Each day can seem like a race, with the finish line being perpetually moved just out of reach. Your email queue continually regenerates itself and your task list probably requires supernatural multitasking abilities. Working smarter is an imperative, not a choice. But where to start? There is an abundance of time management gurus who advocate “7, 10 or 20 ways, tips or skills” that are guaranteed to “save your precious time” or “hone your time management skills” or even “improve your life!” Included in these topics are setting goals and drawing up task lists, prioritising and scheduling, focussing and avoiding distractions, delegating and learning to say “NO”, and so on. If only it was so simple…
Enter technology, an enabler to help you get things done quicker and smarter – right? ERP systems exist to crunch the numbers, but in order to quickly and easily make decisions, you need systems that distil that information in a way that can potentially transform your business. Your Inventory Management System is no exception. Make sure your inventory information is clear and concise.
Check that your Inventory Management System:
- Compiles metrics that are usable
- Highlights areas to be managed by exception. Information must be dynamic and presented succinctly – too much information will dilute your endeavours.
Usable metrics are those that channel your focus and initiate decision making. Beware of vanity metrics which typically report a number in isolation. They tend to generate responses like “Wow, so what should I do with this info?” This type of metric’s only real use is for their feel-good value. Metrics need to be meaningful — if you find yourself doing mental arithmetic to make sense of a metric, you probably should change the metric! Showing rates and comparisons lends real-world weight to metrics. Don’t hide from offending metrics – they are actually a call to action to fix broken processes, which is always a good use of your time.
The practice of management by exception also goes a long way to use your time effectively, whereby attention is focused only on those areas in need of action. Better still, what if those exceptions were ranked by the impact on your business? Now you can deal with the biggest issues first, knowing that every issue you resolve is having a significant impact of the health of your inventory. This is the most effective way to get the most out of each day and to drive more profit from your inventory.
The ideal venue to view metrics and foster management by exception is a user-friendly dashboard. The NETSTOCK dashboard is a perfect example of how key metrics indicate a company’s inventory health. Note how the metrics show period comparisons, benchmarks, targets. Crucially, the NETSTOCK dashboard shows the most problematic items within each metric so you can take immediate action to improve your processes every day.