Supply chain leaders and managers have a mountain of responsibilities and oversee vast enterprises. Timeliness, speed, and order accuracy are some of the most in-demand aspects of today’s omnichannel world, but significant challenges still exist with inventory visibility. Failure to overcome these challenges will lead to additional problems throughout the supply chain, resulting in poor customer service, says Dave Blanchard of Industry Week. Supply chain leaders need to understand the leading challenges in inventory visibility, and how to solve them.
One problem that plagues inventory visibility is inadequate inventory accuracy. Poor inventory accuracy arises when supply chain leaders do not understand their current networks, including customer expectations and wants. However, the proper use of modern technologies and data-driven processes will increase improve accuracy. Automation within inventory visibility reduces costs in maintaining visibility, and offers the opportunity to improve accuracy throughout your entire supply chain.
Both an inefficient warehouse layout and a lack of inventory oversight are drivers for issues within supply chain and inventory management. An inadequate and poorly planned warehouse layout will lead to increased times in picking orders and cause unnecessary delays. Simply rearranging your warehouse to suit the best and most efficient worker routes will help avoid this issue.
Poor space utilization lowers the efficiency of your warehouse and leads to higher inventory carrying costs. Since managers make decisions from reports generated from the use of a warehouse management system (WMS) and trust that those reports are accurate, improper space utilization will create opportunities for error. An overlooked slot or bin will lead to inaccuracies in the inventory count, and such problems may materialize in the form of reordering product too soon, failure to fill orders placed, and more.
Repetitive processes are typically beneficial within the supply chain, but when these processes rely on outdated practices (such as manual inventory counting), such redundant processes may contribute to decreased inventory accuracy. Fortunately, this can be mitigated through the use of barcodes and automated cycle counts.
Finally, failing to optimize picking processes will increase the risk of inaccurate orders, and upset customers says Industrial Distribution. Optimizing picking processes with waveless picking strategies, voice-enabled technology, and handheld scanners will reduce such risks and offer an opportunity to maintain a continuous cycle count.
Many challenges will still arise in the course of supply chain management, and reduced inventory visibility will always result in higher costs. Instead of risking your supply chain and the happiness of your customers, supply chain leaders must implement the resources and technologies needed to increase automation and reduce risk. Choose a successful partner to overcome the challenges in inventory visibility through a robust set of digital, data-driven processes.
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