior to beginning.
- Try before buying. Ask for a 30-day trial from the warehouse software vendor. Try the software. See if you like it. It is much harder with hardware vendor, but it is possible.
- Do not try to save money on warehouse software implementation or training. This is a very bad idea to buy software without full understanding of how to use it.
To continue reading tips for selecting the best warehouse software and more, please download our free eBook “Organizing Your Warehouse”. You’ll be glad you did! You can also contact us with any questions or for a consultation. Call (301) 695-2673 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.-
An olive importer ships product from Europe and distributes it in America from several regional warehouses. The business was growing rapidly and the company was looking for a way to have visibility in real time across all of the regional warehouses. Management was looking for a way to generate useful reports to improve operational efficiency.
Install CoreIMS to manage the business across all facilities and develop custom reports using Crystal Report Writer.
The company now benefits from the availability of real-time inventory visibility. They can track lot numbers, record damaged goods, assign goods for shipment and generate on-demand reports.
A large distributor of software products was searching for a way to implement serial number tracking and reduce the time required to process shipping orders. Most shipping orders require kitting to configure the product correctly for the customer..
Install CoreIMS and CoreIMS Internet Front End. Product codes were stored in CoreIMS as Kits, with a simple bill of materials for each kit, to handle shipping order configuration. Product serial numbers were entered as each shipping order was configured.
By assigning User IDs to Customers and allowing them to enter Shipping Orders online via CoreIMS’s Internet Front End, order entry was streamlined and workload on the company’s sales order staff was reduced. Inventory stocking levers were reduced by building the kits to order from components rather than storing prepackaged kits.
Same Proven Inventory Management Software – New Packaging!
Big news: CoreIMS has a new look! While we are always updating and improving our software to be the most integrated, effective and intuitive inventory management software on the market, it’s been some time since we refreshed our packaging…until now! Unveiling the new CoreIMS Inventory Management Software Packaging!
So, what do you think??? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page!
CorePartners is very proud of our relationship with the US Government, especially using CoreIMS™ Inventory Management System to support our troops overseas. Our relationship started about 10 years ago with the DoD and now encompasses many military, federal, state and local agencies including ANA and NATO command in Afghanistan.
A special version of CoreIMS called CoreIMS™ GE was designed to address Government agencies need for full warehouse functionality. CoreIMS™ GE addresses a comprehensive set of warehouse / inventory management needs from stock initialization through issue processing across multiple warehouses. Government (rather than Commercial) terminology is used across the various functional sections as well as required DoD Forms (2062, 3161, 3645-1, & 1149) are included for issuing operations.
CorePartners team is constantly working on improving our products and services for our Government Edition. CoreIMS™ GE has full range of features and capabilities required by U.S. government agencies. Our solution provides very flexible way to manage a warehouse of any size and complexity. With new version 4 coming up and new stand alone options CoreIMS™ provides even more versatile and complete inventory system.
CoreIMS™ Inventory Management Software can be found on GSA Advantage Schedule.