Category: Business

Streamlining a Large Inventory

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Inventory management is one of the biggest headaches that warehouse managers and supply chain professionals have to deal with. However, the following four tips will help anyone successfully streamline a large inventory.

Inventory Management Software
Historically speaking, many companies used Excel spreadsheets to track and monitor their inventory. However, spreadsheets are not effective and accurate ways to manage large amounts of inventory. Warehouses and organizations with large inventories simply cannot function without a modern inventory management software system that provides real-time updates, standardized processes and centralized information. Inventory management software allows management to pull customized reports at any time in order to identify, analyze and solve problems. Keep in mind that software programs centralize both demand and supply data, so management can quickly find available suppliers and warehouses with space to ship items.

Utilize Safety Stock Levels
Inventory management software programs have embedded statistical formulas that can produce accurate sales forecasts that are used to predict stock levels for all inventory items. Besides forecasting sales, inventory management programs will have customized minimum in-stock counts for every item and supplier. Even better, inventory management programs can automatically order items in high demand from trusted suppliers. However, it is important to have a professional relationship established with suppliers who ship items that are in high demand. Otherwise, unscrupulous suppliers may simply over ship items that they are trying to remove from their own inventory.

Micromanage Target Items
Not all inventory items are created equal, nor should they be treated equally. Items will all have varying costs, valuation methods and consumer demand. The inventory management system will be able to properly track every item’s pricing and lead times. However, most warehouses assign their items one of three categories, the top being the most expensive, highly demanded items and the bottom being the most common or cheapest items. Therefore, warehouse managers should pay more attention to the most expensive and important items that directly impact revenue and costs.

Vendor Report Cards
Warehouses and organizations with large inventories depend on reliable and honest suppliers to deliver their products in a timely manner. However, there are always certain suppliers who struggle to be on time, delivery accurate shipments and even submit accurate invoices. Therefore, management should consider regularly reviewing supplier performances. Based on their findings, management can reward high performers with more business and reduce business to poor performers. If necessary, management should consider ending their contractual partnership with suppliers who consistently fail to perform well and cooperate with the company. Eliminating the poorest performers will automatically help streamline inventory operations.

In closing, streamlining a warehouse is a continually challenging job of communication and coordination. However, it can be accomplished through inventory management software programs, focusing on items in high demand and regularly assessing vendor performance.

Commercial Truck Insurance: Getting a Quote

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If your business uses a vehicle for commercial purposes, you likely are required to purchase commercial truck insurance rather than private insurance. More than that, there are special coverage requirements in place for commercial vehicles that you must comply with as well, and these vary by state. It is important to understand these requirements as well as any other requirements that may be in place, such as from your truck lender, before you get a quote for coverage.

The Different Types of Commercial Truck Insurance Available
Just as there are different types of private vehicle insurance available, the same holds true for commercial vehicles. Most commercial vehicle owners will be required to purchase liability coverage that complies with state laws, and these typically are different than the liability coverage requirements for personal use vehicles. In addition, commercial truck insurance can include collision and comprehensive coverage as well as personal injury and contents coverage. If your truck will be used to haul equipment, products or other items, contents coverage can be very important.

How Your Use of the Truck Impacts Coverage Needs
The use of the commercial truck will dramatically impact coverage needs, and the type of truck that is being insured will also have an effect on coverage needs. In many locations, the coverage requirements for a pick-up truck used for commercial purposes will be different than a semi-truck or 18-wheeler. The types of products that are being transported as well as if passengers will be transported in the vehicle also will impact coverage needs. Those that are used to haul gasoline or hazardous chemicals, for example, may have significantly more substantial coverage requirements than those used to haul boxes of clothing.

Insuring a Fleet Versus an Individual Vehicle
Some small businesses may only have one or two vehicles that need to be insured, but others may have a fleet of commercial trucks that need insurance. Some insurance companies specialize in insuring fleets, and they may provide you with a better overall rate in some cases when you insure the entire fleet with them. However, it is generally a wise idea to compare coverage options thoroughly to find the right plan at the right price.

If you have a commercial truck or several trucks that need to be insured, take time to learn more about the unique coverage requirements in place for each vehicle. In addition, learn about any specific lender requirements for the vehicles. These factors will provide you with the minimum coverage you need to shop for when gathering quotes, but you may consider the benefits of purchasing additional coverage even if it is not required. These tips can help you to ensure that your vehicles are fully insured and that you comply with all local rules and regulations.