Operations and Management: Low-Tech Inventory Control

Even if you don’t have the resources of an Office Depot or a Lands’ End, you can still improve your inventory flow and better communicate with vendors.

  • Try developing staged shipping commitments — having vendors deliver goods at prescheduled, staggered stages, rather than all at once. This will free up space in your warehouse while also enabling you to modify your order should demand be less than anticipated.
  • Negotiate shorter lead times — say, three to four weeks from the time you order merchandise to the time it’s delivered. By enabling you to make inventory decisions closer to the time you will actually need the product, shorter lead times make forecasting more accurate, reducing the need to keep “safety stock” on hand.

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