What’s wrong with the world these days!
That’s the first thought that crossed my mind when I recently heard about Revlon losing out on business due to the failure of SAP implementation. How could a big cosmetic giant like Revlon get into such a big mess!
But Revlon is not the first one with SAP/ERP integration failure, several popular and big companies have got into this trap.
Revlon experienced shipping delays and lost sales due to production stoppages at its main production plant in North Carolina. And the worst is that Revlon didn’t get to know of this issue till mid-2019.
“Revlon failed at a S/4HANA implementation back in Feb of 2017 and this failure came to light in a quarterly call in March of 2019.”
After thoroughly reading a case study on it I realized that Revlon could have avoided the fall. Had Revlon not listened to its consultants, it could have saved itself from getting into this mess of class action lawsuit.
Such a grave delay in knowing about the exact inventory present with the warehouses and the prediction of producing the inventory could have been easily better managed by using a SAAS (Software As A Service) based on perpetual inventory management software.
Here are 5 top features of SAAS based inventory management software that Revlon shouldn’t have ignored.
Feature # 1: Real-time updates
SAP/ ERP solutions are kind of outdated for managing inventory expertly as it is a periodic system, meaning it needs updating periodically at every specific stipulated time.
One of the biggest advantages of switching to SAAS based software is that you can view all the inventory, shipping details in near to real-time. Unlike SAP/ERP, SAAS is a perpetual inventory management system. Several companies use automated software as it can scan barcodes or RFID tags as and when the product comes into the facility or when it goes out of the facility. Hence, the entries are done immediately and therefore reflected in the stock count in real-time.
Not only this, the automated system can connect to various other applications and update them automatically, such as update the accounts in QuickBooks or Xero, update the stock count across multiple sales channels. All this can be achieved online in real-time without hassles.
Feature # 2: Kanban inventory system
“Production capabilities and inventory recovery has been slower than expected, affecting our current order fulfillment levels.” said Revlon in their Annual reports.
Such a scenario of not meeting the demands of the market can prove hazardous for any business no matter how big a company is! Hence, having an estimate of future orders and producing the goods accordingly is a must.
Orderhive allows you to stay on top of all your orders with a Kanban view. “The first Kanban inventory system was developed by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota Automotive, the aim of which was to tackle inadequate & inefficient production; and to control inventory optimally.”
Kanban system (‘visual signal’ or ’card’ in Japanese) is a visual scheduling system related to just-in-time (JIT) production that tells you ‘what – when – how much’ to produce. Kanban system visualizes both – the workflow and the actual work passing through the flow.
In this way, it helps avoid supply disruption and overstocking of stock or raw materials at any stage in the value chain.
Feature #3: Automation
Updating the system manually is such an old school thing these days and that’s one of the reasons why legacy systems like SAP- ERP fail.
Automation is the NEW revolution in the inventory management field. There are nearly 750 different kinds of automation on Orderhive and each one is used for a unique purpose. For example, you have reached to low stock level for a particular SKU. But you already know that the product is in high demand so you know you need to re-stock that particular item asap. With automation, all you’ve got to do is set a trigger based action and the system will automatically send a purchase order to your supplier without manual interference.
Simply create automation by selecting the relevant triggers and actions on Orderhive.
Feature #4: Maintaining stock and stock counting perpetually
Do you keep a regular check on your bank account balance? Or let’s say, how often do you keep a check on the groceries stocked in your home? I believe, the answer would be quite frequently…right. So it should be for stock counting in your warehouse or store as well.
Revlon could not keep up with the order fulfillment due to shortages of stock. This could have been avoided if regular stock counting was done – may it be weekly, monthly, quarterly.
Now I understand doing a stock count is not that easy and a team of employees might have to stay back after work hours to do it. But as they say it “it is the necessary evil.”
A regular and streamlined stock count helps in accurately tracking inventory, easily recognize errors in stocking, prevents overstocking, etc. An efficient warehouse management software can take care of keeping the stock count dexterously. As soon as the new stock arrives, it is entered into the system and as and when the barcodes are scanned for the outgoing items it will deduct from the stock automatically. Hence, helping you to get a clear picture of your stock from time to time.
The software can provide essential stock details such as available stock, out-going stock, on-hand stock, as well as incoming stock.
You can also view all the products whose status is ‘low stock’ on a single screen.
Apart from this, you can also get weekly or monthly reports or even same-day reports for sharing it amongst the colleagues in the company. This real-time syncing helps the supply chain manager to stay on top of the business game at all times.
Feature #5: Safety stock system/software that calculates automatically
Do you remember the good old days when you need extra funds for buying that one MORE toy or book? And the piggy bank came your rescue to cover up your extra expenses when you were a kid? Consider safety stock as a piggy bank that comes to your rescue in your times of need.
Having a safety stock is a must for every business.
But how do you know how much of safety stock do you need to keep? Luckily, there are a couple of software out there that help you to calculate the safety stock automatically. So that you never have to worry about stock-outs.
The software helps in syncing your sales history and product information and do demand forecasting for each of your products. You will replenishment reports, purchase reports, bulk replenishment reports, etc. using the automatic software.
You can also create a separate label for marking your safety stock so that you don’t end up using it unnecessarily before it is actually needed. For example, Orderhive has the facility to tag the inventory as ‘saleable’ and ‘non-saleable’. Now we already know that safety stock is never listed in the inventory system but in Orderhive it is possible to label the safety stock as non-saleable or non- pickable inventory. This helps in keeping a tap on the safety stock easily.
Had Revlon kept a check on their safety stock they might not have faced any challenges in order fulfillment. And just that, maybe just that could have rescued them a tad bit from a bigger failure that SAP implementation brought with it.
I have touched upon only the most essential features that help in maintaining the stocks and inventory optimally. However, there are several other features that you should explore for optimizing your inventory so that you never run into a business crisis. Hope this article helps you to avoid the major pitfalls related to inventory management.
Krishna Jani is a content specialist with 10+ years of experience in the field. Presently working as a professional writer for Orderhive, no.1 inventory management software that powers several businesses all across the world. She is an avid birder and nature lover who loves to explore national parks and wildlife sanctuaries during her leisure time.
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