We know what inventory management system you need because we’ve been providing long-term inventory solutions for over 30 years. Trust that our team can help you configure a system to fit your exact needs, be them industry specific or related to your business structure. We also provide barcode labels and barcode scanning hardware options for all of our products. If your inventory operations are made up of stock inventory in the form of raw materials, work-in-process items or ready to ship items, then it is optimal to get an inventory system in place to increase accuracy, efficiency and control. An effective, configurable and easy-to-use stock inventory system can improve your bottom line by cutting down on labor costs and task duration.
Inventory is the combination of a company's merchandise, raw materials, finished and unfinished products that have not yet been sold. These are considered liquid assets, since they can be converted into cash quite easily. There are various means of valuing stock inventory, but to be conservative the lowest value is usually used in financial statements.
Passport is designed to help you keep a handle on the goods. No matter whether you're working with supplies, finished products, spare parts, or consumables, tracking your inventory will let you know whether the crate has left the dock (or whether it never got there in the first place). It answers the questions: "Do you have any idea where my order is?" “Is the stuff that's supposed to be in your stockroom really in the stockroom? With a top-notch stock inventory tracking package, you'll know exactly where stock is at any given time.
A comprehensive inventory management system will follow the path as products are received, stored, inventoried, picked, packed, and shipped. When you implement barcode-based inventory tracking, data is collected and stored at every step of the way. Barcode or RFID printing and scanning are core offerings of many inventory management systems, with portable RF terminals that beam the information right from the warehouse floor. Technology, however, marches ever onward. While Barcode or RFIDs are an essential component of most systems, RFID tags will increasingly become an option in cutting-edge operations. The real-time inventory information afforded by these technologies provides customer service with the data they need to keep customers happy and suppliers in line.
ASAP Systems has developed thousands of inventory management and inventory tracking solutions that offer businesses and organizations the same value and performance as larger companies. Managing stock inventory has never been easier! ASAP Systems lets you take full control of your inventory and invoicing. Get ahead of your competition by advancing and automating your stock inventory management processes. Our comprehensive barcode or RFID support will save you time and hassle. Just attach a barcode scanner or RFID reader to your PC and it will fully integrate with the Passport. Run our barcode or RFID system from most mobile barcode computers or RFID readers with the same ease as you would from a desktop computer in the office. Passport is a stock inventory system for businesses of all sizes.
Our complete inventory management package is loaded with helpful features to make your business more professional and profitable. Generate invoices and manage stock from your wherever you are, at or away from the office. Passport’s inventory control functions run on Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8.
It is easy to create invoices, pick lists, packing lists, goods management, and stock inventory category reports in real-time to accomplish inventory control. Passport is a streamlined approach to inventory management and order fulfillment. Inventory order fulfillment involves collaboration between suppliers and customers. Instead of sending purchase orders, customers electronically send daily stock inventory demand information to the supplier. The supplier generates stock replenishment orders for the customer based on this inventory demand information. The process is guided by mutually agreed upon objectives between all parties involved, regarding stock inventory levels, inventory fill rates, and transaction costs.
The goal of VMI, or vendor-managed inventory, is to align business objectives and streamline supply chain operations for both suppliers and their customers. The business value is a direct result of increased information flow:
• Improved Inventory Turns
• Improved Service
• Increased Sales
Inventory Control reduces expensive inventory errors, improves customer service, and will increase the value of your business. ASAP Systems’ inventory tracking solutions are easy-to-use without the cost or difficulty of enterprise inventory tracking systems.
Use our inventory system with a wireless barcode or RFID scanner to collect inventory data promptly and accurately. You can also update the server in real-time, receive on a PO, and ship to your customers using the same wireless barcode scanners or RFID readers. If the need for a customized inventory program arises, our consultants and engineers have the know-how to create such a solution.
Our Inventory Software offers efficient inventory tracking for QuickBooks users. If you are a growing company using QuickBooks for accounting and need better inventory control, then our stock inventory system may be the answer for you.
Will our Inventory System help you?
• Does my company have a role in manufacturing, wholesale, or distributing processes?
• Do I use QuickBooks?
• Do I have stock inventory?
• Do I have multiple inventory stockroom locations?
