How the Right Technology Makes Inventory Management More Efficient for Distributors

Customer expectations are higher than ever. To maintain positive relationships with your buyers (and suppliers), you must have constant visibility into your inventory and warehouse operations. Otherwise, you may find yourself with high lead times, lost orders, unexpected stockouts, and other costly setbacks.

The goal of inventory management is to have the right products in the right place at the right time. This means tracking and managing inventory from manufacturers to warehouses and then to the point of sale. Thankfully, the right technology will help you make data-driven decisions to ensure timely deliveries and minimal mistakes as items move through the order-to-cash cycle.

How Technology Improves Inventory Management

Technology is a necessity when managing thousands of products across multiple locations. However, not all programs are created equal – tracking inventory with spreadsheets and outdated software will only lead to headaches as these systems are prone to error and often lead to inaccurate inventory counts and outdated order information.

Over time, these issues result in unexpected stockouts, overstocking, excessive amounts of dead inventory, shrinking warehouse space, backorders, shipment delays and unhappy customers.

Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management provides valuable insights and workflows to help you manage inbound and outbound inventory, quality assurance, inventory movements, inventory cost, inventory visibility and more.

A few of the biggest benefits leveraging the right technology in inventory management include:

Greater Forecast Confidence

Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management’s demand forecasting helps you better plan. They do this by analyzing historical sales records, customer information and seasonal demand fluctuations. With enough data, the software provides intelligent suggestions to enhance planning and purchasing.

Eliminate Stockouts

With the help of demand forecasting and real-time inventory insights, you can always ensure you have enough product in the right place to serve your customers. By pairing Artificial Intelligence or machine learning with forecasting, you can predict and adapt to changes in market conditions and plan for inventory fluctuations.

In addition, enhanced visibility and collaboration tools make it easier to know where items you ordered from manufacturers and wholesaler partners are in the supply chain. Instead of receiving a generic response of, “we’re working as quickly as we can,” you can use technology to see where your order is at every point in its journey to you.

Inventory Allocation

Coordination among branches and warehouses can be challenging to manage, especially when selling across multiple states or even countries. The right technology makes this easier by providing real-time inventory insights from every channel and location, all in a centralized dashboard. In addition to greater visibility, Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management allows managers to assign tasks, organize warehouse stock and edit order information from anywhere.

 Greater Resiliency

Although conditions are improving, it will be a long time before the global supply chain regains some sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, a lack of visibility into the supply chain can leave you vulnerable to unexpected setbacks.

As McKinsey points out, “The complexity and diversity of supply chain risks require smart management tools, and leading companies are applying a range of new techniques … that help them focus their attention on high-risk regions and suppliers.” The right tools will help you prepare for setbacks before they occur and reduce disruption when they do.

Reduced Carrying Costs

Carrying costs include the price of utilities, rent, insurance, salaries and any other fee associated with housing your stock. Depending on where you are located (and how well you have optimized inventory allocation), carrying costs can represent over half of an inventory’s total value. Tools like Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management will give you a clearer view of all aspects of your stock, from inventory that’s collecting dust to opportunities for improvement in inventory allocation. With this information, you can adjust as needed to improve profits.

Technology eliminates the need for guesswork and gut feelings. Instead, it provides distributors with a way to manage inventory more efficiently and provide customers with an unforgettable buying experience.

Our team at Sikich can help you understand your technology needs and make the best software decision for your company. If you’re interested in learning more, contact one of our experts and schedule a consultation.

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