The APPIA GROUP team wishes you happy holidays!

Analyzing inventory control: Everything you need to know

In the fast-paced world of logistics technology, speed and accuracy are increasingly imperative. Against this backdrop, inventory control has become a vital component in optimizing operational efficiency, as it not only controls stock, but is a key part of improving supply chain performance in a highly dynamic and competitive industry. But what exactly does inventory control mean for logistics companies?

What is inventory control?

Inventory control involves the use of very complex and sophisticated tools, but its basic concept is quite simple: It is the process of monitoring and managing the products stored by a company. This encompasses both physical assets (such as servers, hardware, devices) and intangible assets (software licenses, source codes, digital assets), although for logistics companies it focuses primarily on materials and products stored for distribution. Essentially, it involves keeping an accurate record of what is owned, where it is located and how it is being used.

In addition, inventory control manages the flow of products or raw materials from acquisition to the next stage of the production process, sale or final consumption. In summary, the main objective of inventory control is to ensure that a company has the right amount of products available at the right time, avoiding both stock-outs and overstocking.

Why is inventory control important in a logistics company?

As we have mentioned, inventory control goes beyond knowing whether a certain product or material is available in the warehouse. What else does proper inventory management facilitate?

  1. Resource optimization: Efficient inventory control enables companies to optimally allocate resources, minimizing investment in excess inventory while ensuring product availability.
  2. Regulatory compliance: In a regulated environment such as logistics, maintaining accurate inventory records is essential to comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
  3. Process optimization: Efficient inventory control helps optimize internal processes, from receiving and warehousing to shipping and replenishment.
  4. Cost reduction: Effective inventory management can reduce costs associated with warehousing, obsolescence and product loss.
  5. Improved customer service: By maintaining adequate inventory levels, companies can meet customer demands in a timely manner, which improves customer satisfaction and company reputation.
  6. Informed decision making: Maintaining accurate inventory data provides managers with critical information for making strategic decisions related to production, purchasing and marketing.

In addition, warehouse automation systems, such as robotics and automated picking systems, streamline the inventory storage and retrieval process.

Main components of an inventory control system

When defining a good inventory control system, we must take into account a series of components beyond the software that will centralize all the operations:

  1. Inventory management software: This software must be able to manage multiple storage locations, keep track of inventory movements in real time, and generate detailed reports on inventory status.
  2. Barcodes and RFID technology: The use of barcodes and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology allows for quick and accurate identification of products in inventory. This facilitates the tracking of products throughout the supply chain and reduces errors associated with manual data entry.
  3. Labeling system: A clear and consistent labeling system facilitates the identification of stored products. Labels should include information such as product code, description, serial number (if applicable) and storage location.
  4. Standard processes: Standard procedures need to be established for receiving, storing, picking and shipping products, such as defining protocols for order accuracy verification, inventory rotation (e.g. FIFO or LIFO method), and returns management.
  5. Alert and notification systems: These will let us know when inventory levels reach predefined minimum or maximum thresholds, to ensure that inventory replenishments are made in a timely manner.
  6. Integration with warehouse management systems (WMS): This integration facilitates coordination between inventory management and other activities such as goods receiving, picking and order packing.
  7. Data analysis: To assess inventory performance, identify trends and opportunities for improvement, and make informed inventory management decisions. This includes inventory turnover analysis, obsolescence analysis and demand trend analysis.
  8. Staff training: Provide adequate training to inventory management staff to ensure they are familiar with the processes and systems used, as well as inventory management best practices.

What are the main inventory control methods?

  1. FIFO (first in, first out) method: This method assumes that the first products purchased are the first to be sold or used.
  2. LIFO (last in, first out) method: In contrast to FIFO, LIFO assumes that the last products purchased are the first to be sold or used.
  3. Average cost method: This method calculates the average cost of products in inventory and uses it to value sales and ending inventory.
  4. Just in time (JIT): This approach involves receiving and using inventory only when needed to minimize warehousing and associated costs.

For more information on this point, see our article on types of inventory control.

Best practices for effective inventory management

In addition to having well-defined processes and the right tools and technologies in place, there are some best practices that the team should keep in mind:

  1. Maintain accurate records of all inventory movements.
  2. Establish reorder points, such as minimum and maximum inventory thresholds, to reorder products in a timely manner.
  3. Conduct regular audits to verify the accuracy of inventory records.
  4. Implement inventory management technologies and tools to improve efficiency and accuracy.
  5. Staff training: Train staff in inventory management best practices and operating procedures.

Inventory control is a fundamental pillar in the operational strategy of logistics companies. Efficient management not only improves internal efficiency and profitability, but also strengthens the company’s ability to adapt quickly to market demands and provide exceptional service to its customers.

Related posts

Latest news

El sistema Poka Yoke, creado por Shigeo Shingo, busca evitar errores en procesos productivos. Se basa en diseñar procesos y productos que minimicen equivocaciones, y

APPIA GROUP by VGG presents the new version of APPIA.edia on April 10, 2024 at its Barcelona offices. An innovative online platform designed specifically for