If you answered 'Yes' to any of these, then a free trial or demo of our system will benefit you.
ASAP Systems Will Help Your Bottom Line:
• Increase inventory accuracy
• Increase worker efficiency/productivity
• Automate your order/supply processes
• Minimize product loss
People choose our stock inventory system for its incredible value. A great fit for any industry, our inventory system is the #1 inventory control solution for small and medium-sized businesses because of the savings realized through increased efficiency and accuracy. Don't leave QuickBooks when you can combine it with Passport for the best inventory control coupled with the best accounting software.
Data warehouses store data from current and previous years that has been extracted from the various operational databases of an organization. It is the central source of data that has been screened, edited, standardized and integrated so that it can be used by managers and other end-user professionals throughout an organization.
One issue is infrequent large orders vs. frequent small orders. Calculating inventory shipping costs, volume discounts, stock storage costs, and capital costs can be figured with mathematical precision. Basically, how much money do you wish to have tied up in inventory?
Maintaining the cost-effective amount of inventory is essential to every business. Too less or an excess of inventory is harmful to any entity's existence. The cost of inventory is regulated through inventory control. The problems in this field arise due to malpractices like old-fashioned support systems, poor processes, human error, etc.
The second issue is always having the demanded merchandise on-hand in order to make sales during the appropriate buying season(s). A classic example is a toy store pre-Christmas. If one does not have inventory on the shelves, one will not make the sales. And the wholesale market is not perfect. There can be considerable delays, particularly with the most popular toys. So, the entrepreneur or business manager will buy based on speculation and forecasting. Another example is a furniture store. If there is a six-week, or more, delay for customers to get merchandise, some sales will be lost. And yet another example is a restaurant, where a considerable percentage of the sales are the value-added aspects of food preparation and presentation, so it is rational to buy and store somewhat more inventory to reduce the chances of running out of key ingredients. With all these examples, the situation often comes down to these two key questions: How confident are you that the merchandise in stock will sell, and how much upside is there if it does?
The third issue comes from the whole philosophy of just-in-time, which argues that the costs of carrying inventory have typically been under-estimated, both the direct, obvious costs of stockroom storage space and insurance, but also the harder-to-measure costs of increased variables and complexity, and thus decreased flexibility, for the business enterprise.
Inventory Tracking System
Actual inventory cost method is used in manufacturing environments that includes the actual materials costs, machine costs, and labor costs reported against a specific work order to calculate the cost of the finished stock item.
We offer a complete inventory management system that performs multi-warehouse stock control. It has receiving, packing, and shipping functionality and generates invoices, purchase orders, and sale receipts if necessary.
ASAP Systems builds a complex profile of your software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, and displays the results in your web browser. All the PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.
Our inventory solution is created around the type of stock inventory items you possess and your tracking goals. There is a package suitable for all industry types including retail stockroom inventory, warehouse inventory, and equipment inventory. The optimal inventory system should integrate with the rest of your operating systems like sales, shipping and receiving, accounting, and billing. Though you may still prefer to isolate the inventory tracking if that is critical to your operation. Regardless, our stock inventory systems contain extensive programming logic that allows them to be more effective in dealing with rapidly changing customer demands.
Security in our stock inventory solution allows you to share information with customers, employees, and vendors while protecting and storing it. Users assign the insert, read, modify, or delete privileges for each user or group down to the field level. Users also have access to only the data the administrator wants them to see.
Passport for stock inventory allows you to modify field names with the click of a button. You can change the generic field names and messages that appear in the user interface to match your industry-specific terminology and you can even establish custom configurations. Each workstation can have a different, unique configuration of our inventory system.
Advanced shipment notifications (ASNs) in the Passport inventory, assets and item-tracking system are used to notify a customer of a stock shipment. ASNs will often include numbers designated for PO’s, SKU’s, lots, quantities, pallets, containers, and cartons. ASNs may be paper-based, however, electronic notification is preferred.
Proper inventory management lets you take full control of your inventory and invoicing. Save time, manage customers and get ahead of your competition with our inventory solution. Passport for stock inventory has a standard integrated interface that can be customized to integrate with an accounting system if you already have one.
