supply chain optimization

Cleveland 3PL Can Help With Supply Chain Optimization By Improving Inventory Accuracy

Supply chain optimization is all about getting customers what they want, when they want it and spending the least of money possible to do so. However, if your inventory is inaccurate, there will come a time that a warehouse worker will go to pick a SKU for an order, and it won’t be there – or there won’t be enough. Working with a dedicated Cleveland 3PL helps ensure that you aren’t losing time and money to avoidable inventory inaccuracies.

Third party logistics providers (3PLs) like On Time Delivery & Warehouse continually evolve their service offerings, not only to set ourselves apart in the marketplace, but also to meet increasingly rigorous customer demands. 3PL operator customers trust us to manage numerous functions, including warehousing, trucking and overall supply chain optimization and management.

As noted by research published in the International Journal of Recent Research in Commerce Economics and Management, outsourcing inventory management allows a company to:

  • Maintain their focus on core competencies.
  • Broaden competitive advantages.
  • Enhance differentiation in the marketplace.
  • Avoid outlying, resource-intensive tasks.
  • Reduce logistics and carrying costs.

Working with a Cleveland 3PL provider that can capably manage inventory means entrusting the company’s most valuable assets to a third party. But this also assures peace of mind. They likely recognize that poor inventory management is the root of many operational problems, missed sales, lost time to perform reconciliation and shrinkage. That means it must be given high priority. Doing so, however, is a significant challenge, particularly when the company is responsible for maintaining numerous items of inventory for multiple clients in the same place. A third-party logistics provider already has the resources and experience with best practices.

Some of the factors that result in inventory inaccuracy include:

  • Poor store records or documentation.
  • Manual documentation and records posting, leading to long processing times and increased odds of misplacing figures or making a recording mistake.
  • Keeping inventory in the wrong place.
  • Errors in inventory transaction.
  • Physical inventory is either stolen, damaged, expired or spoiled.

How a Cleveland 3PL Ensures Accurate Inventory

There are many ways our third-party logistics firm works to ensure your inventory at our warehouses are accurately tallied and tracked. Some of our tools and best practices include:

  • Taking physical inventory. A proper physical inventory is essential, using either a floor-to-sheet count or sheet-to-floor count or both, crosschecking the figures in the database with the actual number of items in storage.
  • Setting a regular routine. Physical inventory counts and crosschecks should be part of regular practice for a 3PL aiming for supply chain optimization. Doing so helps ensure optimal accuracy.
  • Developing a cycle count program. This is another name for inventory audits. The accuracy of your inventory shouldn’t be left to chance, only to be checked annually or quarterly. Someone needs to ensure that it’s accurate at all times, especially if we’re dealing with items that are high volume, high value or critical to your supply chain. Cycle counting allows us to add up a small amount of inventory regularly without going through the entire stock. It’s less time-consuming than a full count, but still gives us an accurate picture nonetheless.
  • Clearing naming conventions of stock. Inventory issues can happen unexpectedly with the simple error of someone mistaking the number 0 for the letter “O” or a 1 for an “I.” Even with mobile bar coding and scanning, there is the potential for human error. Having clear naming conventions to avoid such mistakes is important.
  • Working with a vetted warehouse management system. A quality software system that helps your Cleveland 3PL manage and organize your inventory ensures greater transparency. We can tell how much you have in stock, where it is, how much space is allocated to it and how much is waiting on the receiving dock. There are many different types of warehouse management systems out there, and On Time Delivery & Warehouse uses software that has proven to reduce costs and errors, bolster transparency and improve response times and customer service.
  • Recording item movement in real time. Anytime products in the warehouse are moved from one location to another, the change should be recorded right away. Movements are logged as soon as possible in our warehouse management system because we understand that lag time between physical movement and location updates in the system is going to increase the chances that there will be confusion on the warehouse floor.
  • Having a process-driven system. Essentially, this means you have a process in place that expects the unexpected. For instance, you have a possible customer seeking a sample or an existing customer wants a rush shipment. If your warehouse doesn’t have processes in place that anticipate these kinds of things, you may be missing out on sales, lowering customer satisfaction or ending up with inaccurate inventory counts.
  • Ensuring your inventory is secure. When you work with a Cleveland 3PL, you must be able to trust that security of inventory is airtight. This might be somewhat less of a concern if your inventory is bulky, heavy, or low value, this may be less of a concern. Nonetheless, every client deserves to rest knowing their goods are in good hands. Security and regular cycle counts can be time-consuming for manufacturers, which is why many trust the job to third-party logistics operators.

Accurate inventory warehousing is a critical component in supply chain optimization. At On Time Delivery & Warehouse, we’re warehouse workflow experts. Managing inventory with precise accuracy and top-level efficiency is one of our primary functions, and it’s one of the key reasons we’ve thrived as trusted 3PL providers in Cleveland for nearly four decades.

Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Relevance of Inventory Accuracy from 3PL Service Provider perspective, April-June 2019, International Journal of Recent Research in Commerce Economics and Management

 More Blog Entries:
Cleveland Warehouse Club Packaging Can Be Key to Success, April 15, 2021, Cleveland 3PL Supply Chain Optimization Blog
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