I’d like to tell you a personal experience from my own life and how it gives insights about inventory management. It became to me one of the ERP examples that demonstrate how inventory management affects the success of a project..
About 10 years ago, our family purchased some mountain property with the intent of building a cabin on it. Other things in life got in the way, and it wasn’t until this year that things really got moving, framers framing, concrete guys concreting, and me procuring all the materials, scheduling the subs and keeping everything timed so that everyone could do their job.
Though it wasn’t a “warehouse fulfillment center”, it was the location of a lot of different items that needed to arrive at the right time, so they could be used by the craftsmen that are working on building the cabin.
There were requirements for different size and length of lumber, joists, joist hangers, sheeting, septic tank, pipe, glue and fittings, nails and screws, specialty bolts and brackets . . . the list goes on and on. Then there was the process of making sure the right equipment was on the site at the right time. Backhoes, forklifts, truss extensions, concrete trucks, pumpers, skid loaders, etc. All these things had to be coordinated at the right time, in the right amount, of the right thing. If a bunch of wood was delivered early, then the concrete pump truck couldn’t setup where it needed to, but if the wood was too late, you had 8 framers sitting around doing nothing. I have now learned firsthand the value of a good General Contractor to coordinate all these things. However, on this project, I decided it would be “fun” to be my own general contractor on my own project. It was definitely a learning experience.
Many mistakes happened. I ended up with twice the LVL lumber that I needed, a major glulam beam wasn’t on site the day it was needed, and schedules needed to be shuffled quite a bit. Sometimes rain got in the way and all the timing needed to be reworked, not to mention that the engineered lumber need to be protected.
I rehearse these events to you because I learned, again, that coordinating a large project by hand is very prone to mistakes!
Managing a B2B or B2C distribution company is very similar. Stock levels need to be monitored, sales projected, and product orders need to be placed in advance so that they arrive when you need them. Placement of product and coordination of Pick, Pack, Ship all need to be managed in order to have a successful and profitable distribution business. Doing all this on paper, spreadsheets or QuickBooks is very much like my process of managing the cabin build myself by hand. I’ve just given you one of the best ERP examples of how important it is to have automated inventory management.
Inventory Management Software, or ERP systems help pull all the moving parts together so that you’re not guessing or hoping, forgetting or misplacing. It can get the job done, on time and under budget.
Because Zangerine was made specifically for distribution businesses, it’s like having a quality general contractor handle all the coordination, purchasing, timing, and scheduling for you.
By Jim Pack, CEO of Zangerine