We offer flexible inventory management for Windows users. Our stock inventory system includes a vigorous reporting module that allows you to format the reports to include the data you require. Additionally, you can quickly browse an entire family of information because the data is organized in a hierarchical tree format.
ASAP Systems provides Passport Stock Inventory for real-time management of inventory items. Our inventory system supports updating inventory information for all items, importing and exporting inventory information to and from external systems of record, and monitoring inventory depletion. Our inventory system serves the needs of shoppers, business managers, and site administrators.
When you select a particular inventory management solution certain things have to be taken into consideration like cost of ownership, savings achieved on employees’ salaries, purchase order processing and so on. Research and plan accordingly before installing any inventory solution. Maybe an option that worked for some other business type does not work for yours! Therefore, evaluate its usability, scalability and long term or reoccurring cost properly.
An Inventory Control System is an integrated package of software and hardware used in warehouse operations, and elsewhere, to monitor the quantity, location and status of inventory as well as the related shipping, receiving, picking and put away processes. In common usage, the term may also refer to just the software components.
Modern Inventory Control systems rely upon barcode, and potentially RFID tags, to provide automatic identification of inventory objects. In an academic study performed at Wal-Mart, RFID reduced out of stock by 30 percent for products selling between 0.1 and 15 units a day. Inventory objects could include any kind of physical entities used in business: merchandise, consumables, fixed assets, circulating tools, library books, or capital equipment. To record an inventory transaction, the system uses a barcode scanner, RFID scanner or RFID reader to automatically identify the inventory object, and then collects additional information from the operators via fixed terminals (workstations), or mobile computers.
An inventory control system may be used to automate a sales order fulfillment process. Such a system contains a list of orders to be filled, and then prompts workers to pick the necessary inventory items, and provides them with packaging and shipping information.
Real-time inventory control systems use wireless, mobile terminals to record inventory transactions at the moment they occur. A wireless LAN transmits the transaction information to a central database.
Physical inventory counting and cycle counting are features of many stock inventory control systems performed on a regular schedule.
An inventory valuation allows a company to provide a monetary value for items that make up their inventory. Inventories are usually the largest current asset of a business, and proper measurement of them is necessary to assure accurate financial statements. If inventory is not properly measured, expenses and revenues cannot be properly matched and a company could make poor business decisions.
When ending inventory is incorrect, the following balances of the balance sheet will also be incorrect as a result: merchandise inventory, total assets, and owner's equity. When ending inventory is incorrect, the cost of merchandise sold and net income will also be incorrect on the income statement.
The inventory accounting involves two major aspects:
The cost of the purchased or manufactured inventory has to be determined and
Such cost is retained in the inventory accounts of the company until the product is sold
Inventory Accounting Methods
The two most widely used inventory accounting methods are the periodic and the perpetual:
The perpetual inventory system requires accounting records to show the amount of inventory on hand at all times. It maintains a separate account in the subsidiary ledger for each good in stock, and the account is updated each time a quantity is added or taken out.
In the periodic inventory system, sales are recorded as they occur but the inventory is not updated. A physical inventory must be taken at the end of the year to determine the cost of goods sold. Regardless of what inventory accounting system is used, it is good practice to perform a physical inventory at least once a year.
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing and storage capacity as a service to a community of end-recipients. The name comes from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it contains in system diagrams. Cloud computing entrusts services with a user's data, software and computation over a network.
Using Software as a Service, users also rent application software and databases. The cloud providers manage the infrastructure and platforms on which the applications run.
End users access cloud-based applications through a web browser or a light-weight desktop or mobile app while the business software and user's data are stored on servers at a remote location. Proponents claim that cloud computing allows enterprises to get their applications up and running faster, with improved manageability and less maintenance, and enables IT to more rapidly adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable business demand.
Cloud Computing is another word for the Internet, "the cloud" is a more renounced terminology, but when combined with software as a service it gets bigger and vague. Some folks define cloud computing as a mainframe: basically server farms available over the Internet. In other words it can be described as applications outside your firewall: "in the cloud.”
Software As a Service
Software as a service (SaaS, pronounced aes or sas), sometimes referred to as "on-demand software", is a software delivery model in which software and associated data are centrally hosted on the cloud. SaaS is typically accessed by users using a thin client via a web browser.
SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business applications, including accounting, collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM), management information systems (MIS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), invoicing, human resource management (HRM), content management (CM) and service desk management. SaaS has been incorporated into the strategy of all leading enterprise software companies. One of the biggest selling points for these companies is the potential to reduce IT support costs by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the SaaS provider.
This type of cloud computing AKA SAAS also delivers a single application that can be accessed through a user’s browser hundreds of customers using 2 or three-tier architecture. On the user side, it means no IT infrastructure is need other than access to the internet or need to buy and own software.
The accounting method that a company decides to use to determine the costs of inventory can directly impact the balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flow. There are three inventory-costing methods that are widely used by both public and private companies:
* First-In, First-Out (FIFO) - This method assumes that the first unit making its way into inventory is the first sold. For example, let's say that a bakery produces 200 loaves of bread on Monday at a cost of $1 each, and 200 more on Tuesday at $1.25 each. FIFO states that if the bakery sold 200 loaves on Wednesday, the COGS is $1 per loaf (recorded on the income statement) because that was the cost of each of the first loaves in
inventory. The $1.25 loaves would be allocated to ending inventory (appears on the balance sheet).
* Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) - This method assumes that the last unit making its way into inventory is sold first. The older inventory, therefore, is left over at the end of the accounting period. For the 200 loaves sold on Wednesday, the same bakery would assign $1.25 per loaf to COGS while the remaining $1 loaves would be used to calculate the value of inventory at the end of the period.
* Average Cost - This method is quite straightforward; it takes the weighted average of all units available for sale during the accounting period and then uses that average cost to determine the value of COGS and ending inventory. In our bakery example, the average cost for inventory would be $1.125 per unit, calculated as [(200 x $1) + (200 x $1.25)]/400.
An important point in the examples above is that COGS appears on the income statement, while ending inventory appears on the balance sheet under current assets.
If inflation were nonexistent, then all three of the inventory valuation methods would produce the exact same results. When prices are stable our bakery would be able to produce all of its loafs of bread at $1, and FIFO, LIFO and average cost would give us a cost of $1 per loaf.
Unfortunately, the world is more complicated. Over the long term, prices tend to rise, which means the choice of accounting method can dramatically affect valuation ratios.
If prices are rising, each of the accounting methods produce the following results:
* FIFO gives us a better indication of the value of ending inventory (on the balance sheet), but it also increases net income because inventory that might be several years old is used to value the cost of goods sold. Increasing net income sounds good, but remember that it also has the potential to increase the amount of taxes that a company must pay.
* LIFO isn't a good indicator of ending inventory value because the left over inventory might be extremely old and, perhaps, obsolete. This results in a valuation that is much lower than today's prices. LIFO results in lower net income because cost of goods sold is higher.
* Average cost produces results that fall somewhere between FIFO and LIFO.
(Note: if prices are decreasing then the complete opposite of the above is true.)
One thing to keep in mind is that companies are prevented from getting the best of both worlds. If a company uses LIFO valuation when it files taxes, which results in lower taxes when prices are increasing, it then must also use LIFO when it reports financial results to shareholders. This lowers net income and, ultimately, earnings per share.
Let's examine the inventory of Cory's Tequila Co. (CTC) to see how the different inventory valuation methods can affect the financial analysis of a company.
Average cost inventory costing method recalculates an item's cost at each receipt by averaging the actual cost of the receipt with the cost of the current inventory.
For example, if one share of Company A's stock is purchased on June 1 for $50.00, again on June 15 for $35.00, and again on Aug 10 for $40.00, the average- cost method assumes that three stocks were purchased for an average cost of $41.67. This number is arrived at by adding $50.00 + $35.00 + $40.00 and dividing the sum by 3, because there are three stocks in the pool.
LIFO is an acronym that stands for last in, first out. By definition, in a LIFO structured linear list, elements can be added or taken off from only one end, called the "top". A LIFO structure can be illustrated with the example of a narrow, crowded elevator with a small door. When the elevator reaches its destination, the last people to get on have to be the first to get off.
