Through the end of the 1980's, most software packages for distributors placed an emphasis on sales and accounting related modules. In the early 1990's, many distributors recognized that they needed help controlling and managing their largest asset, inventory. In response to this need, several computer software companies developed comprehensive inventory management modules and systems. These new packages include many new features, designed to help distributors effectively manage warehouse stock. But after implementing new software, many distributors don't feel that they have gained control of their inventory. These wholesalers continue to face many of the same challenges they experienced with their old systems:
* Stockouts and lost sales are common while warehouses are bulging with inventory * On-hand and available-for-sale quantities in their computer systems aren't accurate * The return on investment from inventory is not satisfactory
In some cases, the problem lies in the computer software. Some packages still do not have the necessary capabilities for effective inventory management. In other situations, a distributor is using a software package that is too complicated. His buyers don't have the knowledge, time, and/or skills to take advantage of the system's capabilities. But the most common reason distributors do not achieve their inventory management goals has nothing to do with the computer system they utilize.
Despite what many data processing salespeople will tell you, computers do not provide solutions to inventory management problems. Computers are tools. They must be used in the proper business environment in order to work effectively. This environment is comprised of several elements. All of them must be present in order for your new inventory management system to live up to its potential. If your system is not performing up to this potential, be sure you have implemented each of the...