While employees may dread their annual stock checks, there’s no denying that stock control is crucially important to manufacturers. Without an effective stock control system in place, you’re blind to the assets you have. You’re not ignorant of how many employees are on your payroll, so why would you ignore the stock levels within your business?
Whether it’s the raw materials or the end product, stock is the lifeblood of manufacturing businesses, so it’s imperative that you’re fully clued up about your existing levels. If your existing stock control system is letting you down, read on. In this blog post, I examine the common inefficiencies of stock control systems and how you can avoid them.
We can’t say it enough; manufacturers need to kill the spreadsheet. Despite our continued warnings about Excel’s inefficiencies, many still continue to rely on this software for the wrong processes — including stock control.
If you’re still relying on a manual stock control system, you could be wasting valuable time and resources. While it may work for small-scale businesses with minimal stock, in the majority of cases manual systems are wholly ineffective.
As an isolated system, the data is often difficult to access, as it is localised on a specific device. By using spreadsheets, you also introduce elements of human error, as you’ll rely heavily on manual data input. Of course, as Microsoft Excel was not designed to support this type of activity, it becomes incredibly labour-intensive, meaning you’re essentially wasting time that could be better spent elsewhere.
So what’s the alternative? ERP software — with a dedicated stock control module takes the legwork out of managing your stock levels, not just during your annual stock checks but all year round. This type of system offers a bird’s eye view of your company’s stock, enabling better management and reporting of stock levels.
Making the transition from your old, trusted spreadsheets can be daunting but once you’ve made the leap and experienced the benefits, you’ll never look back.
Identification of issues
As we’ve already mentioned, an improper stock control system not only leaves you ignorant of the stock you have, but also leaves you blind to any surplus items you may have. It’s very easy for stock to become hidden and forgotten about in overcrowded warehouses, leaving less successful products to go unnoticed until someone stumbles across them.
By implementing a more intelligent stock control system, you can identify unusually high stock levels early and decide how to rectify the issue. Surplus stock can be caused by a number of factors, including a decrease in demand. By having greater visibility of high stock levels, you can make more informed business decisions not just about your stock levels, but about the products you manufacture in the future.
Improve customer satisfaction
In the same way that stock levels can rise, low stock can pose big problems for manufacturers — potentially grinding processes to a halt. Without an effective system in place, stock levels become a guessing game, relying on whoever used it last to flag its dwindling numbers. In this scenario, there is a risk you will be unable to meet demand, resulting in decreased customer satisfaction.
With an effective system in place, you can ensure that these levels never drop too low. You’ll have a full view of both back and future orders, so you’ll always know how much material you need in comparison with what you already have available.
Annual stock checks
Many manufacturers choose to thoroughly check their stock on a yearly basis. However, due to the sheer scale of the task, this can be incredibly time-consuming and can often take a full day or longer to complete.
While these checks are on-going, manufacturing productivity can often be limited or even completely halted. As you’ll know, time is money, so the more time your business isn’t creating, the greater impact it will have on your profitability.
Of course, these in-depth stock checks are necessary, however, the right system can significantly reduce the time they take. Taking the stress out of auditing and reports, this system will simplify the processes, allowing you to concentrate your resources on more important matters and get right back to business.