Why Young Managers should know about Inventory Operations

When a management student passes out from college and is absorbed into any business organization, if he is lucky he will get to spend a few months in getting orientation in all departments before being assigned to a particular department or function at the end of the induction program. Those who get to be assigned to working in Supply chain or inventory operations of the company are likely to learn very important lessons that is likely to give them an edge later on when they grow in ranks and take up higher and different responsibilities. Inventory management and supply chain operations both on the Raw material as well as Finished Goods side are very critical to the success of sales and marketing besides being major contributors to the profitability of the company.

Sales and Marketing can be said to be efficient not when they build sales leads and convert them. But the efficiency of being able to reach the right Finished Product to the Right Customer or Market and the Right Time is what determines the Success of S & M. Inventory is the other function that is critical to the Sales.

An efficient inventory management will mean carrying balanced inventory and functioning at optimum efficiency as well as ensuring control over inventory carrying costs. Any increase in efficiency of inventory holding or operations impacts bottom line directly. Supply chain, having to do with movement of inventory to and from plant to the markets, holding inventory en route at various points and managing overall inventory logistics is also very critical both to inventory management as well as the Sales Function.

Once the trainee has understood the operations models and seen how the entire chain of functions involving multiple internal departments, systems, documentation as well as external vendors, third party service providers and the governmental organization all work in tandem to make the business a success, he would have pretty much understood the secret to building successful business.

Time and again we have seen that the General Managers as well as the Marketing Managers who have been heading their departments in the companies have made headway and achieved breakthroughs in terms of marketing their products using innovative supply chain distribution strategies and thereby have been able to impact the bottom lines substantially. Direct marketing, E marketing, Network marketing are all new sales concepts but if you have to incorporate these into your marketing plan, then it becomes necessary first for you to be able to understand and define the supply chain and inventory strategy to service these delivery channels.

An inventory strategy can be designed on paper but then to be able make it operational, one needs to have a realistic exposure and experience to the field operations and have a hang of how things work on the ground. Inventory management and operations involve multiple agencies and service providers combined with multiple systems that need to be interfaced. Sales process has to be married to Supply Chain and logistics process, which in turn needs to drive the inventory operations process in the back end. All these different modules need to be working in tandem and seamlessly to deliver products across markets in time.

Any aspiring manager who wants to head an organization as General Management or Marketing Manger would have to first get first hand experience of these brass tacks that will help him later to be able to devise practical and achievable strategies to take his business ahead.


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