I know that some of these questions my appear self evident, but it is amazing how many clients I encounter that don't know the answer! As I interview personnel inside an organization, the staff will express such frustration about the inaccuracies in available inventory levels. The issue is rarely a software error or flaw, but rather a result of poor or ineffective business processes.
It sounds simple – any inventory package can tell you this. Given that inventory is the typically the single largest asset on company's books, there is no level of attention that can be too much!
Controls and processes that define the movement of inventory are actually more important than the software tools. Do your business process tolerate inventory movement without proper documentation – whether it be transfer, receipt, shipment, or return? If the business process is not monitored and enforced, software will not correct this problem. While physical inventories can correct on-hand balances, this is a costly investment for a situation that can be controlled with most any reputable inventory tool coupled with enforcement by management. Management must ensure that all personnel will adhere to inventory management protocols.
I would add that having warehouse automation tools that assist with pick/pack/ship function will assist in the accuracy of pulling the correct inventory items. With scanners that are let your staff know when they have picked the wrong item or the incorrect quantity, balances on-hand become more accurate.
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