In order to properly manage any inventory, you must keep track of how frequently your inventory "turns." For the hardware you need to do business, this means keeping a record of when you use up any shipment in its entirety. By determining the number of "turns" you require each year or month, you can estimate the right order quantities to keep the workflow going. Managing hardware inventory helps you keep both your budget and your production on track. Here are some tips on keeping essential items available.
Know What Hardware You Need
Evaluate the types of hardware you need to keep on hand. If you manufacture a range of appliances, you likely need the necessary WESTport air gauges, taps, and tubing for every product you work on. Don’t overlook the need for lab-quality test equipment like calipers and micrometers to maintain quality.
Follow marketing trends for your industry. If demand for some items are falling and rising for others, prioritize your budget and storage space to support more popular product or service lines. Liquidate any dead items.
Determine Safe Stock Levels
Review past records and determine the minimum quantities you need on hand to meet fluctuating demand. Be certain you allocate just enough storage room to accommodate appropriate stock levels. You can even lower safe stock levels if you have fast lead times from vendors. Try to maintain a realistic minimum stock level for every bit of hardware you need.
Keep in mind that space equals money, so the more time your unsold products sit in your warehouse or storage area, the more potential money you are losing. Business owners must walk that tightrope between not having enough product to fill orders, and having too much product that won’t sell and simply takes up space. If you’ve found yourself with way too much product, you may want to consider liquidating it and replacing it with new items.
For all but the smallest company, a computerized system is a good investment. Even a basic spreadsheet or desktop database system can help you maintain neat, orderly transactions records such as order dates, cost, invoice numbers, and storage locations. You can also generate reports as you need them, or set alerts for low stock levels. Think about instituting an RFID bar code system so that this information can be quickly scanned into the system.
To ensure that inventory systems are properly followed, you should provide some security for your hardware. Store it in a designated section and place cameras in the area. Only assigned personnel should be authorized to remove anything from storage. Consider adding RFID tags to pallets or bins that can trigger an alert if large caches of essential parts are removed.
By establishing and monitoring stock levels for every bit of hardware you need, you’ll ensure that you’re never caught short-handed. If you don’t have what you need, productivity comes to a screeching halt.