Construction Inventory Management with SIMMS

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SIMMS enables you to easily track material and costs in any construction project you are planning or conducting. Both common and commingled inventory are manageable. SIMMS’ Material Planning window provides an in-depth netting evaluation of your complete supply and demand situation for your parts. Exemplary reporting features provide comprehensive profiles of every part in the project.

From bid award to the final billing, SIMMS provides a complete solution to any unique equipment, job or materials management needs of heavy, light and highway construction projects. Specialty subcontractors (in fields such as mechanical, electrical, interiors, roofing or steel) can expect a detailed construction accounting system, and gain details, flexibility, and integration improvements. SIMMS also provides smooth usability and a feature-rich application for numerous industry-specific disciplines.

SIMMS is a comprehensive, integrated system of application software that manages all details of construction management. It interfaces with estimation software, accounting, BOM, project management, and operations management. With SIMMS, you’ll see savings from improved efficiency by masterful monitoring of both serialized and non-serialized inventory as well as by working in conjunction with the automatic generation of purchase orders. Further, SIMMS can be setup to send instant notifications when inventory on-hand counts fall to pre-designated stock levels, thus beginning the reordering process for you. If shipments are delayed, SIMMS also reminds you on the due date that the shipment is expected. Ultimately, SIMMS gives you the view – both locally and remotely – of all your stock usage and sales, while providing the exact levels of information and control that you require.

For more information on how SIMMS can help you in your particular construction industry, visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca today.

 

Advantages of Customizing Software

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When investigating different software possibilities, companies will discover that less configurable packages have features that address many project goals but do not completely answer all of their challenges. CRM software, for example, often advertises “custom fields” allowing users to track data beyond its out-of-the-box limitations. Features of O-O-T-B are usually of limited scope, offer a limited number of fields, place restrictions on the type of available fields or their placement, and have constraints on how the fields relate to each other, and whether or not the field data can be accessed when generating reports.

The advantage of more configurable software is that it allows the product to more easily adapt to project requirements. For users and administrators, highly configurable software provides more opportunities to customize the way data is stored, displayed, imported, and exported. Customization can also allow users to more easily generate visual reports, instead of lists of numbers justified to the left margin. For development, configurable software provides comprehensive access to controlling stored data using custom code, as well as (ideally) a strong, logical, and consistent framework that can be easily adopted by other developers.

This way of consolidating configurability and technology can help ensure that the software or service will meet your exact specifications, as well as a smoother adoption process.

Wherever possible, work with the KCSI project team to meet your project goals without additional customization, using standard tools provided by the system or service, and build your own custom solution. While this advice may cause you to go back to the drawing board a few times, KCSI will guarantee that the final outcome of your project will be stronger and significantly easier to support in the future.

Negative Inventory in SIMMS

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Sometimes you may need to create sales orders while not having the necessary on hand quantities for the items. At this point you may employ the concept of Negative Stock, which enables the creation of those sales orders, lets you save them, and using backorders, you can receive the stock into the warehouse and replace the negative stock with actual items.

Businesses need always to avoid over-investment in stock that just occupies warehouse space and will eventually be used one day, but the larger concern occurs when stock that is needed immediately but which has yet to be ordered for our projects with intermediate deadlines of completion. If inventory exists where it is needed and when it is needed, greater customer satisfaction is the result — SIMMS Inventory Management software can help you achieve this goal.

In a perfect world, we should avoid negative balances of stock. However, you should have a backup plan as well as a plan for perfection. Most planning systems continue to work in batch mode (run nightly or on weekends) wherein you can eliminate problems by strategically resolving every incidence of negative balances. Execution systems, on the other hand, tend to run in real-time, and thus prevent the advantage of the batch systems. Execution systems experience less dramatic impact from negative stock than planning systems do. The wisest move is to not make reactionary adjustments to any of your timing-related negative balances. Instead, you should correct your location-level problems using a location transfer program whenever possible. Other negative balances should be rectified by entering offsetting transactions using the same software application in which you created the negative entries.

The constant need for order flow keeps warehouse managers on top of how many orders have been created and how many units of stock that will be needed. In these instances, purchase orders are placed with various vendors you already use, thus streamlining things by the reduction of the number of P/Os you create, and enabling the items placed on negative stock to be added onto existing P/Os before they are dispatched. SIMMS Inventory Management software incorporates the concept of negative stock, which can be one of the most useful concepts for many businesses to coordinate their stock orders. Visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca to learn more.