In such data orderings, the stack is used as a dynamic memory element wherein an abstract concept a machine dependent Stack frame is used to contain copies of data records or parts thereof be they actual memory addresses of a data element, or a copy of the data (pass-by-value). In list processing, the most common need is sorting (alphabetically, greatest to smallest, etcetera.) where the machine is limited to comparing only two elements at a time, out of a list that likely holds millions of members. Various strategies (computer algorithms) exist which optimize particular types of data sorting, but in implementation all will resort to a sub-program and or sub-routines that generally call themselves or a part of their code recursively in each call adding to the list temporarily reordered in stack frames. It is for this reason, stacks and recursion are usually introduced in parallel in data structures courses they are mutually interdependent.
FIFO First-in-first-out. In warehousing describes the method of rotating inventory to used oldest product first. Actually an accounting term used to describe an inventory costing method. FIFO is an acronym for First In, First Out, an abstraction in ways of organizing and manipulation of data relative to time and prioritization. This expression describes the principle of a queue processing technique or servicing conflicting demands by ordering process by first-come, first-served (FCFS) behavior: what comes in first is handled first, what comes in next waits until the first is finished, etc.
Thus it is analogous to the behavior of persons queuing (or "standing in line", in common American parlance), where the persons leave the queue in the order they arrive, or waiting one's turn at a traffic control signal. FCFS is also the shorthand name (see Jargon and acronym) for the FIFO operating system scheduling algorithm, which gives every process CPU time in the order they come. In the broader sense, the abstraction LIFO, or Last-In-First-Out is the opposite of the abstraction FIFO, the difference perhaps is clearest with considering the less commonly used synonym of LIFO, FILO meaning First-In- Last-Out. In essence, both are specific cases of a more generalized list (which could be accessed anywhere). The difference is not in the list (data), but in the rules for accessing the content. One sub-type adds to one end, and takes off from the other, its opposite takes and puts things only on one end.
A priority queue is a variation on the queue that does not qualify for the name FIFO, because it is not accurately descriptive of that data structure's behavior. Queuing theory encompasses the more general concept of queue, as well as interactions between strict-FIFO queues.
Our Inventory Management System
Passport's inventory management can be broken into two categories: Data Management, and Warehouse Management Systems. Each category contains a variety of stock inventory tracking capabilities. Depending upon the size and complexity of your operations, Passport has solution that's right for you.
Passport Stock provides basic, easy to use inventory tracking and management capabilities. DMS software applications track inventory to a location. Passport Stock packages include Inventory, Stockroom, Check In-Out, Proof of Delivery, and equipment tracking.
Passport Warehouse Management Solution (WMS) software is available in three versions. All WMS applications provide basic warehouse functions of Inventory, Shipping Receiving and Picking (ISRP). Passport solutions all contain a standard application interface (API), for easy integration with accounting systems or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
Inventory, Shipping, Receiving, and Picking Systems (ISRP)
Our inventory system is perfect for small warehouses, order fulfillment centers, and e-commerce businesses. Four fully integrated functions save time and simplify inventory tracking, shipping, receiving and picking.
Passport Stock is an affordable, easy to use, perpetual inventory system. Track supplies and consumable inventories. By knowing what you have and how much, you can save money on purchasing. Our WMS is a reliable, affordable, and easy to use warehouse management solution with wireless data transmission. Cycle counting, kitting, replenishment, space management and many more functions are available to manage your warehouse operations efficiently with wireless technology.
Inventory System for the Construction Industry
Today’s successful construction project managers require instant access to inventory information in order to make educated, on-the-fly decisions while on or off a job site. It is essential that materials are available at the right place, at the right time, and at the quantity desired. Time-honored methods of manually tracking inventory no longer get the job done— they’re labor intensive, inaccurate and susceptible to errors that lead to schedule delays, supply shortages, and an overall decrease in productivity. It is mind-blowing that something that accounts for more than half of total project costs is not being optimally managed. Ergo, inventory tracking systems such as Passport, fill a significant (and somehow underappreciated) need.
