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Don’t Lose the Keys to your Business

If you were to lose your keys, wouldn’t you do everything you could to try and find them? How else are you going to get to work or to your kids soccer game or to the beach in the summer? The truth is, losing a customer should be treated with the same level of importance because they are valuable. Customers are what drive your business’ progress and are key to its growth.

Keys to Business

Every time you lose a customer, you slow down just a little bit. I’ve already explored the importance of customers and why there is a real need to be able to identify lost customers quickly and efficiently in the first part of my blog series, which can be found here.… READ MORE

Shrink Packaging Systems Corporation Implements Cutwater Software Solutions

Cutwater successfully integrates with Shrink Packaging Systems Epicor P21 ERP to help enhance the capabilities of their inventory and provide insight.

WILMINGTON, DE. – December 16, 2015 – Cutwater Solutions, the designer and provider of Cutwater AIM (Advanced Inventory Management) software, announced today that Shrink Packaging Systems (SPS), a leader in sustainable and intelligent packaging solutions, has implemented Cutwater AIM to enhance the capabilities of their inventory and readily provide more insight.

SPS has been serving customers, and fulfilling their packaging needs for over 45 years. With locations throughout the Northeast, this problem solving company has continued to grow. Along with the growth of a company, comes the expansion of inventory, and keeping track of SPS’ massive inventory can be tiresome.… READ MORE

Customers are the Backbone of your Business

Every business is different. This is not news. Every company has different needs, different goals, different structures and rules. The one thing every business has in common, no matter how big, how new or how well known, is the need for customers.

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Without customers, your business will crash and burn. Without customers your company will never grow and develop into an industry leader. This common denominator stands true for all businesses, but especially for wholesale distributors who are likely to have larger customers, where the loss of even a small number of customers can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line. It is because customers are so crucial to a business, that when a customer stops buying from you, it is a huge deal.… READ MORE

Pride, Prejudice, and the Danger of Experience to your Inventory

In most cases one of the most powerful tools a company can utilize when making important decisions is experience. Years and years of practice and observation can often become the backbone to a company’s structure. It can help when hiring people, when making business deals, when creating networks and partnerships and in many other areas of a business. But there is one place in a business where experience can actually do more harm than good.  Where?  Your inventory. Basing your inventory solely off of experience can actually cause your company to lose money and create wasted, or dead, inventory.

When a business starts, typically the owner or one individual personally oversees every purchasing and inventory related decision.… READ MORE

Pros and Cons of Inventory Management Systems

While searching for a topic for my blog post this week I started looking at different articles to jolt an idea. The other day I came across a post asking a simple question that struck a thought, “Do inventory management systems really work?” As a professional working with, and promoting, an inventory management system, this question made me pause. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was how many people felt about such tools. With so many wholesale distributors across the globe, it would be easy to assume many have their doubts about such software. In this blog I decided to list some of the perceived pros and cons so those who have the above question can make a well informed decision that best suits their company.… READ MORE

Not so Happy Holidays

The holiday season is meant to be a time when we remember our loved ones and those whom we cherish most in our lives. No matter what holidays you observe and celebrate, this is supposed to be a time of happiness and excitement. But, if you work closely with inventory, you might tell a completely different story! The holiday season brings about all sorts of “what-if’s” and “maybe’s” related to inventory in warehouses across the globe. It’s never easy forecasting and predicting how much inventory your company may need, but throwing the holidays into the mix, makes the task even more challenging.  In fact, the holiday season, defined by the National Retail Federation as sales in the months of November and December, “is the biggest time of year for retailers of all shapes and sizes, and can account for as much as 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales” – See more here!READ MORE

The Do’s of Trade Shows

Trade shows are an important part of most industries and inventory management is vital to many of those industries. Trade shows and conferences such as the P21 World Wide User Group Conference and Microsoft Convergence are a great place to build relationships and network within the industry. Not only is this a great place for vendors to meet future clients it is also a great place for attendees to discover the latest and greatest tools to run their business more efficiently.

