by Mateusz Kuczera
Published January 23, 2023
It’s Friday late afternoon and Richard, the dispatcher, is about to send Jake, a plumber, on a last-minute service call. He calls Jake, who immediately answers.
“Hey Rick, what’s up?”
“Jake,” replies Richard dryly, “I have a job for you. It needs to get done as soon as possible. Milkyway has a major leak on 8th floor and it’s flooding all the apartments below. It’s the building on Crescent Street. You need to go now.”
“Biggest client huh,” says Jake. “Alright, I’ll go. Problem’s probably a copper pipe that burst. But I’m all out in the truck. Can you check if we have some at the shop?”
“Damn,” says Richard, “I’m working from home today and everyone else is done for the day. You’re going to have to go…”
“Alright. Let me go close the water there first then I’ll come to the shop.”
After cutting water for over 50 tenants and confirming it’s a burst pipe, Jake arrives at the shop only to realize that there are no parts in inventory. He calls all his suppliers to try and find parts but after getting no answers, notices it’s a few minutes past closing time.
“Shit,” he thinks, arms akimbo, “if only we had known earlier, I could have asked a supplier to stay open a little bit longer.”
He picks up the phone, calls Richard and says right after Richard picks up “Rick, we’ll have to tell the client that tenants will have no water for the weekend…”
“Are you serious!?” exclaims Richard before going silent. A few long seconds later, he finally concedes “Ugh, alright. Let me take care of it…”
Unfortunately, many small companies manage inventory manually. The problems and risks brought by such a method are multiple but can be reduced or completely eliminated with simple digital inventory management solutions.
With real-time visibility on inventory, planning for work becomes much easier. Knowing if a component is available or needs to be ordered can make a significant difference in how service is delivered and ultimately perceived by a customer. Planning for what to order when is an incredible competitive advantage. And while being the most important perk, it is not the only one.
Real-time visibility also allows to better calculate asset turnover, providing valuable data to company finances. Knowing the value of current inventory allows a business to better understand how much asset value is underutilized. It can then plan for a restructuring of inventory, unlocking capital for other more valuable projects.
While an inventory management solution is not necessary to know outflow of materials, it is necessary to know the inflow. It is also necessary to know whether certain components have been in inventory for a long time. It also allows the business to analyze which components are occasional purchases and which are recurring. Recurring orders can the be pre-ordered with specific delivery dates, bringing a level of automation to the business. And as if this wasn’t enough, shortages to customers are minimized, bringing better overall customer experience.
top of that, it makes warehousing significantly easier. With known storage locations, warehouse managers no longer need to know their inventory by heart. With a simple online check, storage location is identified and material is found within a few minutes, making the entire process much more efficient.
Additionally, anyone with access to a computer can order materials. No longer will there be a need to have someone provide part names, then another someone trying to figure out which part number to order, finally leading to mistakes and part returns. With an inventory management solution, recurring orders can be delegated or automated, which in turn makes everything more efficient and effective.
As your business grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to track inventory within your warehouse. It also becomes next to impossible to track it within several warehouses or storage locations. With a digital inventory management solution, growing your business simply means scaling inventory management.
Digital inventory management solutions exist out of the box. Choosing the right one may be challenging but once it is done and implemented, the benefits are major. And while there are costs to the implementation, the investment is well worth it. Once a solution was selected, it necessarily comes with the need to implement. And with anything new in an existing company, careful change management is needed. However, even with a great inventory management solution, one of the most important cogs of operations is communication. This aspect is best represented when comes the time for customer service.