It is a system that allows you to view stock inventory levels and locations in real-time so project managers maintain visibility of all inventory activity. The data can also be purposefully organized so it can be referenced for mandated audits or site inspections. Bulk supplies such as nails, caulking, building paper, and concrete can be tracked by quantity, serial number, or weight, depending on what is the most practical for the type of material and project. The beauty of the system is that the information is pertinent and reliable, and the features are configurable to fit the needs of different projects.
Periodic versus perpetual systems:
There are fundamental differences for accounting and reporting merchandise inventory transactions under the periodic and perpetual inventory systems. To record purchases, the periodic system debits the Purchases account while the perpetual system debits the Merchandise Inventory account. To record sales, the perpetual system requires an extra entry to debit the Cost of goods sold and credit Merchandise Inventory. By recording the cost of goods sold for each sale, the perpetual inventory system alleviated the need for adjusting entries and calculation of the goods sold at the end of a financial period, both of which the periodic inventory system requires. In Perpetual Inventory System there must be actual facts and figures.
Using non-cost methods to value stock inventory:
Under certain circumstances, valuation of inventory based on cost is impractical. If the market price of a good drops below the purchase price, the lower of cost or market method of valuation is recommended. This method allows declines in inventory value to be offset against income of the period. When goods are damaged or obsolete, and can only be sold for below purchase prices, they should be recorded at net realizable value. The net realizable value is the estimated selling price less any expense incurred to dispose of the good.
Methods used to estimate stock inventory cost:
In certain business operations, taking a physical inventory is impossible or impractical. In such a situation, it is necessary to estimate the inventory cost.
Two very popular methods are 1) retail inventory method, and 2) gross profit (or gross margin) method. The retail inventory method uses a cost to retail price ratio. The physical inventory is valued at retail, and it is multiplied by the cost ratio (or percentage) to determine the estimated cost of the ending inventory.
The gross profit method uses the previous years average gross profit margin (i.e. sales minus cost of goods sold divided by sales). Current year gross profit is estimated by multiplying current year sales by that gross profit margin, the current year cost of goods sold is estimated by subtracting the gross profit from sales, and the ending inventory is estimated by adding cost of goods sold to goods available for sale.
Technology and computing: WMS Definitions
Warehouse management system: a component of the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse
Web Map Service: a specification that comprises a definition for Internet map servers
Windows Media Services: the streaming media server from Microsoft WMS (software): watershed simulation software
Workflow management system: technology that enables workflow procedures
Welfare management system: the system used in New York State for receiving, maintaining and processing information relating to persons who apply for benefits.
Warehouse Management System
A warehouse management system, or WMS, is a key part of the supply chain and primarily aims to control the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse and process the associated transactions, including shipping, receiving, put away and picking. The systems also direct and optimize stock put away based on real-time information about the status of bin utilization. Warehouse management systems often utilize Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) technology, such as barcode scanners, mobile computers, wireless LANs and potentially Radio-frequency identification (RFID) to efficiently monitor the flow of products. Once data has been collected, there is either batch synchronization, or a real-time wireless transmission to a central database. The database can then provide useful reports about the status of goods in the warehouse. The objective of a warehouse management system is to provide a set of computerized procedures to handle the receipt of stock and returns into a warehouse facility, model and manage the logical representation of the physical storage facilities (e.g. racking etc.), manage the stock within the facility and enable a seamless link to order processing and logistics management in order to pick, pack and ship product out of the facility. Warehouse management systems can be standalone systems, or modules of an ERP system or supply chain execution suite. The primary purpose of a WMS is to control the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse you might even describe it as the legs at the end-of-the line which automates the store, traffic and shipping management.
In its simplest form, the WMS can data track products during the production process and act as an interpreter and message buffer between existing ERP and WMS systems. Warehouse Management is not just managing within the boundaries of a warehouse today, it is much wider and goes beyond the physical boundaries. Inventory management, inventory planning, cost management, IT applications, and communication technology are all related to warehouse management. The container storage, loading and unloading are also covered by warehouse today’s management functions. Warehouse management today is part of SCM and demand management. Even production management is to a great extent dependent on warehouse management. Efficient warehouse management gives a cutting edge to a retail chain distribution company. Warehouse management does not just start with receipt of material but it actually starts with actual initial planning when container design is made for a product. Warehouse design and process design within the warehouse (e.g. Wave Picking) is also part of warehouse management. Warehouse management is part of Logistics and SCM.
