Product Grouping with SIMMS 2013

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Product groups combine materials (and other groups, at times) according to whatever criteria best meet the needs of your business, in areas such as market niche, manufacturing procedures, and product designs. In SIMMS 2013 Inventory Management software, items are often assigned to product groups and subsequently the product groups have price levels created for each of them.

A common item grouping matrix is as follows:

  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco: spirits; wine; beer; tobacco; and narcotics.
  • Clothing: clothing materials; mens’, women’s, children’s and infant’s clothing; other articles of clothing and clothing accessories (excluding cleaning, repair and hire of clothing).
  • Communication: postal services; and telephone and fax equipment and services.
  • Consumer electronics: televisions; DVD players; receivers; audio systems; MP3 players; cameras; camcorders; desktop and laptop computers; monitors; printers; scanners; software; music CDs; movie DVDs; empty CDs and DVDs etc (excluding repair of such equipment).
  • Electricity, gas and other fuels: electricity; gas; liquid fuels; solid fuels; and heat energy (all for domestic use).
  • Food and non-alcoholic beverages: bread and cereals; meat; fish; milk; cheese; eggs; oils and fats; fruits; vegetables; potatoes; other food; non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Footwear: mens’, women’s, children’s and infants’ footwear (excludes repair and hire of footwear).
  • Furniture and furnishing, carpets and other floor coverings: kitchen furniture; bedroom furniture; living-room and dining-room furniture; other furniture and furnishings; carpets and other floor coverings (excluding repair of furniture, furnishings and floor coverings).
  • Household appliances: refrigerators and freezers; washing machines; dishwashers; cookers; microwave ovens; vacuum cleaners; coffee makers; kettles; toasters, etc. (excluding their repair).
  • Personal transport equipment: motor cars; motor cycles and bicycles (excluding the maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, spare parts and fuels).
  • Restaurants and hotels: restaurants; cafés; pubs; bars; canteens; hotels; youth hostels, etc.
  • Transport services: Passenger transport by railway, by road, by air, by sea and inland waterway and other purchased transport services (e.g. left luggage services, removal services).
  • SIMMS 2013 Inventory Management software answers the challenges of addressing your strict unique pricing and volume discount demands. With SIMMS, you can assign up to 12 unique price levels to each item and then assign a price level to your customer quickly and easily.
  • For each of your items you can define different sales prices and assign one of the unique price levels to your customers so when you quote, invoice or create sales orders for your customers the default prices that appear are dependent on the price level you have assigned to the customer to whom you are selling.

For more information on product groups and the price level(s) that can be assigned to them, visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca today.

Improving Stock Tracking with SIMMS 2013

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Quite often, stock items that are brought into the warehouse or stock room get conveniently put wherever there is room for them — in a drawer or bin, on the corner of a shelf, under a bench beside an established location, into a bin with other items whose packaging looks similar, and so forth. Inventory that is missing or misplaced must become a situation of the past. You need a stable and versatile stock recording system to do what your company needs and a dedicated individual (or department) that will be responsible and have full control and understanding of the stock system you have implemented.

SIMMS 2013 Inventory Management software lets its users do their jobs, whether they use a data collector on their belt, a wireless laptop tucked under their arm or a desktop computer functioning at the receiving desk. SIMMS will help your business optimize your control of your stock with accuracy and accountability with every item traceable to not only its supplier but also to who received and warehoused it. SIMMS is precise without being imposing or all-consuming.

Electronic data interchange (EDI) and bar code scanning help you to eliminate data entry errors. A system of “cycle counting” – wherein a few items a day are physically counted and their totals are compared to their recorded to the actual count. Highest-selling – and highest-priced items – should be counted more often. SIMMS can help you achieve these goals, and can also aid your efforts to counteract the following challenges:

  • Blocked aisles
  • Damaged equipment
  • Damaged inventory
  • General clutter and disorder
  • Inability to ship on time
  • Inaccurate inventory
  • Lost inventory
  • Low morale
  • Low productivity
  • Shipping errors
  • Work injuries

For more information on how SIMMS 2013 can help you add more precision and control to your stock management, visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca.

Shipping with SIMMS 2013

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Shipping may be the very epicenter of your company’s success or failure. SIMMS Inventory Management software provides users the capabilities to calculate shipping by a fixed percentage of the order total, by fixed item shipping costs, or allows for free shipping.

In some cases, users need shipping to be calculated by order total, weight, weight plus geographical zone or total plus geographical zone. In addition, real time rates can be implemented when employing shipping services such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post or USPS.

All these options are easily created and applied using SIMMS.

A rough list of details you should check is as follows:

Preparing Shipment

– Check your contact information – write your details clearly on the boxes by using block letters.

– Check if you ship what you want where you want.

– Check your Required Forms.

– Decide on your shipping method.

– Include the declared value, along with your description of the content.

– List each commodity that you are shipping and provide a detailed description of each.

– Make a booking of a shipment service.

– Package your shipment securely.

– Purchase insurance for your high value items.

– Research your payment methods.

Sending Shipment

– Check for proper labeling of your boxes and bags.

– Match the shipping documents against the shipping labels to ensure correct shipping information.

– Provide a detailed list of the items in your shipment.

– Provide a detailed list with the value of your items.

– Provide a photocopy of your passport.

– Has your shipment been cleared through required Customs offices.

Destination

– Contact the airline cargo office or shipping line agent which has received your shipment.

– Go the customs office and show your passport and your copy of your airway bill.

– Pay any customs or clearance fees that are required.

– Pick up your shipment from the airline cargo office or from the nominated depot.

Contact KCSI today to learn more about how SIMMS can make your business’ shipping needs better. Email sales@kcsi.ca or visit www.simmssoftware.com to learn more.

Stock Counts Needed in Future

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Anticipation inventory is inventory held or stacked by a firm to meet unexpected need or demand for a product that cannot be satisfied by the current production team. In other words, if the production unit suddenly goes on a strike, finished goods will not roll out of the factory. In such circumstances, the company’s sales might get affected. However, a proactive firm with an anticipation inventory would be able to meet such unlikely crisis and ensure that the sales do not get affected. Anticipation inventory is only a temporary solution and can meet the sales demands until the inventory units get exhausted.

Often the purchase of stock items may seem to require some sort of clairvoyance to know the quantities that customers will want. SIMMS Inventory Management software will enable users to set up blocks of time — known as stages — during which such transitive items can be bought in advance of the systematic ‘rushes’ that occur throughout a financial quarter or term. Analytical reports on usage and inventory turnover can help the pattern be spotted long before the rush comes.

Contact KCSI today or visit www.simmssoftware.com to learn more.

Good SKU Naming Practices

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SKU (Stock Keeping Units) are a major aid in identification of every item you buy/consume and buy/sell to your customers. Precision in item identity at the ordering, receiving, and sales stages of your business can help you avoid costly additional expenses due to errors in storage, picking and shipping. One way you can pinpoint the identification to an ever more precise level is to employ unique SKUs in-house for all items, thus avoiding many of the repetitive and purely sequential numbers we tend to see used in the SKUs of other companies and individuals.

Here are some pointers for making your personalized SKUs better:

– Avoid including in item descriptions more information than is completely necessary. Information such as vendor names, manufacturers, countries of origin, expiration dates, and so on belong in the “item detail” or” transaction detail” areas where they can be used more effectively.

– Avoid using letters that can be confused with numbers. The main culprits are O, I, and L.

– Use only a few letters. Letters will help further distinguish your item numbers from other numbers, and they will greatly increase the number of possible item numbers you can have while keeping the overall item number length as short as possible.

– Do not load item numbers with meaning – do not try to use the item number to describe your product. This will only make your numbers longer and more complicated. Save the types of information for your item descriptions.

– Do not use a manufacturer’s serial number or part number as YOUR part number. These numbers are often too long and cryptic. Also, if you switch vendors, or the manufacturer changes their number then they become meaningless to your company.

– Do not use characters that might confuse people or software. For example, using a comma in your item number might make it look like a quantity or price. Using a “/” can result in Excel formatting your part number as a date. Symbols such as “<“, “>”, and “*” can have unintended consequences when moving data between certain inventory and spreadsheet programs. Keep your item numbers simple and alpha-numeric where possible.

– Keep item numbers short – but not so short that they could be mistaken for other numbers (i.e. quantities). 4 – 8 characters will suffice for most organizations.

– Unless you are forced to do so by something out of your control, never ever start an item number with a zero.

– Using a few letters from the beginning of your item description at the beginning of your part numbers will make it much easier to look up items in pick lists. For example, if you were creating an item number for “Sauce, Chocolate” you might create the number “SAU101” , “Sauce, Caramel” “SAU102”, and so on…

These pointers should help you avoid confusion and keep a practical control of your stock. As with many practices it is certainly true when attempting to avoid errors with your inventory: keep it as simple as possible.

Reporting on Exceptions with SIMMS

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A natural outgrowth of inventory monitoring systems with master scheduling and exception reporting provides re-buyers and inventory managers with data to help in deciding where to take action without having to review every item every week in detail. Retail and direct inventory systems both use exception reporting.

Types of exception reports include:

  1. Forecasting Variance (plan to actual)
  2. Imported vs. Domestic products
  3. Management reports (such as Bottom 50 and Top 50 in sales)
  4. New Item Sales vs. Repeat Sales of Long-time Items
  5. Purchase Orders required because of stock-out calculations, on-hand and on-order, and Projected Demand with item/vendors’ lead time
  6. Product Characteristic reports (e.g., all items made from a certain fabric compared across all of your departments or locations)
  7. Ranking reports for cancellations, gross margins, liquidations and returned items
  8. Slowest-Selling Items (and items proposed for liquidation).

Any good inventory management system will provide details of the stock items that perform differently than the majority, and SIMMS 2013 has multiple levels of customizable reports to get you the information you need to make your best choices and decisions.

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

 

Tracking Your Key Inventory Metrics

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An old industrial engineering axiom states that “what isn’t measured can’t be improved”.

From an inventory perspective, the metrics are the same for online sales as for catalogs, although the forecasting system requirements for Internet promotions may be different from those for catalog inventory.

The metrics include:

  1. Top-line and bottom-line growth
  2. Maintained Gross Margin
  3. Initial customer order fill rate
  4. Final fill rate/returns/cancellations
  5. Gross Margin Return On Investment (GMROI)
  6. Turnover
  7. Cost of Backorders
  8. Age of Inventory
  9. Measures of Overstock
  10. Write-Downs as a percentage of costs

Key metrics for your stores would include:

  1. Top-line and Bottom-line growth
  2. Comparable-store Sales (year over year)
  3. Maintained Gross Margin
  4. Turnover
  5. GMROI
  6. Weeks of Supply
  7. Markdowns/Margin loss from write-downs
  8. Age of Inventory
  9. Sell-Through percent
  10. Stock-to-Sales ratios

Tracking the above metrics should help you gain a foothold of your market, provided you make adjustments that reduce overhead and expand revenue simultaneously. Coordinating such concerns requires a comprehensive accounting and inventory management solution; your best choice for both price and features is SIMMS 2013.

Visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsic.a today for more information.