Inventory Control Systems
In today’s global marketplace, where large shipments containing multiple items are transported large distances, it’s essential that warehousing services deploy a practical inventory control system.
Goods received into the warehouse should be booked in and inspected just as thoroughly as goods packed, stored, and shipped out. This is where an inventory control system proves useful.
An inventory control system should be one integrated system that is continually adaptive to your business and handles all stages of your supply chain. It usually performs most or all of the following:
- Keeps count of inventory and categorizes it using barcode or SKU technology by weight, value or quantity, issuing real-time inventory cost and stock valuation reports;
- Issues orders to replenish minimum inventory levels and minimize excess stock levels, while factoring in stock on hand and stock on order levels;
- Processes orders efficiently across multiple locations; determining and sequencing the most efficient pick and pack operations for each warehouse, reducing costs further;
- Creates work orders and bills of materials, streamlining the manufacturing process by issuing instructions for assembling specific parts and tools at more cost-efficient locations and times. Bundling components for a specific assembly is known as kitting;
- Reports stock cover, the time left before a particular product becomes out of stock;
- Tracks inventory in transit, whether by road, rail, ship or plane;
- Offers on-time delivery metrics and shipping costs;
- Calculates lead demand, i.e., the expected number of units that will be sold in a specified period;
- Records product sales; and
- Reports product obsolescence and spoilage.
No business which ships products globally is alike, and all require a turn-key approach to freight forwarding, yours included. Many larger warehousing services double as freight forwarders because international trade is so lucrative for their clients. Typically, their warehouses will have the facility to load and unload shipping containers easily. Check before outsourcing a warehousing service the size, layout and proximity of their warehouses.
Freight forwarding involves much lengthy shipping and export administration, including air waybills, freight charge negotiations, cargo insurance, customs documentation, etc. You should outsource this function, especially if you have little or no experience with the administrative requirements associated with exporting.
Freight consolidation is equally as important with international exports because the journey will likely involve some conveyance by sea or air. These intermodal operations require planning and access to a large network of carriers, another reason why outsourcing freight forwarding operations will benefit your business.