Associates

Business and Technology Consulting

Inventory Management: Do You Have One of These?

In a current project, a parts-supplier asked me to help them with an inventory management problem. I asked if the end-customer was ever surprised when they received the shipment and found that they didn't receive what they had ordered. Their response was "No, they're surprised when the do receive what they ordered."

A quantitative analysis and site inspection revealed deficiencies in replenishment techniques, picking strategies, and physical counting. The most significant contributor to order error turned out to be a confusing, poorly organized catalog. The end-customer could not correctly identify parts from the catalog. 

What the end-customer really needed was the friendly type of counter service you get at a hardware store.  The customer can walk in and ask "Do you have one of these?" The challenge is to grow the distribution model, control costs, and provide this level of hometown service

In this project, we're using technology to provide the hometown service model without having to maintain a physical presence. In the next issue, we'll discuss one of the key elements to the solution: replacement sample tracking.


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