Inventory Control: The Digital Warehouse
When managing marketing materials and promotional goods across sales teams, it becomes clear that budgets aren’t always going to be enough. Controlling funds might not be the key to ensure marketing materials are being distributed wisely across profit centers or regions.
The Recon GRP eCommerce platform is home to an allocations solution that provides administrators the control and flexibility to ensure materials are being distributed wisely. After the goods are distributed, the reporting features in the system give advanced insight in to the goods consumption to help build a foundation for continuous improvements as programs continue over the years.
So, how does it work?
The Recon GRP eCommerce platform, at it’s very core, is a virtual representation of the physical inventory in the warehouse and/or showrooms (and all the components that make them work – product intake, inventory aging mechanisms, distribution, etc.,). When a user logs into view a product, they can see the inventory remaining and gauge how much they need to order (and when that user finalizes an order for products, the next user will see depreciated inventory). Pretty straight forward, so far.
Now imagine that you are running distribution across multiple sales team members in multiple departments and you want to make sure that specific products get distributed proportionately to different regions. Without technology, in order to control distribution to make sure the inventory is getting close to where it ideally should be for the most impactful outreach programs, lockboxes might be deployed to make sure the correct amount of products or going to the right people. One lockbox for your representative from Los Angeles, another one for your rep in the OC and a few more for the inland regions.
Allocation systems alleviate the need for physical lockboxes, and introduce a control component to the user ordering mechanisms. Administrators can dictate sets of inventories to different departments and different users which prevent over-ordering inventory and skewing of product distribution. If we take a look at our previous scenario, a user will login to the system to acquire products and see the available inventory. However, with allocations, they will only see their segmented inventory that has been issued to their user account. When this user finalizes their order, their segmented inventory will deplete, but the next user will only see their independently allocated total inventory.
Whenever processes are translated from physical or manual controls, not only is efficiency increased, but so is in-depth, pivotable insight. With initial allocations, reporting mechanisms will allow the administrators to easily see inventory utilization to figure out whether users are appropriately ordering the goods allocated to them, but also pinpointing users that are underutilizing available inventory. These details increase an organization’s ability to produce, distribute and market more accurately while decreasing waste and identifying ways of increasing impact.
Expanding the Allocations Program:
In addition to allocations, The Recon GRP e-Commerce platform includes forecasting features that work in unison with the allocations module. Forecasting gives users the ability to communicate how much of each eligible product they think they might need for the upcoming quarter or year. This will help gauge sourcing and production, while also forming the foundation for allocations to help meet each user’s requested inventory levels.
Over time, reporting and analytics will increase administrators’ ability to pinpoint standard deviations, external factors for annual consumption, and so much more. All of these mechanisms will smooth out the edges that are often found in marketing and distribution programs that lead to unforeseen waste and a decreased impact of well thought out programs and initiatives.
Additional Checks and Balances:
In addition to budgets, inventory controls, allocations and forecasting, order approvals are a standard feature in The Recon GRP e-Commerce solution that allow for dynamic approvals to take place for global or individual users. Different approvers can be assigned to specific user accounts and will receive notification whenever an order is finalized by the user. The approver can go in and approve or deny the order based on the details (product ordered, shipping location, etc.,). While order approvals can be burdensome depending on the number of users and the volume of orders placed daily, the dynamic features allow for single users or small groups of users to require order approvers as necessary, perhaps as a probationary or correctional function.
Finally, Getting Away from Paper Processing and Lock-boxes:
All of these mechanisms have been built by The Recon GRP team to address pain points that are communicated to us by our clients. We continuously adapt to grow the solutions that help our clients achieve their goals and increase their reach. We want to help build a system that will bring the manual mechanisms of warehousing, sourcing, distribution and reporting to the digital stage and help increase efficiencies, develop productive accuracy and help marketing teams have time to do what they do best – market! Our team gets creative with technology so your team can creative with branding initiatives and impactful programs that get your name out there and your mission known.