How to Optimize Lead Times with Icicle’s Automated Inventory Control
You receive an order and get started on production only to realize part way through that you don’t have enough ingredients to complete it. To ensure that this never occurs again, you order more inventory than usual just for it to sit there. Or even worse, you realize that your facility lacks the storage space for it all.
These are just of the few dilemmas that manufacturers face when it comes to the complex science of inventory management. Production can end up being costly without the help of a detailed and efficient inventory management system to tell you if you are lacking in ingredients. An outstanding inventory management system would also be able to tell you exactly how much inventory needs to be ordered, as well as when it needs to be ordered so that it arrives in time for production. With recent supply chain disruptions causing longer lead times and forcing manufacturers to look elsewhere for supplies, inventory management software is necessary to maintain stable and reliable inventory levels.
Icicle’s smart purchasing suggestions interface is only one of its many inventory management features that uses real-time data of inventory levels, incoming orders, and reorder lead times to actively respond to the needs of your fluctuating inventory, letting you plan ahead and avoid delays due to supply chain issues.
Master Inventory Positioning for Food Manufacturers
Many manufacturers use inventory positioning formulas to strategically place their inventory in an optimal location within their facility as well as their supply chain to ensure that ingredients are always on hand, even amidst supply chain disruptions. This often comes in the form of buffer stock to ensure that ingredients are readily available for production.
However, inventory positioning is a challenge for food manufacturers since obtaining quality ingredients does not always align with the most economically efficient path. On top of that, buffer inventory is unreasonable since most raw ingredients are perishable foods that must be stored properly and used fresh in order to maximize the shelf-life of the product and maintain food safety for consumption.
Over the last twenty years, many food manufacturers have adopted a just-in-time inventory management system (also known as lean manufacturing). Just-in-time management focuses on maintaining just enough inventory to fulfill production, but not anything more to avoid stale inventory. However, this system relies heavily on a stable supply chain and leaves little room for error.
As supply chain disruptions become increasingly unpredictable, food manufacturers must look for new solutions that maintain the quality of their supply chain and products while still providing a reliable way to replenish inventory.
Define Warehouse Management Thresholds for Data-Driven Inventory Control
Icicle’s smart purchasing suggestion interface takes advantage of its cloud-based inventory system that continuously updates data to provide high quality prompts that reflect the current state of your inventory.
For Icicle to be able to give you reorder prompts, the reorder threshold, reorder quantity, and the maximum inventory level of ingredients need to be preset. Edit this information from the Ingredients Detail page, found by clicking the name of a specific ingredient in the Ingredients interface.
The reorder threshold is the minimum level of inventory to have in stock at all times. The maximum inventory threshold is the number of units that your facility is able to store at a time, and the reorder quantity is the unit quantity of items that Icicle will prompt you to reorder whenever inventory levels dip below the reorder threshold.
Information on lead times can also be added through the Ingredient Details page. If the lead time is ingredient specific, input the information on the Ingredient Details page. If it is supplier specific, edit this information from the Company page. Either way, Icicle will use these lead times when prompting reorders to fulfill planned production runs to give you ample time for reordering ingredients.
Automate Ordering with “Smart Purchasing Suggestions”
Once you have set up your inventory management in Icicle, Icicle will keep your inventory stocks in balance to reduce waste while also ensuring production proceeds as planned. When inventory levels for a specific item dip below the reorder threshold, Icicle will notify you via a report (sent daily). If you get a Low Inventory Warning Report, you can then go directly to Icicle’s Purchasing Suggestions interface (also located in menu bar under Procurement), where you will be able to see the current inventory level for the item, the shortfall quantity, and the suggested reorder quantity.
(You can also filter your inventory in the Inventory interface to display all low inventory items.)
Icicle’s advanced predictive technology won’t just work off of your inventory levels – it also factors in inventory allocated for production or otherwise unavailable. Even if one of your customers places an order that will push your inventory levels below the reorder threshold again, Icicle will automatically understand that you need more inventory for future production and prompt a reorder for that item so there is no disruption or barriers to shipping product on time to happy customers.
Our automation capabilities go even further. When Icicle users create and manage purchasing orders directly from the smart Purchasing Suggestions interface, Icicle will automatically suggest which orders to place, for how much, for when, and so on. Simply review the generated information and make any edits you need directly in the app before clicking “Create PO.” Check one more time that all inputs are correct before clicking the “confirm” button to create a new purchase order, which will be automatically added to your account’s Purchasing Order List.
From your Purchasing Orders records, you can easily export your purchase order as a PDF and send it to your supplier.
Forget About Supply Chain Disruptions With Icicle’s Inventory Management System
Icicle’s smart Purchasing Suggestions interface doesn’t just help you optimize inventory for ingredients; you can also use its proprietary, predictive algorithms to manage materials, packaging, and parts for complete, perpetual inventory control. Icicle ERP’s cloud-based system continuously gathers real-time inventory data to optimize your inventory levels and stay ahead of any supply chain problems – with no gaps that could hurt your bottom line.
As supply chain issues cause unpredictable lead times and difficulties with procurement, it is essential to have an inventory management system that can efficiently respond to external factors and help keep your production running smoothly. Contact Icicle today to learn more about other inventory and warehouse management features to help your business navigate supply chain stresses.