As a food wholesaler you will know that your largest costs lie with stock inventory. Keeping costs tight means striking a perfect balance between stock, storage and demand while taking a keen oversight. So how can you tread the fine line needed for advanced inventory control?
Here are Lakeview’s four top tips:
1. Efficient, effective expiry management
To ensure you have enough stock without wasting expired items, the inventory flow should be smooth and seamless. It is important to keep in mind the FIFO principle (First In, First Out) when it comes to expiry analysis and planning if you want to have the freshest ingredients without waste.
The key to efficient, effective expiry management is advanced analysis and automation principles. By using specialist software, such as an ERP solution, this advanced analysis becomes a doddle and the automated rules to keep it smooth and seamless become standard.
2. Manage your shelf space
Effective shelf space management is about more than just the physical space needed to store your inventory, it also includes receiving, picking, put-away, pick, ship, dynamic move, physical inventory counts and quality.
The key to successful shelf space management lies in logistics and planning. It can be tricky as there are lots of piece of information to remember, but an ERP solution can help out by removing the heavy lifting (of the maths, that is, not stock).
Knowing exactly what is where, where it came from, the duration of its remaining shelf life and so on is absolutely essential to effectively managing your stock. Moreover, batch traceability provides security in terms of food safety. It is only with a great system for traceability that you can confidently identify allergens and kosher/halal stock as well as the source of any contaminants. It may sound like you’re pre-empting the worst, but it’s better to prepare in advance for these problems than to bury your head in the sand. Just consider the recent “Horsegate’ episode, where brands like Tesco found horsemeat in their stock!
4. Real-time cycle counts
Obviously it’s far less disruptive to have a rolling cycle count than to complete a physical count. A cycle count is much more achievable if employees are able to access and record count data remotely.
In fact, remote access in the Cloud is the keystone to achieving our other top tips.
With remotely accessible count data, employees can efficiently and effectively manage expiries, shelf space and traceability.
One way of providing this remote access to the central system is through the Cloud. By making your ERP software available in the Cloud, data can be accessed from any device at any location, making inventory management quicker, easier and more effective all round. What’s more, it provides the centralised visibility and traceability needed for a complete overview of your inventory status.
In the words of Gartner analyst, Brian Prentice: ”Enterprises can’t play a waiting game, in the hopes that a future upgrade of their ERP system will provide a central, single-vendor solution… Enterprises that hope to exploit the opportunities offered by mobile, or to respond to the growing demands to support it, have no choice but to adapt to a post-PC ERP world.”
Key takeaway: If you are a larger food wholesaler looking to enhance your inventory management and gain a comprehensive and real-time overview, now is the time to investigate Cloud ERP solutions. A good solution will provide only the tools necessary in the Cloud to ensure smooth and efficient processes, leaving all the back office stuff where it belongs…in the back office.
For more in-depth information on optimising your food wholesale back-office processes take a look at our free resource guide: Prioritising ERP in the food and beverage industry.