By Brendan Dowd – DMS
½ hour on the phone with NSW salesman who can’t understand how you let his biggest customer’s production line stop because of a late delivery.
½ hour discussion with Financial Controller about why stocks increased by $500,000 last month. He also brings up the record domestic freight charges for stock transfers between branches and how far past budget we are.
½ hour talking with the QLD plant manager who is complaining that his production efficiency is horrible this month because of all the “emergency” order changes your department is sending through.
Guess what? It is 12:00 pm – Have you done anything proactive with your morning??
This is a common dilemma for most inventory managers. However, you must do whatever it takes (Lock the door and unplug the phone if necessary) to break the cycle and spend at least one day a week being proactive. Unless you can commit to this practice you will be doomed to months or years of chaos like the morning you just had.
I wouldn’t want a blindfolded pilot flying my plane! It is scary how many inventory managers don’t have a reliable future inventory projection at their fingertips. Without this forward visibility it is no surprise stock levels never end up close to target. Inventory managers must keep a firm grasp on the key numbers to successfully manage their business. Most importantly make sure members of your staff are aware of how their portfolio’s are achieving compared to target and challenge them to correct things when they are heading off track.
Fortunately the tools of the trade are making it easier to tackle some of these challenging issues. Demand Solutions™ offers the following functionality to allow you to keep your eye on the “big picture” and make sure that there are never any more inventory “surprises”.
In just a few minutes you can have in front of your eyes a projection of your inventory over the next 72 weeks. You can break this down by marketing group, vendor, or inventory planner. And guess what…if it doesn’t meet your targets it only takes 5-10 minutes to perform “what-if” scenarios with the safety/order strategies until you hit the optimal levels. Isn’t this more fun than putting out fires??
If you have a formal Sales and Operations Planning process at your company then good for you. If not, why not print out a few Demand Solutions™ aggregate screens showing 3 years history and 12 months forecast by account or product group. Pay a visit to some of your friends in sales or marketing and challenge them on the numbers… if the forecast is not right guess who ends up under or over-stocked??
All sounds great Brendan, but the fires still need to be put out.
Make sure your inventory planners are taking advantage of the following functionality to get the most out of what DS RP has to offer.
These are user defined and take seconds to change. Are your planners reviewing projected out of stocks every Monday morning first thing? Why not? By selecting the “Minus PEI” action message they could complete this task in a very short time, take the necessary action, and eliminate known problems BEFORE they occur.
In DS RP you can now access your database by range, similar to in DS FM. Make sure every planner has a range for their ‘A’ class items and reviews it daily or weekly as appropriate. There is no good excuse to have too much or little of these items.
Need to ramp up inventory for a plant shutdown or unpredictable demand period? Let DS RP do the work for you by setting “variable safety time” globally by vendor or product range. Variable safety time will override your default safety settings and can be used to gradually build up or reduce inventory for special events.
Have you been burned before by product transitions and ended up with overstock in the old and the new item? DS RP takes the guesswork out by allowing you to set up a simple table listing the “old item” and the “new item”. Voila – now when you look at the new item the numbers on screen and planning calculations will also incorporate the forecasts, customer orders, onhand, and receipts from the old item. No more workarounds!
Adopting a proactive approach to inventory planning will result in a better work environment for you and your staff …not to mention greater profits for the company. Demand Solutions™ gives you the tools required to achieve success – lets put them to work!