Smart Inventory Practices

The past year has held many challenges, with inventory planning and successful fulfillment being a top one for many businesses. With multiple factors out of your control, it is more important than ever to ensure resources are being optimized and planning can be done quickly and effectively, making changes as required – sometimes daily, if necessary. Having structured inventory planning processes built into your Epicor ERP software can help identify risks in current inventory scenarios and forecast future needs. 

In our current times, a stockout could have dire repercussions on the ability to hold on to customers and ensure future business. On the opposite side of the equation, holding on to too much inventory, particularly SKUs that are not moving, is just as damaging, reducing your cash flow and contributing to higher costs of inventory. The ability to pivot in the current climate can be crucial to ensuring ongoing success. Epicor has multiple programs and processes within its Supply Chain Management umbrella that will help an organization stay flexible and manage their inventory closely. At a base level, using the planning parameters on the part master is one of the first steps for setting up monitoring and controls. Keeping a close eye on the minimum, maximum and safety stock levels on each part and regularly analyzing this data can ensure that high running SKUs are kept in stock and less popular items are either not stocked or at a much lower level. The thought of keeping this amount of data up to date can appear daunting, however with the use of the Data Management Tool, mass sets of data can be exported to Excel, updated, and then mass imported back into the system, limiting the amount of data entry that may be required.

Making use of the Generate PO Suggestions process can help lessen the workload of buyers, particularly important in today’s climate when finding new or backup suppliers can be consuming a lot of bandwidth. Based on the min/max/safety stock settings, along with approved suppliers and lead times, Epicor will create suggestions on when materials need a purchase order created for them to arrive in time for production or shipping. This can help move your organization closer to a Just-In-Time environment, allowing for less cash to be tied up in inventory sitting on the shelves.

Reduced administration costs – less purchase orders, reduced numbers of expedites, can also be achieved in part by using the Requisition portion of the system. Built to address purchase order requests for items not directly production related (such as MRO, office supplies, etc.), the requisition process maintains the requests for such items within Epicor to help streamline the process. This can help reduce the number of daily interruptions a buyer can experience in answering questions, following up with suppliers, and so on.  The process works on a scaled down type of workflow, where requests are entered directly into Epicor with all the required information and then any number of approvals can be made prior to the requisition ending up in a buyer’s PO Suggestions list. 

The Buyers Workbench acts as a tool to capture Request for Quotations for either raw materials or subcontracting services. Each RFQ can have multiple lines with the ability to capture pricing from multiple suppliers on each line. By setting a list of attributes, the suppliers can be tagged with those relevant to them, allowing a buyer to easily capture and review which supplier best meets the necessary requirements as well as providing the best price. 

The inventory management tools available in Epicor ERP are much more than just those mentioned, and by incorporating some, or all, an organization should begin to realize the benefits of stronger inventory controls. All of this can lead to the desired result of happier customers, improved cash flow, and a stronger, healthier business. 

 
To learn more about how you can optimize your Epicor Kinetic 2021 (formerly Epicor ERP E10) environment to help drive inventory reductions and increase service levels, be sure to reach out to any Teccweb consultant or send any questions and feedback to info@teccweb.com. Also check out our other blog posts for further information on other Epicor modules and functionality.

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