In my last blog I discussed the various “Don’ts” of trade show etiquette for both vendors and attendees. In this blog I would like to discuss the “Do’s.” There are several ways for an attendee and a vendor to get the most out of these shows.… READ MORE

The Don’ts of Attending a Trade Show

Recently Cutwater exhibited its inventory solution at the P21 World Wide User Group Conference in New Orleans. Earlier this year Cutwater exhibited its inventory solution at Microsoft Convergence in Atlanta and made an impact on many of the more than 12,000 attendees using MS Dynamics ERP products such as GP, SL, NAV and AX. Last week Cutwater registered to be a vendor at Convergence 2016 in New Orleans and also anticipates exhibiting again at the Epicor P21 conference next year. In doing these trade shows I have made several observations from both the vendor side, as well as the attendee side. In my travels to these trade shows I have compiled a personal list of do’s and don’ts.… READ MORE

Three Simple Analyses To Identify Risky Inventory

It’s no news that inventory in wholesale distribution is a daily roller coaster. Sometimes you’re up and doing great, other times you’re down and your inventory is completely chaotic. There are several inventory management tools out there created solely to help with such struggles but there are also small steps that can be taken by distributors in order to reduce and better understand their inventory.

Recently, I came across a blog entitled, “Three Simple Analyses to Identify Risky Inventory in your Supply Chain.” (the article can be found here). The blog, written by Arkieva, highlights three different analyses you can use when trying to identify inventory.… READ MORE

Is Dead Inventory an Epidemic?…What We Found Part 2

This blog series shares findings which my colleague and I discovered while attending Connect, the Epicor P21 World Wide User Group Conference, in New Orleans, LA. (Part 1 can be found here) The majority of P21 users “needed” the ability to identify trends and patterns to stock the right items at the right time.

While this is useful information, it begs the question, “How do they know this is what they need?” What kind of challenges, or “pains” are P21 users facing that they know they need more visibility into their inventory? In this second part of this blog series, illustrating what Cutwater discovered through its’ survey, I want to highlight the major pain points participants expressed in regards to their inventory.… READ MORE

What We Found – Part 1

When my colleague and I attended Connect, the Epicor P21 World Wide User Group Conference, in New Orleans, LA we met several amazing P21 users. There were a variety of speakers discussing many different topics effecting wholesale distributors using the P21 software platform to resolve their inventory needs. Before leaving for New Orleans we thought it would be interesting to do a little of our own research within the industry. We wanted to know what the major “Pain Points” of wholesale distributors were, as well as what they believed they “Needed” in the way of reporting from their inventory management system. This first blog will discuss the latter topic.… READ MORE

About ¾ of P21 users say that DEAD INVENTORY is a problem.

Recently Cutwater surveyed attendees at the Connect P21 User Group conference in New Orleans, asking about inventory challenges or “pain points”.  About 3 out of 4 identify DEAD INVENTORY as their greatest problem!  The good news is that Cutwater quickly helps wholesale distributors identify and solve this costly problem with its’ affordable reporting tool that creates instant visibility and understanding of your inventory.

painpoint

 

Request a Demo of Cutwater's AIM (Advanced Inventory Manager) Click Here READ MORE

Fill Rate Level – A More User Friendly Measurement

In my last blog post I discussed the harsh nature of using cycle service level as a measurement for customer service. This second blog, similar to the first, will discuss safety stock formulas and customer service, the backbone to any good business. This blog is a bit more business friendly. It gives an insight to your service level that is a bit more forgiving. It is useful to have an idea of your service level; it can be what makes or breaks a company. Cycle service level is just one measurement.

