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Inventory Management for the Holiday Rush

10/21/2013 4:20:29 AM Posted by Erin Carrather

As the holidays are rapidly approaching, it’s time to start gearing up for crunch time, also known as the great holiday rush. If you are a growing business, there is no doubt that you worry about managing your inventory as growth progresses. Since your inventory is where you make the majority of your profits, especially during the holiday season, you want to make sure you can oversee it in real-time. Ultimately you want to be able to serve your customers and better achieve profitable growth throughout the holiday season, while fulfilling all the orders you receive in a timely manner.

Your end goal is adopting a smooth process of automating your order delivery process. To gain a better understanding of how this goal can become a reality, let’s take a hypothetical scenario and how an inventory management system can help:

 It’s a few weeks before Christmas and you receive an order from one of your best customers that requires same-day delivery. You use your inventory management system to access real-time inventory data and confirm that the items they requested are, indeed, in stock. You follow up on this by creating a sales order with just a few clicks. Once the order is ready, your inventory management system automatically alerts the warehouse that the order requires same-day delivery. You warehouse manager receives the sales order alert and is able to drill down for complete order details (items ordered, customer’s ship-to address, etc.), which he quickly assembles using a dynamic Pick and Pack feature. Each item in the order gets assigned a unique serial number for tracking as the warehouse manager prints the delivery note and packing slip for the shipment. The shipment then gets picked up by the carrier; the inventory management software automatically updates the order status so that the sales rep knows the package has been shipped. Additionally, your customer gets an email with the complete tracking details, streamlining your entire business operations.

As soon as that order gets shipped, the inventory management system automatically updates the inventory levels. As stock levels change throughout the day, the warehouse managers needs to replenish inventory to meet customer demand, which becomes increasingly important during the holiday season. Having a strong inventory management system enables the warehouse manager to accurately plan for inventory updates through a process called Materials Requirements Planning, giving him clear insight into gaps between current inventory levels and forecasted holiday demand for each inventory item. Additionally, they are able to receive alerts and replenishment orders to keep inventory at an optimal level.

This is just a brief glimpse into how an inventory management system can keep you competitive during the holiday rush. It’s important to recognize that not only can it help you optimize what you have on hand in the warehouse, but is also able to adapt to your changing business needs. This means that as you gain more and more requirements, the operations manager at your company can quickly and easily add functionality to support these new requirements.

Contact Third Wave today and learn more about inventory optimization for the 2013 holiday season!