For ages, the resellers like wholesalers, dealers and retailers had to forecast, plan and store their own inventory where all of the risk is theirs only and the rise and fall of demand kept on impacting their on time delivery, their return on investment, stock-outs and so on. Never ever they had a collaborative solution which can provide them access to a preferred group of resellers inventory and they can collaborate to re-distribute, re-allocate and replenish inventory based on the groups requirement.
Few days back, I witnessed an inventory management solution which could help the resellers do all this and not only this but the solution offered lot of other benefits. I prefer to call this solution as Shared Inventory Pool Solution (SIPS). This solution ensures that you can afford to keep lesser inventory and at the same time the participants of the group can plan together which slow moving items should be kept jointly or can allocate these items storage to different participants so that at least others can release their capital to that part and use it elsewhere. The benefits of SIPS are:
- It allows aftermarket manufacturers, dealers, wholesalers, retailers etc. to indicate which parts of the inventory can be shared with the participant group members and which part of the inventory can be visible to them. This helps you control your inventory privacy as well as let others know if you have something that they need and you have extra numbers, then those can be borrowed and sold
- Provides real time access to shared inventory pool whenever a customer orders which helps in giving accurate available to promise (ATP) date to them
- Provides ability to split an order across multiple participants in case the participant is not ready to part with its critical inventory and in this case, the customer will still get a unified quote and no participant will lose sales for want of stock
- KPIs like obsolescence, scrap, shelf life, on-time delivery, perfect orders fulfillment get improved
- Best in class inventory codification, catalog management and categorization
- Provides ability to integrate with multiple ERP systems and extract allowed visible items data to be shown in a single screen to all the participants
Since SIPS can also be a cloud based solution, it is an innovative and practical application in supply chain space. I am not sure if this solution is available for businesses other than resellers for now in the market but it is just the matter of time if it is accepted in the reseller market and is able to show its value.