Warehouse Management monitors the progress of products through the warehouse. It involves the physical warehouse infrastructure, tracking systems, and communication between product stations. Warehouse management deals with receipt, storage and movement of goods, normally finished goods, to intermediate storage locations or to final customer. In the multi-echelon model for distribution, there are levels of warehouses, starting with the Central Warehouse(s), regional warehouses services by the central warehouses and retail warehouses at the third level services by the regional warehouses and so on. The objective of warehousing management is to help in optimal cost of timely order fulfillment by managing the resources economically. Warehouse management = "Management of storage of products and services rendered on the products within the four walls of a warehouse."
Benefits of Barcode or RFIDs and Portable Handhelds with Stock Inventory
Are you required to take a physical inventory? Are you one of those countless small and midsized businesses that spend hours taking physical inventory by hand with pen and paper? We feel your pain. No matter the size, a small one-person shop or a full warehouse, the process is all the same. Keeping track of stock inventory is a tedious, time-consuming process and if you are using paper you open the door to human error.
Say a client stores material for a manufacturer. They deliver the material on demand to this customer. They are required to supply detailed inventory of available material to the customer monthly. Their customer depends on that count to support their lean manufacturing practices. To this client that meant shutting down the warehouse, bringing in the crew, paying overtime and counting over a quarter million individual items. Their problem was solved with Passport Warehouse Management System (WMS) using Barcode or RFIDs for locations, tracking inventory receipts, moves and shipments using Wireless Portable Data Collectors. The result is that the reduction in time spent taking inventory was 60%. This was achieved by using a mix of cycle counts and only one yearly physical. Inventory accuracy soared to 99.8%.
You do not need to be a big warehouse to utilize an inventory counting system; the technology doesn’t have to be expensive. Think about this. Another client runs a small chain of restaurants with weekly needs to count inventory to determine the next week’s bulk food orders for the chain. The only concern was to know what is in the supply or stock rooms now! Each week with paper order slips, a laptop with an excel spreadsheet, the client headed out to take inventory. It easily consumed a twelve-hour day. Several problems were generated using the manual system and the most important was mistakes in ordering which often resulted in running out of product or worse, the amount of food going stale which needed to be discarded as spoilage.
The Passport solution was a very simple inventory counting system. By implementing this solution using Barcode or RFIDs and portable handheld terminals, the client was able to assign the task of taking inventory to restaurant managers. In addition, each restaurant manager is in charge of setting minimum and maximum inventory amounts. Managers receive an incentive to keep items in stock while reducing spoilage. Three things occurred. First, the reduction in spoilage was over 85%. Over all, inventory is in line with customer demands and this reduced inventory levels for many items in the restaurants. Bulk supply cost is lower. The most important gain in the chain was that food was fresher and the customers noticed! Business grew and the chain is expanding. We do not claim to take credit for everything after all you have to start with good food in the first place.
To summarize, anytime you use a paper-based system you open yourself up to “human error” and “human decisions”. A Barcode or RFID stock inventory system is a smart technology. These Barcode or RFID based software systems allow customers to see available on hand inventory, compare minimum and maximum levels of inventory, control inventory levels and establish reorder points. They reduce loss and limit human error. Small or large, any business can benefit by using this technology over paper.
Inventory Definitions & Beyond:
Available refers to the status of inventory as it relates to its ability to be sold or consumed. Availability calculations are used to determine this status. Availability calculations vary from system to system but basically subtract any current allocations of holds on inventory from the current on-hand balance. An example of an availability calculation would be: [Stock Quantity Available] = [Stock Quantity On-Hand] -[ Stock Quantity On-Hold] - [Stock Quantity Allocated To Sales Orders] - [Stock Quantity Allocated to Production Orders].
Bill of material lists materials (components or ingredients) required to produce an item. Multilevel BOMs also show subassemblies and their components. Other information such as scrap factors may also be included in the BOM for use in materials planning and costing.
