What’s holding your operational processes back?
Are you plagued with communication delays from your suppliers and vendors - discovering a change in availability only after it’s too late? Are you spending too much money on storage fees for inventory - most of which you don’t even need to have on hand? Well, there’s a tried-and-true inventory management principle that’ll get you exactly where you need to be, just in time.
What is Just-in-Time (JIT) Inventory Management?
Just-in-time inventory management is a strategy that coordinates the delivery of supplies directly with the production and fulfillment schedule. In contrast to a traditional inventory model, or a “just-in-case” method, goods are received only as they are needed - reducing waste and inventory costs. Just-in-time inventory management typically involves implementing some levels of automation, barcoding, and cloud communication. Employing this operational principle can be effective for many growing distributors and manufacturers looking for a more lean approach.
If your business is growing (we hope it is), then you’ll need to be proactive about the pains that come with scaling your operations. Manually placing orders for supplies to keep up with growing demand can become tedious and leave room for inaccuracy. Implementing automation practices associated with just-in-time management keeps you from unnecessarily overcomplicating the process while minimizing the amount of inventory on hand and making room for efficiencies.
How JIT Inventory Management Can Impact Your Business
Just-in-time management through a reliable, cloud-based ERP helps prevent costly overages or shortages and unexpected delays by enabling instantaneous communication. There is a plethora of advantages that come with a just-in-time strategy, but here are the top five reasons your business should use it:
- Get access to more of your cash flow. Cash is king. And no one wants to have the majority of it sunk into excess inventory. With just-in-time management, you’re only investing in what you need when you need it, giving you a lot more breathing room to use that cash for just about anything else.
- Create time efficiencies and increase productivity. In nearly all industries (especially within manufacturing and distribution), time equals money. Lead time can be significantly reduced when you know that you can expect supplies to arrive at the exact time you need them for production. Taking out the guesswork saves time and effort for everyone involved so that the entire team can focus on what really matters - getting things done.
- Increase responsiveness. Communication delays can cripple operations: if you don’t know there’s a problem, it’s pretty hard to respond to it. By being able to connect anytime, anywhere, and with ease, there’s nothing standing in the way of communication between you and your customers or vendors. If there ever is a hiccup with a delivery, your ERP solution can tell you exactly which order the delayed supplies were meant for - keeping you in the loop for a quick solution.
- Minimize warehouse stock. Is it making you any money if you’re not using it? Probably not. Warehouse fees can get expensive and the more stock you have, the higher the overhead will likely be. Being proactive with just-in-time management saves you the headache of overseeing more than you need to.
- Reduce waste while increasing quality assurance. The just-in-time method trims operational waste by only supplying exactly what’s needed for use. A benefit that often accompanies this level of insight and control is improved product quality. Who doesn’t want that?
It’s important to remember that in order to fully benefit from implementing Just-in-Time inventory and supply chain management, you must first understand and be able to accurately predict your customer demand and seasonal sales cycles. This ensures that the right formula is used to produce the right solution.
Match Your ERP with Industry-Leading Support
Acumatica offers the flexibility to update and manage inventory quantities on the go, so that you can actually reap the benefits of real-time operational insights. The Warehouse Management System (WMS) - part of the Acumatica Distribution Edition - also integrates seamlessly with Acumatica Commerce Edition to improve accuracy and maximize sales and production. Acumatica WMS pairs with third-party EDI software and tracks lot and serial numbers with a quick scan, so that you know where all of your inventory is all the time.
Choosing a great ERP alone isn’t enough, however.