Whether you are a supplier of materials to trade, a house builder, an online retailer or a key partner to a major public infrastructure project such as Hinkley Point nuclear project or HS2, stock availability is key.
Having materials available at the right time, in the right place is critical to time and budget planning for any project. So how do businesses provide 5 star customer service to their clients with minimum effort ensuring stock is available when needed? We look at 3 common stock availability issues for businesses trying to plan projects.
3 common causes of stock availability problems
If stock isn’t available when it is needed, it can have a serious impact on the profitability and timescales of any project. Common causes include:
Not ordered on time
All suppliers work with a lead time whether that is 24 hours or 6 months+. Understanding those lead times and planning accordingly is key to successful projects. Getting it wrong can cost £1000’s in lost time, wasted resources and potentially huge fines in some industries!
If a team of builders is waiting on site for materials that never show, you can be sure the person responsible is going to have a very bad day!
Having materials or stock available at the right time, in the right place is critical
SOLUTION – Having a central database with information about materials needed for a project along with the lead time for each item Vs when it is needed, is best practice. Managing it alone can be hard work!
Having this information stored locally on a server or on someone’s laptop is dangerous. Microsoft Excel is a great tool but data can be easily overridden or lost. If the information can’t be viewed by the people that need it most, customers and suppliers, you are missing an opportunity.
Businesses should hold this information centrally within a cloud warehouse management system and make key bits of information available to both customers and suppliers. This will offer a very transparent way of working which will benefit all parties and offer some big potential savings.
- Suppliers can monitor minimum stock levels on your behalf or be notified automatically when stock levels become critical
- Your internal team can be notified when stock is low to allow them to take action
- Key customers can log on from anywhere in the world for a real time update of their order
Offering a modern, technology led service is a proven path to success.
All the above points help cut down on mistakes, inbound phone calls, answering queries whilst providing a better customer experience and saving time and money. Offering a modern, technology led service is a proven path to success.
Not been delivered as promised
Late deliveries cost reputation, time and money. If a supplier has promised stock for a certain date and other activities are then planned around that date, getting it wrong can have far reaching consequences losing repeat business and potentially resulting in major project overrun due to lost time.
SOLUTION – What if your supplier could send you an email as soon as your stock had arrived a few days before it was needed on-site? What if you could log directly into your suppliers system from anywhere in the world and check the position of your order? Perhaps even reschedule delivery in real time if needed?
Late deliveries cost reputation, time and money. Early warnings are key!
The world isn’t perfect. Things get damaged, motorways come to a standstill and some delays will happen regardless of the preparation. However, an early warning is key! If you are notified of an issue a week or even days in advance, you can react and minimise the impact as much as possible.
Stock has been lost
Lost stock is a very common problem. The bigger the warehouse, the bigger the issue. If stock cannot be located, it may need to be re-ordered on an expensive express shipment service resulting in delays and higher costs reducing profit on any job.
Lost stock doesn’t just disappear!! It is misplaced, mis-delivered or it was never there to begin with!
SOLUTION – Having a robust record of what stock has been ordered and subsequently received, is very important. Matching up purchase orders to stock delivered is of interest to all businesses and is key to monitoring supplier performance and ensuring you only pay for what has actually been ordered and delivered.
Another common cause of lost stock, especially in larger warehouses, is simply not being able to find it.. Effective system driven location management will promote big cost savings reducing the amount of time warehouse teams spend looking for empty locations and guiding staff to the correct location when the time comes to pick those items for a project.
Stock doesn’t just disappear. It is misplaced, mis-delivered or it was never there to begin with!
In project driven businesses, such as the building trade, it is very common that stock is ordered with a specific purpose. If several projects for different clients use the same products, ring fencing stock can become very difficult and not understanding which stock is for which project will result in errors being made and customers being let down.
Having a robust cloud warehouse management system in place will allow stock teams to pin point the location of the correct stock for the correct client. Many products can look very similar but a 2mm difference on a raw material to be used on-site can make the product unusable.
Help is at hand!
If your business or your suppliers struggle with stock availability, speak to one of our team to understand how ClarusWMS’ simple cloud subscription platform can bring businesses together through collaboration and transparency to promote better customer service, better results and better returns on each project you undertake.
With a simple monthly subscription, no minimum term and users live in less than less than 2 weeks, get your project back on track FAST.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of cloud warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience.