Inventory tracking for your primary manufacturing projects can be challenging, but ultimately it’s part of your core operations, so business owners don’t have much trouble adapting to the demands of their warehouses and supply lines. When it comes to your support departments, though, it can be tougher to figure out exactly how inventory tracking and consumption work, because their use of resources tends to be less consistent.
Packaging and Maintenance
While any department can wind up with resource management and supply chain issues, packaging and maintenance tend to be the most complex challenges. Shipping and warehousing don’t require as much additional supply as those two, and what it does require is simple and overlaps with other departments. Mostly, it comes down to maintenance and fuel for machines like your forklifts and office supplies. By contrast, both packaging and maintenance departments need to be ready to provide creative solutions to your needs, so they need a wide pool of supplies to draw from, many of which are used inconsistently.
Use Your Employee Knowledge Base
Your maintenance staff and supervisors are your eyes and ears when it comes to inventory tracking, but it’s also a good idea to let them be the brain where it makes sense. They’re likely to see if certain parts are coming into demand because of a pattern of maintenance concerns or projects coming up, so work out procedures that allow them to control the ordering. This allows you to set a budget and work out supply lines that give you the best possible prices on key components like heavy duty caster wheels for custom machines, carts, and tools around your factory.
Build a Constellation of Supply Contacts
There are some real advantages to working with a supply retailer who can provide you with parts as needed, without shopping around. It’s convenient, and if you don’t have the time to dedicate to sourcing your components from the manufacturer, that convenience can be necessary. If you’re buying in volume or ordering several parts that are built by the same people, though, it makes more sense to find a supplier whose expertise is in just that area of business.
You save money by getting wholesale prices and price breaks, work directly with the people who can provide you with custom built parts if needed, and enjoy the advantage of a direct relationship you can lean on for advice if your needs seem to be changing. This principle is just as true for your casters and cart wheels as it is for electrical components and custom mechanical parts.