This second blog in this service level series, which this is based off of, discussed a different measurement called the ‘Fill Rate Service Level.’ This formula takes into account everything the cycle service does, and then some.… READ MORE

Cycle Service Level: A harsh way to measure

In the world of wholesale distribution, retail and pretty much any other business model, the number one goal is almost always customer satisfaction. Without satisfied customers a company cannot retain business and will eventually have to close shop. I recently came across an ongoing blog series from Arkieva that discussed this very topic. The blog article I discovered entitled, “Cycle Service Level Versus Fill Rate Service Level – Part One” brings up the topic of measuring satisfaction with the cycle service method. The first part of the blog explains exactly how a stock out occurs. It’s pretty simple. Whenever a product is not available on a shelf for a customer, this is when a product suffers from a stock out.… READ MORE

Inventory Sweeter Than Grandma’s Homemade Pie

Last November I read an article in Start your own Wholesale Distribution Business: Your step-by-step guide to success. I recently came across the article and thought I would elaborate on some of the topics shared. It’s really good, timeless advice. The title of the article is “How to Find the Inventory Sweet Spot in Wholesale Distribution?” written by the Entrepreneur Press and Bridget McCrea. I’d like to highlight and expand on some of the key points found in this article.

The overarching theme of this article is people (business owners) want to have a “lean” business. They want a business that hits the gym every day and is in pristine condition.… READ MORE

Inventory is a Taxing Job

As a wholesale distributor your inventory is your business. It is your life line to your customers. It is your bread and butter. It is your profit. Unfortunately it is also your most significant cost. Sometimes that cost can become overwhelming and hard to manage. But, a recent article I discovered, which can be found here, revealed another reason why keeping track of your inventory cost is so crucial to the success of your business. Reducing your inventory costs can significantly reduce how much you pay in taxes each year. It is not too soon to be considering how you can prepare your business for the taxing times ahead!… READ MORE

Friends Don’t Let Friends Get Stuck With Excess Inventory

Following my 3 part blog series covering 10 steps to right-size your inventory, part 1 of which can be found here, the next question you should be asking yourself is, “what do you do with all of this inventory?” In this blog series, we have discussed 7 of the 10 ways to get rid of the dead or excess inventory which has been identified by your analysis.

In this final segment of my three part series, (part 1 and part 2 can be found here) I will discuss the last 3 options you have to reduce your inventory.

Consider kitting: Consider packaging the product that is not moving with some other popular item and moving it that way.… READ MORE

4 Ideas On Getting Rid Of Dead Or Excess Inventory

Following my 3 part blog series covering the 10 steps to right-sizing your inventory, part 1 of which can be found here, let’s tackle the next question which is, “what do I do with all of this inventory?”

In the first piece of this 3 part blog series (here) I covered 3 ways to get rid of your dead or excess inventory. In this second part I would like to discuss 4 more suggestions to help reduce that inventory.

Consider moving to a different locationthKFECNJC7

The same item might be popular in one location and unpopular in another. If you are dealing with this situation, you might consider moving the product to the location where it is still selling.… READ MORE

10 Ways to Get Rid of Your Dead or Excess Inventory

Following my 3 part blog series covering the 10 steps to right-sizing your inventory (you can read part one here), it only felt natural to continue to explore the next part of the process. Once you’ve identified the non-performing portions of your inventory, the next question is, “what do I do with all of this inventory?”

It is always easier to find the problem than to solve the problem and maintain your inventory so the problem does not come up again. Dead inventory is always a struggle, in the back of many wholesale distributors’ minds, because it is a common belief that the inventory will be needed “someday.” The problem is, you don’t want to become a hoarder, keeping inventory that hasn’t moved in 6, 12, even 24 months.… READ MORE

Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to right-size inventory

In my previous two blog posts, I shared seven steps that a business can do to right-size inventory. You can read the first post here and the second post here. These ideas are mostly from my colleague Jane Lee’s write-up. In this final post, I will conclude this series with the last three steps. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Following a full analysis of your inventory, it’s time to take action and use these 10 steps to right-size inventory.… READ MORE

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