Last week I launched my website, www.lemantis.ch, in case you haven’t discovered it yet. It’s great that I can put it in the spotlight by means of this post, but that is not the intention of my message today. What I want to discuss is how it struck me that the project of building a website, shows many similarities with an inventory optimisation project.
At first, I considered the option of building a website all by myself. I have never built one before and I don’t know much about it, but with the help of a good software, a solid manual and some YouTube videos, it wouldn’t be too difficult, I thought. There are certainly plenty out there like me, who succeeded in creating a great website. In the end, I decided to hire professional assistance. And I’m glad I took this decision! When looking back, I already invested a lot of time in writing texts, reviewing, checking the layout, reading again and again … so I don’t want to know how much time I would have spent if I also had to figure out the technical part (menu, page structure, links, etc.) from scratch.
To be honest, my website might never have been finished. You know the thing, you start with good cheer, but after a while you get reluctant to continue, because you see too little progress. And probably, other priorities will come on your path, leading to a complete standstill. Before you know, six months have passed and you have not gotten further than a semi-finished version.
The same actually applies when you want to optimise your inventory management. You often realise that you have too much stock, due to an ever-expanding product range, due to obsolete stock that is piling up or simply because you feel the pressure on your cash flow.
Optimise inventory management: do it yourself or get some help?
Almost as often, however, you might be lacking the right people, the knowledge, or the time to decently set up a project and really tackle the issue. Usually some one-off actions are taken, like sending a list of old stock to the sales team or cleaning up one specific corner of the warehouse. But the process behind inventory remains the same and within a couple of months or within a year, you will face the same problems and realise that nothing has really changed.
Wouldn’t you be better off if you asked help from a professional with experience? Someone who does not only guide you step by step from the analysis phase to the creation of an action plan, but who also supports you in the implementation of that plan. Does that mean there is nothing to do for you? Obviously not… you have to make sure the necessary data are available, you have to dare to open up to new ideas and very importantly, you have to make decisions. But the project is set up in such a way that you will see results in the end: less inventory, better service for your customers, more space in your warehouse, thus also the positive impact on your operating result that comes along.
It is also important to embed a number of new processes in your organisation after the project: follow up and discuss KPIs, regularly adjust inventory parameters, etc. Just like my web designer taught me how to edit articles or photos on my website or how to upload my blog, your employees should be trained in the general principles of inventory management to keep up the work after completion of the project.
You often know you have to tackle your inventory issues, but it is not always easy to get started and to hang in there. By reaching out for external support, you can build on a solid project approach, knowledge and experience and you have the commitment to complete a project and thus benefit from the result. Moreover, you ensure that inventory management will be embedded in your organization so you do not run into the same problems again in a year’s time.
If you have staff in-house with the necessary analysis and project management skills, and you could free up some of their time to set up an inventory optimization project, then that is what I would advise you to do. If you don’t have those people or they are already busy with various other projects, do not hesitate to reach out to me and we can discuss how I can help.