Inventory Lead Times

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Lead time is the amount of time from the point at which you determine the need to order to the point at which the inventory is on hand and available for use. Accurate lead times are crucial in safety stock/reorder point calculations. If your forecasted demand during is 5 units per day and your lead time is 10 days your lead time demand would be 50 units. Accurate lead times should include manufacturer’s or supplier’s lead times, and should include time required to start the purchase order/work order processes (which include time needed for approval steps, supplier notification time, and the processing time for both receipt of goods and inspections for quality).

Most businesses examine their own demand fluctuations and assume that there is not enough consistency to predict future variability. They then fall back on the trial-and-error guesstimates or the over-simplified half-of-lead-time usage method to manage their safety stock. Unfortunately, these methods prove to be less than effective in determining optimal inventory levels for many operations. Therefore, if your goal is to reduce inventory levels but maintain or improve levels of service you need to give more detailed calculations a trial run. If there were a comprehensive method that worked for everyone, then it would be easier, but every business or industry includes variables that a single model cannot appreciate.

Much thought and planning can go into the timelines you wish to establish as lead times for your vendors. SIMMS Inventory Management software provides great diversity and considers that reorder points and lead time are most often specifically different for each of your locations/branches and that one vendor may have very specific delivery needs for a wide array of their materials. Analytical reports within SIMMS enable you to track the tendencies and will provide information you need to consider changing vendors for your most-needed items.

Visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca for more information today.

Landed Costing in SIMMS

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SIMMS Accounting Software offers comprehensive landed costing features to provide precise inventory control and costing.

You have several options available to you with then handling of landed costs in SIMMS:

For example:

  • Re-distributing landed costs to all line items in your receipt of goods per additional landed cost setup values assigned to the items.
  • Re-distributing landed costs to all line items in your receipt of goods per item quantity and item weight.
  • Re-distributing landed costs to all line items in your receipt of goods per item quantity.
  • Re-distributing landed costs to all line items in your receipt of goods per item quantity and item cost.
  • Re-distributing landed costs to all line items in your receipt of goods per additional landed cost setup values assigned to the items and one of the other options.

The following SIMMS videos are available to illustrate Landed Costs application to items on a Receipt of Goods:

For more information on how SIMMS Inventory management software can help your business, visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca today.

Inventory Picking Methods

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Zone Picking is the order picking method where the a warehouse is divided into several pick zones and order pickers are assigned to a specific zone and only pick the items in that zone, while orders are moved from one zone to the next (usually on conveyor systems) as they are picked. This method is also referred to as “pick-and-pass”.

Wave Picking is a variation on zone picking where rather than orders moving from one zone to the next for picking, all zones are picked at the same time and the items are later confirmed and amalgamated into separate orders and shipments. Wave picking is the fastest method for picking multi-item orders. However, the confirmation and amalgamation process can be tricky. Picking waves are often intended to isolate shipments to particular carriers, routes, etc. A more basic example of wave picking would simply be as the method where a group of orders is released to the warehouse for picking and the next group (wave) is not released until the first wave has been processed through the pick area.

Lastly, Batch Picking is the order picking method where orders are grouped into small batches, an order picker will pick all orders within the batch in one pass. Batch picking is usually associated with pickers with multi-tiered picking carts moving up and down aisles picking batches of usually 4 to 12 orders. However, batch picking is also very common when working with automated material handling equipment like carousels.

Utilize the following principles no matter which picking style you choose to use:

– Always replenish to 100% levels

– Eliminate “pick and pass” style picking

– Employ ABC item analysis

– Handle items once only

– Reduce amounts of walking

– Support the system at all levels of the company

– Upgrade your training and quality for all employees

– Verify on-the-fly

Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI)

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Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) is the process where a supplier manages the inventory levels and purchases of the materials he supplies. This process can be very low tech, such as an office supplies supplier or maintenance supplies supplier coming into your facility once per week to visually check stock levels and place a re-supply order, or high tech, such as an electronic component supplier having remote access to your inventory management and MRP system and producing and automatically shipping to meet your production schedule. Vendor-managed inventory can enables the vendor to better manage his inventory through higher visibility to the supply chain and lower the internal expenses associated with your planning and procuring of materials. Vendor-managed inventory may be owned by the customer or the vendor (consignment inventory).

VMI can succeed if detailed concentration is made in the following areas:

-Information Sharing – If the supplier and customer can agree to share information vital to restocking in a timely manner, then the odds of a synchronized system will dramatically improve. Proprietary information would not have to be shared between the supplier and customer, but enough information to maintain a steady flow of goods is necessary. The customer should be willing to share production schedules and/or forecasts to provide some visibility for the supplier.

-    Planned Expectations – There needs to be thorough discussion about how the system will benefit both partners in the long term or one of the parties, especially suppliers, who can be victims to disappointment with some of the short-term results. If these items are not addressed the program will likely end soon with neither partner gaining any of the advantages expected from the enterprise. The goal is precise and permanent communication between the supplier and customer. When the two parties work together, and both commit to the plans, the y can be assured that the planning function, for both sides, will begin to smooth over time.

-  Open Communications – When you proceed with the ‘partnership’ of starting a VMI program, both parties need to discuss their goals and decide how they need to proceed in order to realize them. Once underway, the VMI partners need to acknowledge that there are going to be some hiccups and backfires. These need to be analyzed in order to aid in planning and improvement for a growing system that is fluid enough to prevent recurrences of the backfires while remaining open and nimble to incorporate new technologies and ideas.

Standard Deviation in Stock Management

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In analysis, Standard Deviation is used to describe the spread of the distribution of numbers. Standard Deviation is calculated by the following steps:

  1. Determine the mean (average) of a set of numbers.
  2. Determine the difference of each number and the mean
  3. Square each difference
  4. Calculate the average of the squares
  5. Calculate the square root of the average.

You can also use Excel function STDDEVPA or STDEVP to calculate standard deviation. The above calculation reflects calculating the standard deviation of a population. In many cases we use a sampling of data (rather than the entire population). When calculating the standard deviation of a sample, rather than calculating the true average of the set of numbers, we will divide the sum of the set of numbers by the total count of numbers minus one (1). This allows us to artificially inflate our standard deviation to account for the fact we are not using the entire population. Excel function STDEV calculates the standard deviation of a sample. In safety stock, calculations the forecast quantity is often used instead of the mean in determining standard deviation.

Standard Deviation (which uses the sigma symbol, ?) lets us know how far we are from the mean. We ideally want this variation to be zero. The amount that the result is from the ideal is known as Variance. The reduction of this variance should be the goal of every business.

SIMMS’ Fulfillment Module Keeps Customers Satisfied

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The Fulfillment Module was designed to work in conjunction with the Replenishment Module. Once a purchase order has been generated for the stock required to fill sales orders and the purchase order has been approved and received, the sales order is then listed in the Fulfillment Module waiting for the order to be picked and invoiced. Here the user can process all items on a sales order into an invoice or invoice individual items on a sales order. Also, the user has the option to invoice individual sales orders or automatically invoice all sales orders. This process is called “Recalculate Fill Quantity” (the fill quantity is the item’s quantity on a sales order).

SIMMS’ Fulfillment Module keeps all details of the stock you have ordered – or need to order – clear and concise so that you are not wasting extra time and money on stock the is not needed. Use this module to master your stock and your orders, all the while adding to the satisfaction of your customers and the efficiency of your stock management.

–          Comprehensive picking lists can be generated once selected quantities have been either manually or automatically chosen.

–          Fill quantities can be automatically filled using available stock or reset to zero, and can be recalculated at any time.

–          Order selection has been made simple, and can be filtered by customer, categories, or items.

–          Quantities of items already on purchase orders are displayed, avoiding the creation of duplicate orders for the required goods. Invoices that feature some or all fulfillment items can be generated, while any items that are already invoiced, or partially invoiced, are displayed.

–          You can manually enter only the quantities they need, avoiding investment in superfluous stock thus saving the user time and money. Once the required amount of stock is known, purchase orders can be created for unavailable stock involved in the fulfillment process, either an item at a time, or by the batch of required items.

SIMMS’ Fulfillment Module can help your business succeed owing much to its hand-in-hand link with SIMMS’ comprehensive inventory management software. Visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca today for more information on how fulfillment can help you serve your customers with a much more accurate and higher standard than ever before.

 

SIMMS Point-of-Sale

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The person behind the counter needs to be able to process a sale from start to finish and handle variations, items on special, and customers returning goods for credit or cash. In any retail outlet, a comprehensive solution must exist for customer satisfaction to truly exist.

SIMMS Inventory Management software has a stand-alone POS (Point of Sale) module that links perfectly with SIMMS’ inventory management capabilities, making ordering in more stock and submitting stock to the items’ warranty holders and entering sales into your Accounts Receivable and accounting software a snap. Double data entry is a singular waste of time and money. Any software that you need for your retail business must save you time, increase accuracy and control what happens at the sales counter. But most systems involve high prices, complex setup and big training requirements. SIMMS POS helps you remove these barriers with an easy to use, affordable system.

Contact KCSI today about SIMMS and POS in order for you to stop worrying about your sales counter. Visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca for more information.