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Inventory Management

How Are You Managing Your Inventory?

Tools are often the most expensive investment a business owner can make. Yet most storerooms and machine shops suffer from the same issues when it comes to proper resource management: 

  • Hand-processed documentation, such as purchase orders. 
  • One store man handling the requisitions of a 24/7 shop. 
  • Cabinets filled with stock, accessible to any staff. 
  • Managers who need to track the stock and issue it out to staff on request. 
  • Employees hoarding stock. 
  • Endless stock-takes to influence stock value, or to keep sufficient quantities on hand. 
  • Management focusing more on stock-outs and logistics than improvements. 
  • Paper-based, non-sustainable systems that require filing and tracking in a digital world.

Many of these common issues are rooted in a lack of control, which correlates to a lack of knowledge. Without proper data, there is little hope of improvement.

How does one take back control? Generate more reports? Hire more staff and increase costs? Implement the latest and greatest ERPs? Or something else entirely.

The answer is simple: Automate

Automating your control over inventory doesn’t always mean big expensive robots or software systems that cost a fortune and require a degree to manoeuvre. It can start simply.

Know the stock you have – Ensure the stock you need

Start by simply taking stock of what inventory you have. Cutting tools, coolants, lubricants, PPE, hand tools, measuring equipment and abrasives are all commonly used. These items should have a simple code system to track them within a central database. 

This database can be a simple spreadsheet to start with, but will prove invaluable when checking: what stock is on hand, what stock should be on hand, when it was last purchased and the last cost of each item. As every manager and supervisor knows, downtime due to stock outages should be kept to an absolute minimum, always.

Too often, the same item is purchased multiple times, leading to excess stock. Simple but critical items are not purchased often enough, or in the quantities required to keep machines running optimally.

Simple Vending Solutions

Modern manufacturing facilities need to have the right tools on hand, available when required to complete a job. Wasting time walking across the factory floor to storerooms or tool cribs, standing in queues for products to be issued. Handwritten requisition forms and unsecured stock—all lead to downtime. This results in poor productivity, negatively affecting the bottom line and any profits. 

Vending machines (as commonly known) remove the hassles that can occur at the point of use: manufactured to be tamper-proof and secure, linked to software that tracks each stock on hand, all with an issuing and reordering history, within a footprint as small as a filing or tool cabinet.

Automating stock control and assuring tools are where they need to be will help your team succeed at what’s most important: running manufacturing smoothly, and churning out parts on time.

Vending Software & Cost Savings

There are instant cost savings that result from implementing something as simple as the vending dispensary solution:

  • It instantly eliminates the amount of excess stock on hand while also giving daily, weekly and monthly reports on product usage to identify high-use items. 
  • High-use items can be purchased in larger quantities and fewer orders, thereby reducing freight and other costs. 
  • Supplies software can be used to automatically reorder stocks at a safe pace. 
  • Suppliers can arrange for multiple items to be shipped to you in a single parcel on receipt of the order. 

By so doing, you eliminate the need for staff to initiate or execute orders, check stock or remember to order. This frees up their time to do more value-added tasks. Keeping track of item usage will also highlight any problematic or consumable items. This, in turn, may require further investigation to reduce waste, allowing for longer or multiple uses and improving the overall life of your tools.

Touch-Free Vending

Reduce touchpoints and wait times for PPE by enabling touch-free vending. This new, touch-free system allows workers to be issued assigned items simply by scanning their employee badges.

There’s no need to individually select items on Tekvision, nor enter item barcodes. Just one scan is all that’s needed to receive assigned inventory in the field—quickly and with minimal touchpoints. Other benefits include:

  • Quick and thorough vending models that reduce any downtime.
  • Use of Access Codes ensure each worker gets the right supplies—every time.
  • Ideal mode for automating the issuing of PPE Kits to workers.
Utilise Your Database for Contact Tracing

In a post-pandemic environment, precautions are warranted. Download and run contact-tracing reports to identify contaminated equipment, employees at risk for exposure, or if a colleague tests positive for COVID-19.

Creating PPE Stations

Set up PPE stations at entry points or high-traffic areas. This solution eliminates the need to repackage supplies to vend from a traditional machine, and will drastically cut down on wait times.

Simply open boxes of PPE and have an attendant scan each item’s PPE Barcode before letting an employee take the approved item. PPE stations can also be set up outside your tool crib to better control traffic flow and reuse.

For more information, or to schedule a visit from Skok Machine Tools experts so you can start simplifying your inventory management process, contact us HERE.

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