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Are you finding yourself in the dark about where your supply chain stands? Are boxes of inventory disappearing with no trace, and are material costs spiraling out of control? Don’t worry — it’s time to bring out the secret weapon: inventory.
Tracking, managing and controlling your stock can be the key to unlocking supply chain visibility. In the logistics and supply chain management industry, achieving supply chain visibility is a top priority. It involves tracking inventory, managing warehouses, and coordinating transportation to ensure products get to their destinations on time.
But how do you achieve supply chain visibility? What are the best practices, strategies and technologies to use? In this blog post, we will discuss some tips and insights.
Inventory visibility is the backbone of effective supply chain management. It's the ability to track and monitor inventory levels, locations and movements in real time, and it's essential for brands looking to optimize their inventory levels, reduce stockouts and improve their order fulfillment processes.
Think of it this way: inventory visibility is like a map that guides you through your supply chain journey. Without it, you're driving blind, guessing where you're going and hoping for the best. But with inventory visibility, you have a clear picture of where your inventory is at any given time, allowing you to make informed decisions about how to move it, when to reorder, and where to focus your efforts.
And the benefits of inventory visibility go far beyond knowing where your inventory is. With complete visibility into your inventory, you can proactively identify potential disruptions in your supply chain and take corrective actions before they impact your operations. This level of proactive management reduces the risk of stockouts and ensures that you meet your customers' expectations. Additionally, inventory visibility provides valuable insights into customer demand patterns, enabling you to optimize your production schedules and reduce inventory holding costs.
So, if you want to stay competitive in today's fast-paced business environment, you must ensure complete visibility into your inventory. It's the foundation of effective supply chain management and the key to unlocking the benefits of a well-run supply chain.
Improving your inventory visibility can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line. With real-time updates on inventory levels, locations and movements, you can reduce the cost of carrying inventory and improve your order fulfillment processes.
And by proactively managing potential disruptions in your supply chain, such as supplier delays or transportation issues, you can minimize the risk of stockouts and ensure that you meet your customers' expectations. Plus, you can optimize your production schedules and reduce inventory holding costs by having a clear picture of customer demand patterns.
Achieving real-time inventory visibility requires a combination of process improvements and technology. By implementing an inventory management system and using RFID technology to track the movement of inventory throughout your supply chain, you can get real-time visibility into the location of your inventory.
Additionally, by analyzing inventory data with machine learning and artificial intelligence, you can identify inefficiencies in your supply chain and take corrective actions to improve performance.
Technology plays a crucial role in achieving end-to-end inventory visibility. Analyzing inventory data unlocks valuable insights into demand patterns, lead times and other key performance indicators. These insights can help you optimize your inventory levels, improve your order fulfillment processes and reduce the cost of carrying inventory.
And with real-time updates on inventory levels, locations, and movements, you can proactively manage potential disruptions in your supply chain and ensure that you meet your customers' expectations.
The first step towards achieving supply chain visibility is to establish a process for tracking inventory. This can be as simple as creating a shared spreadsheet that lists incoming and outgoing inventory, giving you an overall picture of what inventory you have. A simple system is an improvement over not having any tracking system at all. This spreadsheet can be updated manually or automatically, depending on your needs.
Another way to track inventory is through third-party logistics providers (3PLs). Most 3PLs offer regular Excel reports or a customer portal that shows inventory nightly or weekly. This can be a great way to get visibility into your inventory without having to create your own tracking system.
Moving on to technology solutions, inventory management software can help you achieve supply chain visibility. This software can integrate with your existing systems and provide a single dashboard where you can see all your inventory in one place. This is especially helpful if you have multiple warehouses or distribution centers.
Another technology solution is a supply chain control tower. This is a reporting layer that sits on top of all your different systems and can pull in data from all parts of your supply chain. With a supply chain control tower, you can get real-time visibility into your inventory, transportation and other key metrics.
One direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce retailer recently realized the benefits of unlocking its inventory visibility. The $350M retailer was challenged with scaling its supply chain operations to keep up with their 300% year-over-year growth. So, they turned to PorterLogic to unify inventory data across their value chain — to stop manually managing inventory data in Excel files.
Previously, the supply chain team had to manually pull inventory data from their network of third-party logistics (3PLs), shippers and suppliers. But with PorterLogic’s inventory management system, they now have a unified view of their complete inventory position. PorterLogic’s IMS automatically pulls data from internal and external sources, including on-hand, on-order and in-transit inventory, into a single place.
One of the greatest inventory challenges the retailer faced was one of its competitive differentiators. The retailer’s unique processes, including kitting, made calculating an accurate view of their inventory levels difficult. PorterLogic’s visual UI builder displays multiple views of their inventory to effectively manage their inventory, including a network-wide view, a warehouse-level view and a component-level view. One UI is a scenario forecasting tool that allows the company to analyze different inventory positions to maximize the number of kits they can build.
The implementation of PorterLogic's inventory management system resulted in several benefits for the retailer. The company completely automated multiple inventory management processes, resulting in 3,200 hours saved annually. The system provided a 162% ROI, with a 5-month breakeven and $131k/year in direct savings. Additionally, the system helped the retailer optimize for low-inventory thresholds, items on backorder, warehouse capacity, and significant inventory level fluctuations. With PorterLogic’s IMS in place, they were able to achieve greater visibility into their inventory and streamline their operations.
Keeping a keen eye on your inventory is crucial for ensuring you never miss an opportunity. By combining best practices, strategies and tech, such as tracking processes & 3PLs coupled with inventory management software plus supply chain control towers — you can gain unprecedented insights into your operations! The payoff? Lower costs, seamless efficiency and higher customer satisfaction.