Best Stock Practices

If you have inventory for sale, the items you sell either are stored at your own location or are kept at another location for drop-shipping to your customers. We can learn lessons about the drop-shipping process, singling out bad habits that many others commit that cause delays and inefficiencies that keep our products from reaching our customers with ease and speed.

A quick glance at the best processing systems, such as Amazon, bring us easy answers to how to avoid making mistakes that cause the delays that we hope to avoid with our own products. Take a look at the following video to learn how some simple, common sense choices can be applied to our own shipping practices can make business smoother and quicker for all involved:

How Amazon Receives Your Inventory


Weightier Matters


Imagine taking delivery of 18 tons of rock from an ATM machine. That, in essence, is what Martin Marietta Materials Inc.’s automated, unattended, scaling system achieves.

‘Scaling’ in IT usually means adding more servers; for Martin Marietta Materials, the term refers to weighing trucks full of materials.

Scaling is both expensive and challenging as it usually requires a full-time scale operator and a backup operator. Martin Marietta Materials has nearly 300 locations throughout North America.

For lesser-used quarries, Martin Marietta Materials’ Information Services team developed a remote scaling system that combines network-based cameras, wired and wireless networks, voice-over-IP intercom systems, remote desktops, traffic lights, message boards, remote ticket printers, and self-service kiosks.

Truck drivers can now swipe an RFID card with customer information, job number, truck number, and the empty truck weight, which then updates the company’s ERP system for invoicing. Martin Marietta Materials is using the remote scaling system at five sand and gravel plants in Ohio. A centralized team of scale operators could conceivably cover 30 weigh stations, however.


Bob Smith was sick of his job and was determined to find work elsewhere. But no matter how hard he tried, his reputation as someone who was not dedicated to the job, seemed to follow him around.

One day the phone rang at his office.  Although Bob did not usually pick up the phone, he picked it up and said hello.

“Hi,” said the man on the line, “I have an unusual question to ask you. I’m looking into a fellow Bob Smith for a position in my company. Do you know this fellow?”

“Sure I know him,” responded Bob with a smile.

“Tell me,” asked the man. “Is he consistent with his work? Does he always show up on time?”

“Well I’ll be honest with you,” Bob truthfully replied, “I’m not so consistent myself, but whenever I’m here he’s here!”

For Our Grandfathers

One of the things that our grandfathers never got the chance to see was something that the literature of their youth had promised. The Adventures of Buck Rogers had filled their young imaginations with excitement, fueled by the noble belief that doing the right thing was the only principle that mattered. While much of these values stemmed from each boy’s personal character, their innocent hearts longed for the adrenalin and the adventure of the way the world was going to exhibit in the future.

And so, for every old man who was once a boy, the following video would have filled their aching old muscles with a whole lot of hope and jump.

In Flight…finally

The Train Trip

kcsi_trainways“Excuse me sir,” said the man to one of the stewards on an Amtrak Train, “I always get nauseous when I go on trains, so I am going to to take a heavy sleeping pill, but please do whatever you can to make sure I get off when it stops in Baltimore. I really don’t want to miss my great aunt’s funeral.”

“Sure thing!” said the steward happily, we’ll make you sure you get off!”

Six hours later the train stopped in Washington D.C. and the man jumped out of his seat in a panic, “WHAT THE HECK! I ASKED YOU TO WAKE ME UP IN BALTIMORE!”

“Oh boy! He looks mad!” remarked the fellow behind him to his wife.

“Not half as mad as that other guy they carried off back in Baltimore,” she replied.

Best Year-End Practices 2

Here are a few more year-end questions you can ask yourself to gain a leg-up on next year:

  • Are all account reconciliations currently up to date to facilitate the closing of the books after year end?
  • Are there accounts receivable that should be reserved for or written off prior to the end of the year?
  • Are there any liabilities, for example, pending legal actions or warranty issues, which will need to be recorded prior to year end?
  • Are your accounting records up to date so that you can make a projection of how the current year will turn out?
  • Do you have a plan in place to properly “cut-off” revenue at year end to properly match revenue and expense?
  • Do you need to make arrangements to receive statements as of the end of the year for cash value of life insurance, loan balances, etc.?
  • Has depreciation on your fixed assets been recorded during the year? Have you considered depreciation on current year additions?
  • Have all new asset purchases and bank loans been recorded on your books?
  • If your business carries inventory, do you need to plan a physical count as of the end of the year?
  • Will there be bonuses, profit sharing contributions or discretionary retirement plan contributions paid prior to the end of the year? How will these payments affect cash flow?
  • Will you be in compliance with your bank covenants at year end?

Best Year-End Practices

Here are some good year-end questions you can ask yourself to gain a leg-up on next year:

  • Any changes required to the employee benefit plans due to affordability or new or pending laws?
  • Are all of your critical systems properly backed up? What if you had a fire?
  • Are you prepared to provide your employees with required notifications regarding employee benefits, annual elections, updated exemption forms, and adjustments to taxable wages?
  • Do you have a succession plan in place for your business? What if something happens to you?
  • Have all employees received an annual performance review? Are there any personnel issues that need to be addressed?
  • How will general business conditions impact your business in the coming year? What new risks and opportunities need to be addressed?
  • If you don’t use an outsider to help you with your planning, should you? (An outsider can bring discipline and accountability to the process.)
  • Prepare your plan for the next year. Get it written down.  If you use an outside facilitator or strategy consultant get your planning session scheduled.
  • Review actual results to date for the current year and evaluate how they compare to your goals. What has worked, what didn’t?
  • Review profitability information by product line, business segment, customer or job. and determine what you want to do more of or less of in the next year.
  • Review your insurance coverage. Is it adequate?

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