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By Richard Haugen • August 23, 2017

Where The Heck Is My Inventory? (Part 1 of 4)

Inventory Management

Where did my inventory go - Cloud ERP

Executive Summary

In a world shaped by a seemingly unlimited purchasing power and options wrought by the internet age, there is no greater challenge than taking on this market as the producer of a consumer product. On the one hand, you must fight through the noise of what sometimes feels like never-ending opposition and competition. On the other hand, smart marketing and logistics management—along with precise social listening—can create absolute brand alchemy.

The real challenge is much more terrestrial: what the heck do I do with all this product? And once it’s sold, where the heck did it go? Where do I ship it in the future to meet demand?

It is, in short, a matter of making, shipping, and storing stuff.

Meanwhile, your customers might find your product on Pinterest while searching for an only tangentially related term. Or they might happen to follow one of your promotional partners on Snapchat and catch a few seconds of video and set off in a search. Or maybe they see your product on an old-fashioned billboard on the side of the road. No matter how the customer gets into the funnel, you want them all to get to the same place: the credit card entry page.

Such is the unpredictability of ecommerce–or it would be if you didn’t employ the knowledge of a market-savvy enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to help you anticipate and plan for new markets and brand development. In the world of consumer packaged goods, being able to see exactly where your fast-moving products are going and adjusting in real time can save you thousands over the lifetime of your brand.

If you’re doing things right, your needs will change as your business and logistics needs scale up. If you’re doing things extremely right, you will need an experienced ERP focused company that can be with you as your needs scale, giving you transparent and honest expenses on a fixed-price, fixed scope contract.

As the e-commerce universe expands and reaches into social media, legacy media, and adds a new wrinkle to the challenges of paid and organic search strategies, you should be able to see a complete view of your supply chain, inventory, and sales. Processes should be seamlessly repeatable and should work with your existing SAP-compatible system. It should also reflect the efficiency and operational excellence of a 10-year Gold Partner for SAP, such as Navigator Business Solutions.

The market changes instantly, and Navigator Business Solutions can create an ERP solution that scales to fit your business’s needs. Product excellence and completing work on-time, on-budget, and to the exact scope your business needs is what makes Navigator the unquestioned leader in cloud-based e-commerce solutions across a diverse roster of consumer packaged goods.

Introduction

The manufacturing and selling of consumer products can be fickle markets, and not just from a marketing and demand stimulation perspective. If you’re in the market of producing physical products and getting them into your customer’s hands, your list of outside challenges goes from stimulating and maintaining demand to worrying about competitors copying your product or marketing message— for example, having a generic overseas company undercut you with a cheaper but similar-looking product. Add onto this the shipping complications like weather and natural disasters, and it becomes a multi-headed Severus in need of constant management.

Important Inventory Questions To Consider

But how can you manage your inventory and logistics if you are trying to respond with solutions to old reports? If one of your distribution locations is damaged by a hurricane or flood and you need to shift your inventory to cover the losses and meet the demand and would you be able to do it accurately to prevent unnecessary product shifting? Would you be able to meet a sudden explosion of demand in a local market following your product being featured on a local television station? Would you have the data accuracy and agility to grow into markets where there’s a burgeoning need for your product? If you needed to speed up your shipping, would you know exactly where to place your extra warehouse help to maximize your budget and logistics speed?

Data Driven Inventory

Without the most accurate data available about your supply chain, inventory, and logistics, you’re basing your most important business decisions on old data, and you’re not responding to the immediate needs of the market. If you’re a small to mid-sized business with a few million dollars in stored inventory, being accurate within 10 percent translates to savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In the age of digitally-driven sales, the idea of “going national” or expanding into one region at a time is not an ideal model for the small and mid-size consumer product manufacturer.The old model requires massive ramp-ups in production, requiring companies to gamble on their marketing departments to stimulate desire in new markets, and requiring massive spending for logistics and warehouse storage. But the digital market doesn’t require this same kind of risk, as the availability of instant, real-time inventory management combined with built in tools should be central to your Enterprise Resource Planning solution.

 

In this series, you will discover the myriad ways cloud-based ERP solutions can help you run a more efficient business, adapt to growth needs, and control back-end costs while allowing you to spend more time on your business and less time running reports. Now, you can use real time data to respond to the market in real time—allowing you to capture every customer on every channel through which they might find your brand and product.

 

Continue to part 2