Skip To The Main Content
Main Navigation Toggle

Inventory Management

  • Cycle Counting by the Probabilities

    Why the best systems weigh the inventory-variance odds
    • David Ross
    September/October 2016

    The most effective cycle counting programs reflect the realities of managing inventory in a dynamic environment. Within successful frameworks such as these, inventory managers are able to reach their inventory accuracy goals and balance the cost of cycle counting with the cost of analyzing variance causes and maintaining accuracy controls. Unfortunately, many programs suffer from ambiguity and imprecision related to the mechanics of assembling the cycle counting system. Furthermore, too many inventory managers struggle to determine the optimum cycle for item review, how many items to count, and how to use cycle counting results to continuously improve record accuracy.......Read More

  • Don’t Alienate Your Inventory Managers

    Intelligent life forms put turnover responsibility in its proper space
    • Randall Schaefer
    • Deb Smith
    September/October 2016

    Inventory turnover is a powerful marker. It communicates a company’s inventory management values, compares one business’s inventory velocity to that of similar firms, measures internal trends, and sets the desired standard for group and individual goal attainment.......Read More

  • Achieving Inventory Nirvana

    Get there by analyzing turns levels in context
    • Dave Turbide
    July/August 2016

    Do you know the current inventory turns measurement for your company? Do you have a goal for improving that performance? These are important questions for any company that has inventory.......Read More

  • Amplified Availability

    Spare parts inventory simulations hone network operations
    • Margaret S. Wise
    • David K. Peterson
    • Vitali Volovoi
    July/August 2016

    Today’s communication networks, air traffic control systems, national electrical grids, unmanned aircraft systems, and numerous other industries depend on complex systems or systems of systems—that require a delicate balance of component functionalities to achieve a greater common objective. It makes sense that these highly engineered and intricate tools dictate a correspondingly sophisticated level of support.......Read More

  • Powering Your SKUs with Data

    Automated statistical analysis drives inventory management efforts
    • Thomas R. Willemain
    July/August 2016

    Supply chain and operations management professionals recognize the importance of inventory management to both customer satisfaction and cost control. They also understand the inherent tension between the goals of customer satisfaction and cost control: In short, doing better on one puts a strain on the other. Easing this tension relies on finding the optimal balance point where Customer Relations goals can be met with the lowest possible inventory investment.......Read More

  • Got Holes in Your Books?

    Don’t be blind to purchase price variance mischief
    • Deb Smith
    • Randall Schaefer
    July/August 2016

    Metrics such as inventory turns, on-time shipments, production efficiency, and the like are woven into the fabric of most manufacturing operations in order to gain control over production and costs. But each has the potential to be subverted for personal advantage. The most-often-abused metric is purchase price variance (PPV). ......Read More

  • Get Repair Parts Right

    Military Inventory-Planning Model Offers Universal Lessons
    • Michael Brackney
    • Steven Hurt
    May/June 2016

    When a new weapon system is introduced, program managers aim to implement a system-maintenance model that will increase performance, reduce costs, provide timely execution and responsive service, and facilitate sustainable supply chain management. One way they work to achieve these objectives is through an interim period of support from the system’s prime contractor, who almost certainly has the most intimate knowledge of the weapon system and its subsystems.......Read More

  • On-the-Mark Innovations

    RFID targets superior work-in-process, inventory, and quality controls
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    January/February 2016

    At American Woodmark Corporation, kitchen and bathroom cabinets are built to order using more than 500 product lines and while holding no finished goods inventory. The build process on an individual project starts only when an order is placed and processed, and each kitchen or bathroom cabinet is manufactured in sequence for delivery to the customer’s home. ......Read More

  • New-Fashioned MRP

    Incorporating lean features may bring about success
    • Dave Turbide
    July/August 2015

    In the long-running debate about push versus pull in planning and management, the two sides typically are exemplified by material requirements planning (MRP) on the push side and lean on the pull. The basic arguments are as follows.......Read More

  • Spare Parts Strengthen the Whole

    How to optimize this essential inventory without hurting service levels
    • Shawn Tay
    • Jozo Acksteiner
    May/June 2015

    It’s crucial for spare parts supply chains to have the necessary inventory at the right time and right place to meet Customer Relations performance expectations. Inventory reduction initiatives therefore typically are considered off-limits in the after-sale-support supply chain. However, the following strategies make it possible to identify opportunities for optimization, significantly reduce inventory, and maintain service levels.......Read More

  • Buyer Aware

    Expert purchasing professionals earn recognition
    • Mark S. Miller
    May/June 2015

    Most company leaders believe purchasing’s primary objective to be cost reduction. Some buyers assume that getting low prices from their suppliers is the only way to achieve this goal. However, there are five other important aspects of a purchaser’s job that can significantly affect the bottom line.......Read More

  • Reconsidering Inventory Rationale

    New ways to reduce stock and save
    • Dave Turbide
    May/June 2015

    The main reason for keeping inventory is to save time; that is, it enables a business to provide products or parts in less time than it takes to make or buy them. The technical term for that is decoupling—defined in the APICS Dictionary as “creating independence between supply and use of material.”......Read More

  • The Agile Supply Chain

    Responding to demand and variability yields real results
    • Simon Eagle
    • John Earley
    March/April 2015

    The theories behind physics and mathematics, tested over years of practice, form the foundation of supply chain and operations management. But sometimes even the basic principles are lost in the day-to-day realities of running a business.......Read More

  • Completing the Link

    Consider drum-buffer-rope to limit inventory issues
    • William A. Levinson
    March/April 2015

    While containing an issue and eliminating an issue are different things, containment does help keep the problem from getting worse. This is the benefit of drum-buffer-rope (DBR) production control, a system that has held its own as a method for scheduling and managing operations that have an internal constraint or capacity-constrained resource (CCR). ......Read More

  • What’s in a Name?

    Planning is the essential ingredient
    • Dave Turbide
    January/February 2015

    Over the last several decades, there have been continuous strident voices in the marketplace declaring that material requirements planning (MRP) and enterprise resources planning (ERP) pursuits are worthless, antiquated, and obsolete.......Read More

  • Can You Bank on It?

    Evaluating the practicality of your component supply strategy
    • Randall Schaefer
    September/October 2014

    Sometimes the customer supplies free components, with the total price adjusted accordingly. When this is the case, it should be clear whether the supplier or the customer is responsible for ordering necessary components. ......Read More

  • Build to Suit

    Selecting an ERP solution that fits your business
    • Dave Turbide
    September/October 2014

    Enterprise resources planning (ERP) is not what it was 10 years ago, or even two years ago. The broad-based application suite that we call ERP is merely the current incarnation of a long line of offerings that date back to inventory management and bill of material software programs first developed over half a century ago.......Read More

  • Portion Control

    Reducing safety stock with a purchased-parts supermarket
    • Thomas Parker
    • Chris Harris
    September/October 2014

    Controlling the quantity and availability of inventory within a production system is one of the greatest challenges faced by supply chain and operations management professionals. One effective system to help manage this task is a centralized storage location for manufacturing components—a purchased-parts supermarket. ......Read More

  • Set It to Automatic

    Ensuring accurate inventory records every time
    • Dave Turbide
    July/August 2014

    Your information system and the plans, recommendations, and alerts it gives you are only as good as your data. The most fundamental data reveals inventory balances and availability. ......Read More

  • When Good Strategies Go Bad

    The importance of staying in sync
    • Randall Schaefer
    July/August 2014

    The most frustrating consulting assignment I ever had involved “Company X,” which hired me to help control its ballooning inventory. The general manager told me he wanted to fire the materials manager, but needed an outside opinion. ......Read More