As an importer or wholesaler, the quality of your customer service is almost directly linked to your ability to effectively manage your distribution and inventory system.
As a result, you’ll often face many questions regarding these processes, especially when they involve dealing with large, diverse shipments of complex inventory. Whether it’s determining the contents of a shipment, establishing the arrival time, confirming the pricing, tracking the shipment, or identifying the recipient – all these questions need to be answered and managed efficiently.
As you will have experienced, being able to answer these questions realistically and in line with expectations is key to delivering on your customer service promises.
However, what we are increasingly seeing in the market is that the disparity between what customers expect and what businesses can actually deliver is growing. As many consumer businesses set lofty fulfilment goals in order to differentiate in an increasingly crowded market place, these customer expectations are being translated into the business buying landscape as well.
Some of the larger businesses are already on to it. Leveraging their vast resources to implement systems that will streamline their inventory and distribution management system enabling them to better meet their customers’ expectations.
But what about the SMEs?
Unfortunately, what we’ve already seen happen in the marketplace is that businesses like yours are starting to be left behind by their competitors – and worse, by their customers.
But this doesn’t have to be the case for you. Here’s how you can upgrade your inventory and distribution management system to help you meet your customer expectations more often and more efficiently, without needing to invest millions (not even close).
The need for the right inventory management software
The answer lies in leveraging the right technology to help you manage your inventory more effectively and more efficiently, enabling you to deliver against customer expectations.
Specifically, the right inventory management software will help you:
- Classify and categorise your inventory, in a way that is specific to your industry;
- Track any item of inventory based on its main number, the suppliers number, its barcode number, category or its description;
- Enable the storage of inventory across multiple warehouses, as needed;
- Apply various costing strategies to reflect your accounting requirements;
- Easily report on safety stock levels, items overstocked or those that need to be replenished based on sales averages and lead times.
As a result, you can expect to maximise your inventory management efficiencies – from a customer service point of view, but also from a stock handling point of view (minimising the cost implications of overvalued stock, etc.).
Leverage a Just in Time (JIT) approach to inventory management
JIT is an inventory management strategy many companies employ to increase efficiency and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they are needed, thereby reducing inventory holding costs. This method requires that wholesalers are able to accurately forecast demand. If you are able to apply this strategy to your business, you will not only reduce inventory holding costs, but also avoid storing overvalued is due to fluctuations in the Australian dollar.
In order to execute this effectively, you will need the right software that enables you and all your employees to have easily and real time access to the state of your inventory.
And you need the right inventory management software to help you achieve that.
To help businesses like you bridge the gap between customer expectations and what you can deliver, we’re constantly developing Micronet Distribution System to meet the requirements of your changing customer base.
Micronet Distribution System
The Micronet Distribution System integrates all aspects of your supply chain and inventory management, from the time an order is placed until it is delivered to your customers. This functionality allows you to:
- Determine the contents of the shipment;
- Identify the arrival time;
- Know the previous price by customer and customer buying trend, enabling you to set prices;
- Link the order to the shipment, providing visibility across the progress of the shipment / order; and
- Eliminate the middleman – you can tap into the knowledge of experienced Micronet staff directly as opposed to dealing with a reseller.
I hope these recommendations help you when you work towards streamlining your distribution and inventory management system. If you are dealing with any of the issues I’ve written about above and would like to discuss, please call us on 02 9542 2000.
Robert Butler is the General Manager of Micronet Systems, and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, complex inventory and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology.