Tracking Your Manufacturer’s Lots

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The ability to track serialized and lot-related parts to a customer is important for warranty and service management. SIMMS Inventory Management software provides the ability to create serial numbers and manufacturer lots at any time during manufacturing. Finished products are assigned serial numbers and/or manufacturing lots and when shipped to the customer, the serial numbers and manufacturing lots used are saved to history, providing their traceability against the original customer order.

The ability to track component lots from raw material to finished product shipped to customers is a key requirement for many companies. SIMMS 2013 provides this functionality for either stocked parts. Upon receipt of lots from a vendor or from manufacturing, lot traceability provides where-used and lots-used visibility. An optional feature is the ability to designate a group of attributes that can be collected and tracked for each lot. These attributes follow the lot for the history of the lot record in the system, providing for historical quality references even after shipment.

SIMMS empowers you to use Manufacturer’s Lots to:

  • Build kits using items with assigned lots
  • Issue your lots manually or have SIMMS automatically issue from lots with the oldest expiration dates first or by earliest lots created/received
  • Produce a comprehensive lot activity history
  • Quickly generate Production Lot Reports
  • Receipt of multiple lots for the same item, or multiple items in one transaction
  • Serial number tracking (organized by serial number or lot), including user-defined serial numbers (in place of, or in addition to, original serials)
  • Traceability of lots on every level, from vendor through to customer

For more information about manufacturer’s lots in SIMMS, visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca.

Checks for Items and Orders

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A great deal of materials run in and out of your inventory storage locations and many can be mislaid, mis-slotted or can simply go missing. To help your inventory department/team get better at their jobs, we recommend the following ideas be implemented on a schedule known only to the management department:

1) Perform random and detailed checking of loads on outbound trucks at the dock.

2) At least twice each month, call a driver back in after she/he has left the facility. Thoroughly check the load. Check drivers on a random basis.

3) Perform receiving by appointment coupled with a random detailed checking of incoming loads.

4) Commit deliberate errors. Discover what your staff does if, for example, you see that more finished goods than the shipping order calls for reach the platform? Will the shipping clerk return the excess to stock? Will she/he try to divert it for personal use (perhaps in collusion with a truck driver)? Will the clerk simply ship the order without ever knowing that the excess existed?

5) If the bookkeeper and the accounts receivable clerk are not dependable, alert, and honest, disaster can result. Check them by withholding an invoice from each of them and watching to see what they do. Will they miss the invoice? Will they realize that a missing invoice means lost revenue and call it to your attention?

6) Unannounced inspections are another excellent method of checking your preventive procedures. Such inspections are most effective during overtime periods or when the second or third shift is working. For example, one owner-manager popped up on the shipping platform after the second shift left. He noticed a loaded truck parked at the platform and ordered it unloaded. The cartons in the rear were legitimate deliveries, but he found the front half of the truck crammed with stolen goods. The checker, who was hired to see that such stealing did not happen, had gone to sleep and let the accommodating driver load his own truck.

Once employees understand that there is an ongoing effort to discover and hunt down the causes of inventory discrepancies, they will also understand that management is watching. The resulting benefits to your business will make all this checking and testing worthwhile.

SIMMS 2013 and Sales Data

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As SIMMS is adopted for use, sales analysis information will become readily accessible tools, improving decision-making and profit analysis. The conduct of sales transactions, filling of backorders, and transfers of stock to where it is required enables SIMMS users to make improvements to sales campaign and inventory management criteria.

Requests for quotes (RFQs) and order placements are quick since necessary information either already exists in the system or is provided on-the-spot. Shipping information, costs, available inventory, prices specific to the customer, status of ordered items, and quantity pricing is all at hand on a single screen. SIMMS’ sales information is there where it is needed so that important decisions and processes can be implemented to maintain efficient service and accuracy for the benefit of both your business and your customers.

Sales order and quote histories are available, keeping information readily available for sales staff during calls and communications with customers. Exact stock details make sales history a useful tool to allow customer satisfaction to remain a primary goal. Consequently, warehousing personnel can easily process shipments, track their contents and provide all answers to all questions that may arise.

Sales performance can be compared across countries, competitors, therapies and products—all segmented by distribution channel. Follow trends. Keep track and see what’s happening on a longitudinal scale. Again, pricing intelligence and tracking and analyzing your data in an ongoing way allows you to have both the facts and the feel for what’s happening, which will make better prepared to deal with what’s coming.

To learn how SIMMS can help you stay on top of what your sales pattern is saying, visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca today.

Risk Assessment in the Warehouse

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Every business should perform a risk assessment in their storage areas. The inspection team need to assess every – and any – type of risk to determine the likelihood of each event occurring and its potential impact on each department if it did occur.

Here follows the possible threats can be broken down into two main groups:

1. Threats likely to occur within the facility
2. Threats likely to occur in the surrounding area

Likelihood needs to be assessed based on the following factors:

Error-based—Is there anything that could result from poor training, poor maintenance, poor safety practices, misconduct, substance abuse, or fatigue?

Geographical—Is the facility close to a flood plain; seismic faults; dams; controversial organizations such as research institutions or abortion clinics; or nuclear power plants?

Historical—What types of emergencies have occurred at this facility, this community, this region?

Physical—What is the building made of? What, and how much, is stored in the facility?

Regulatory—What emergencies or hazards (such as hazardous material spills) are you regulated to deal with?

Technological—What could result from a process or systems failure caused by fire, explosion, release of toxic fumes, loss of communications, or power failure?

Once the risk assessment is complete, the team must recommend the contingencies for lessening all types of risks within and surrounding the warehouse. The risk assessment being performed, and improvements being suggested, can both be beneficial factors in lowering insurance rates for your company and your inventory.

 

Distribution Centers

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Distribution centres are employed for a combination of dispatch, inspection, picking, receiving, sorting and storage activities. The extent of picking and sorting functions required to make up outgoing loads is a major determinant of the layout and configuration of purpose-built distribution centres and the extent and cost of the materials handling system. While schemes can be particularly tailored to the requirements of the clients, there are but a limited number of generic layouts that are used. The main sources of variation between schemes include the number and type of loading bays, the size and arrangement of high-bay storage and the orientation of the structural frame to suit racking. The main distribution types are as follows:

Bulk Storage and Simple Sorting
Low bay units, with single dock faces, are targeted at the third party logistics market. Sorting usually takes place in the receipt and dispatch area, and thus, only sorting of large units of measure or pallets can be undertaken. Units of up to 25,000 metres2 in size are developed speculatively to meet this demand, based on a standard institutional specification.

Automated Retrieval and Storage

These distribution centres have high bay bulk storage areas, up to 20 metres high, and with automated stock-handling equipment, in concert with a low bay picking and sorting area adjacent to a single dock face. The design can be tailored to accommodate the specific requirements of the racking and materials handling equipment. Units with a combination of high and low bay space are typically developed as a pre-let but will need to conform to institutional standards to allow for long-term flexibility to provide security to funders.

Throughflow

Throughflow distribution centres are distinguished by having dock faces on opposite ends of the building, enabling receipt and dispatch functions to be separated. Typically this requirement is driven by complex sorting activities occurring at both sides of the bulk store. Sophisticated materials handling systems associated with throughflow warehouses allow the unit size of goods being picked to be reduced, improving stock control and reducing in-store inventory. Distribution centres designed to a throughflow principle range in size from 25,000 to 75,000 metres2 or more. These distribution centres are usually developed as pre-lets or as joint developments between logistics companies and their end-user clients.

Cross-Dock

Cross-dock layouts are highly specialized and are typically only used to provide distribution hubs for parcel delivery companies etc, where speed of transit rather than storage is the main driver. Provision for bulk storage is not usually provided and the scope of materials handling equipment is limited to that needed to facilitate the transfer of goods between vehicles. The main driver behind the size of a cross-deck scheme is the number of loading docks required.

Regardless of the design of the distribution center, flexibility and longevity are also important considerations for investors, with envelope performance and building services capacity being key areas that can differentiate buildings by reducing the likelihood of premature obsolescence. Some developers are beginning to pay greater attention to sustainability and environmental impact issues – specifying, for example, porous paving materials to minimize the impact of large areas of hardstanding on drainage run-off.

Owing to their efficiency and dedication of design before use, distribution centers are built and staffed to handle all sorts of inventory management and handling needs. Their design will continue to improve as ways of processing stock will change in the future.

SIMMS’ Best Features

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As 2013 winds down and 2014 is right around the corner, we submit for your consideration the top fourteen reasons SIMMS is amongst the best inventory management software solutions in the world today:

Advanced Accounting Features – Strictly follow accounting standards in every screen in the software

Automated Replenishment Routines – System-generated purchase orders as well as the ability to link purchase orders directly to sales orders

Backorder Management – Automatically allocate received inventory to backorders

Inter-Warehouse and Inter-Company Transfers – Manage the movement of products between warehouses or related companies

Inventory Counts – Perform full cycle counting and retroactive entry of counted items

Kitting & Bill of Materials (BOM) Support – Track kits made up of multiple products grouped together for sale, manage both raw materials and product components that are assembled into finished products

Landed Costs – Track true inventory costs including duty, brokerage and freight

Lot Tracking – SIMMS manages the tracking of internal and external lot numbers that are vital for companies in the food, medical and pharmaceutical industries

Multiple Units of Measure – User-defined units, from miniscule to enormous, can be created

Multiple Warehouses and Inventory Locations – Easily track inventory across unlimited multiple warehouses

Sales Analysis – Pre-built reports plus access to detailed sales information using reports with customizable content

Sales Budgeting – Can be done by customer or by product

Serialized Inventory – Serialization permits at least two serial numbers for each individual item in the system

Warranty and Expiration Date Tracking Control all your stock, no matter its age or for when you have it guaranteed

Two Questions of Stock Accuracy

A worker counting the ready products stacked on the shelves in a factory storeroom.

Any company that hopes to have a continuously-accurate shelf count that matches its record count needs to prevent all unauthorized personnel from physically interacting with stockroom/warehouse contents. Further, personnel who are authorized must have a paper- or computer-based document before placing anything into (or removing anything from) storage areas. These two points are crucial to the maintenance of inventory accuracy.

Often, items’ physical lives in storage become separated from their paper/record lives, and people begin to ship or use products that have not been received, or put away products that have not been received so that no one knows that they are available for sale or use. These improprieties create an environment where inventory personnel and accounting personnel are making numerous adjustments to the record count. In a sound system, its design and processes must immediately disallow such occurrences.

In advance of the implementation of methods to reveal, analyze, and repair any discrepancies between actual on-hand inventory levels and system record levels, you must take a precise snapshot of the current state of inventory. Two sets of numbers are needed for the assessment to be both useful and accurate: 1) An inventory record accuracy (IRA) and (2 The Fill Rate.

IRA is a reflection of how well your shelf count and record count match. It answers the question of how well your stock records reflect the stockroom’s actual contents.

The Fill Rate is a reflection of the effectiveness of your inventory. It answers the question of how often you have inventory that you need at the moment you needed it.

These two questions can not only be applied when every stock count is performed but also may be applied at the level of every transaction. In fact, basing adjustments to your stock system on these two criteria can only help you achieve a more accurate and precise process. SIMMS Inventory Management software can help you make all the right decisions based on all the significant analyses it contains. For more information on SIMMS 2013, visit www.simmssoftware.com or email sales@kcsi.ca today.

RMAs and RTVs with SIMMS 2013

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Accuracy and immediate tracking of items is one of the strengths of the SIMMS system, and new users can quickly add the warranty data to items that are received on invoices in combination with other stock. Once received with assigned data, stock in the system carries that data permanently, which allows for your customer’s satisfaction and provides valuable data about those items that may have a consistent record of required repairs and/or replacements. All these features add to SIMMS’ ability to provide its users with THE info they need right when they need it.

Using SIMMS’ extensive Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) and Return to Vendor (RTV) features, your customers should never have to wait long for their replacement or repair of items under warranty. Drop-ships of items directly from an item’s vendors is yet another feature to streamline this process. Settings in SIMMS allow for easy access to items that may have passed their warranty dates so that users can avoid beginning the replacement or repair process as any RMAs come into the system.

SIMMS’ Warranty Tracking allows for easy access to warranteed items and the smooth access to warranty information so that the replacement or repair processes can be begun or their progress can be followed. Warranties can be assigned upon an item’s manufacture or receipt into the system.

Commissions on Sales with SIMMS 2013

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With SIMMS 2013, on both a by-transaction basis and on an accounts receivable basis, users can create percent-specific commissions which feature categories of items, item quantity ranges and/or percentile groups. Once the commissions templates have been created, they can be applied to whichever agents/salesmen the user selects.

Items and their groups can be factored into the commissions. Commissions containing customers’ purchase volume rates correspond to their particular purchase deals with your company. Further, maximum value schedules and royalty payouts also are applicable easily in SIMMS’ Sales Commissions feature.

SIMMS 2013 Inventory Management Software includes a comprehensive Sales Commissions feature that makes this important process both easy to set up and reliable for its accuracy. Companies often wish to see how regional or departmental sales agents have contributed to the revenue of the last campaign or sales period. Accounting departments need the access and tracking of the amount of commissions owed to the staff. Both requirements are answered easily by SIMMS.

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