5 Tips to Optimise Inventory Management for Supply Chain Success (With Examples)

5 Tips to Optimize Inventory Management for Supply Chain Success

Inventory management is a crucial but often under resourced aspect of supply chain management. Optimising inventory levels ensures that the right products are available at the right time, in the right location, in the right condition, in the right packaging and in the most cost-effective manner. Effective inventory management can help reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and increase profitability.  So where do you start when seeking to improve your inventory performance?

Here are some tips for optimising inventory management:

1. Forecast demand accurately: Accurate demand forecasting is essential for effective inventory management. By forecasting demand accurately, you can ensure that you have the right amount of inventory to meet customer demand without overstocking. The nature of demand forecasting will vary depending on your particular industry. For instance in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) this will be a combination of usage history, sales forecasts and marketing plans. In mining this will be about parts support to maintenance of fixed and mobile plant and so will depend on maintenance strategies and assessment of critical items, operating stock and insurance stock. In manufacturing, production plans will dictate requirements.   Collaboration with your customer is a great multiplier.

2. Use technology: Technology can help you optimise inventory management by providing real-time data on inventory levels, sales trends, and customer demand. This data can be used to make informed decisions about inventory levels and ordering. Focus on clean master data and speed and accuracy of data capture and usage.

3. Implement an inventory management system: An inventory management system can help you track inventory levels, monitor sales trends, and automate ordering processes. This can help reduce the risk of stockouts and overstocking. Selection of the right system for your business should focus first on an accurate statement of requirements followed by selection of the right solution based on those requirements and not on a glossy brochure or slick sales presentation.

4. Optimise order quantities: Optimising order quantities can help you reduce costs associated with ordering and holding inventory. By ordering in larger quantities, businesses can take advantage of volume discounts and reduce shipping costs. However, temper this against the capital cost of carrying inventory. Ensure economic order quantity balances inventory holding and order processing costs.

5. Monitor supplier performance: Monitoring supplier performance is essential for effective inventory management. By monitoring supplier performance, businesses can ensure that they receive orders on time and in full. This should be a part of your organisation’s strategic procurement processes so collaborate with Procurement.

By implementing these tips, you can optimise your inventory management processes and improve your business’s bottom line.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Mailto: s.macpherson@scsa.com.au

Steve is a highly credentialled supply chain professional with success in executive, general, supply chain and logistics management, military logistics and in professional development. He has excelled as a consultant for 17 years and has contributed to the industry as a lecturer up to Masters Level, advisor on logistics and supply chain course content and as a former Chairman and President of the SCLAA.