Inventory moving in and out is at the core of any warehouse management system (WMS). The real power and heavy lifting is how it can process the inventory data. One needs to be able to see the volume of inventory that has come in and gone out. One will also need to see where your inventory is, be able to make projections and create reports that will address your future needs. With this information one will have the visibility on where strengths and weaknesses lie.
Before you create any report(s) one must be clear on what the overall objectives are:
- Moving inventory in and out?
- Moving inventory through transactional processes?
- Are PO’s and SO’s utilized?
- Is there manufacturing or kit building involved?
- Account for spillage, spoilage or loss?
- Cost and rate taken into account and will you want margin reported on?
You will want these items defined before looking at the data that your inventory management is collecting.
Analysis of Inventory Data
After assessing your process you will begin to examine the data collected by your inventory management system.
- Do transactions populate client data?
- Are there dates and time stamps for transactions?
- Is there an audit trail for system actions like adding and removing inventory that is not attached to a transaction?
- Does you WMS address a manufacturing process?
- Price and rate attached to products?
- Are there lot numbers, lot information and serial numbers attached to the inventory?
Once you have analyzed the inventory data is being collected by your WMS, then you can chart out your reporting. Many warehouse management systems will come with default reports. You may want to review the defaults and see if you need to create any custom reports.
We listed some standard reports that we feel are a must have:
Picking: This report will address what is being picked and when. Time audits and filter this report on time frame, quantities, part names and users.
Vendor/Supplier: Statistics on your suppliers can provide insight on your relationship with vendors. Understanding the performance, complaint history, returns, and information about specific products helps with the overall management of inventory. How much product have you received? Which products? Filtered by vendor, product and date received.
Inventory On Hand: This is the center of a WMS. Knowing what you have and more importantly where you have it can save time and energy. Looking for product and staying on top of inventory is essential.
Low or No Stock: Making sure your space is used effectively and stock levels are kept up. Having a report that shows your bin locations is very helpful. What has moved in and out of those bins and what bins are low and empty will help keep up stock levels.
Shipments by Customer: Where are your sales coming from? Who are your frequent customers? Locations and information about shipping can help you optimize your shipments. You can filter this report on location, customer, product, rate and date.
Cycle Counts: Keeping an accurate inventory is a must in today’s fast paced marketplace. Waiting for year end to perform an inventory count is a thing of the past. Performing regular or spot cycle counts can show you discrepancies that might not otherwise be seen. In this report you will want to see scope of the count, location, product, user who did the count and date.
In summary, the backbone of a WMS is the data. With confidence in the inventory data collected you will be able to stay on top of your inventory and make educated decisions regarding you levels, movements and projections. Reach out to us and ask us how we can help with your inventory data.