Blanket order a type of equipment or Inventory purchase order that commits to purchase a specific quantity over a specific period of time, but does not necessarily provide specific dates for shipments. Blanket orders are placed for the quantity of an item (or group of items) that you expect to purchase over extended period of time (3 months, 6 months, a year, etc). A blanket purchase order may provide estimated required dates for specific quantities, but actual releases to ship against the blanked order are triggered by separate requests from the customer to the supplier; the specific quantities and dates of these separate requests (releases) may or may not be similar to the estimated dates and quantities. Providing a blanket order to a supplier may reduce lead times and increase on-time shipments from the supplier and may provide a greater discount on purchases.
Blind counts describes methodology used in cycle counting and physical inventories where you provide your counters with item number and location but no quantity information. See article on Cycle Counting, also check out.
Bonded Warehouse, a facility or a dedicated portion of a facility where imported goods are stored prior to customs duties and taxes being paid. These facilities are often used to delay the payment of import fees until the products are actually sold/shipped (when they physically leave the bonded facility). This can be particularly useful when products are received well in advance of sale or when a portion of the product received may eventually be returned or scrapped (thus preventing paying import fees on items not sold). Bonded warehouses are licensed by the government. I believe the same concept can also be applied to specially taxed domestic products such as alcohol and tobacco products. See also FTZ (Foreign Trade Zone)
Browser-based application software designed to run within a web browser (i.e. Internet Explorer). This allows a user to access the application from any location that has internet access and a web browser (no additional software is needed on the computer accessing the application). Read my article on Software Selection for additional information.
Bulk, the classic use of the term bulk (bulk materials, bulk inventory, bulk storage) in inventory management and distribution refers to raw materials such as coal, iron ore, grains, etc. that are stored or transported in large quantities. This would include rail cars, tanker trucks, or silos full of a single material. However, this term can also have a variety of other definitions based upon the specific industry or facility. For example, a small-parts picking operation may refer to a case storage area as "bulk", while a case-picking operation may refer to the full-pallet area as the "bulk area".
According to an article by Kenneth Hamlett from Demand Media:
Several inventory control methods exist. For small businesses, the chosen inventory control method has a major impact on the business’s cash flow and operational cost. Whatever inventory control method a company uses, the goals for managing inventory remains true regardless of industry or product. These goals include optimizing customer service, lowering the cost of operations and decreasing inventory investment.
ABC Inventory Control
ABC inventory control is a method of classifying and controlling inventory according to its level of importance. Usually, dollar usage serves as the criteria used to determine importance, but other criteria, such as sales volume, also gets used. ABC inventory control functions on the 80/20 Rule; a small amount of items normally dominate the results in most situations.
The ABC inventory method classifies items into groups according to pre-determined criteria. ‘A’ class items receive the highest priority and tightest control. For example, a company performs a Pareto analysis using dollar usage as the criteria and decides to hold only two-weeks worth of class ‘A’ inventory, one-month of class ‘B’ inventory and three-months of class ‘C’ and ‘D’ inventory. Because the class ‘A’ inventory has the greatest dollar usage, the company focuses on reducing the on-hand inventory of this class of items. This reduction increases inventory cycles and thus reduces the inventory carrying costs.
Aggregate Inventory Control
Another inventory control option involving groups is the aggregate inventory control method. Using this method, a business classifies its inventory into separate groups, each receiving a different level of inventory control. For example, a bakery might use three different classifications and ingredients such as vanilla, yeast, and starch comprise one classification, work-in-process or partially finished items comprise the second classification and finished goods or items ready to sell make up the third classification. The way the bakery controls each class of inventory depends on the rules established for that class. For example, all inventory ingredients might use a min/max policy; whenever the inventory reaches a minimum level, the bakery orders more inventory to reach its maximum inventory level.
Safety Stock Inventory
Some businesses use a very basic method of inventory control called safety stock. Businesses use safety stock because of the lack of certainty in consumer demand, supplier performance and product availability. Safety stock inventory represents an amount over and above the average use or demand of a product. For example, a bakery’s monthly sugar usage averages 200 pounds. Because the bakery uses a special process to procure sugar, it always keeps an additional 40 pounds on hand to cover the uncertainty of supply. Using safety stock to control inventory increases the amount of money a business spends and associated costs of having the inventory