Is it the processes that I put in place? Is it the software I implement? Sure, the processes in place define the parameters for your management to work within. And the software you choose is imperative to how your inventory data is analyzed, aligned to goals and presented for action. When done correctly, both can make your life a lot easier and less tedious than you thought possible.
However, in the 25 years I’ve been a part of the inventory management software business, I have found that it’s the people you put in charge of your inventory processes that make the most impact on your overall success. Sure, a software solution can help organize your data, alert you of potential threats and even suggest next steps, but it’s how you (and your team) configure the alerts and act on this information that really make the biggest impact on your success.
While many of these practices and software are put in place to minimize human error, there’s nothing that can replace the unrivaled ability we have for intuition and common sense. Ensuring team members are properly trained on the tools they use and are up to date on best practices is the single most effective improvement you can make to your inventory management operations. And training them to simply run reports or respond to alerts isn’t enough. There’s a fine line between automating processes and automating people. A proactive approach to inventory management depends on having a team that is empowered to analyze, question, and apply knowledge to the data that is collected from your procedures and software. Without their expertise your inventory management processes and software are less than optimal.
So the single most important practice is in inventory management? Investing in the continued education and development of the people who manage your inventory.