Take a wholesale food business, for example, that stocks thousands of items, each of which is constantly being sold and restocked. Many of them are perishable. Profitability hinges on selling inventory at the highest possible price before it expires. Managers need to know when food is about to expire so they can offer it to customers who can accept quantities quickly.
To meet this challenge companies have begun to deploy e-mail (or text) alerts that let managers know when swift action needs to be taken. In this example, managers receive an e-mail each day listing every product in every facility that is within 5 days of expiring and another e-mail listing all products that have just passed their expiration date. This allows managers to take immediate action to move aging inventory while it can still be sold such as offering milk to schools who can consume the product before it expires. If necessary, they can trade out the school’s stock with a longer shelf life and deliver it to supermarkets with slower turnover allowing the school to take even more expiring milk from stock.
Improved customer service
Alerts can also be used to let customers know in advance if a shipment is delayed.
At 7 am, managers get a notice of anything that did not ship the preceding day. The can then call customers set new expectations and mitigate problems. This prevents spending time putting out fires by eliminating calls about missed shipments.
Regain Lost Sales
Another use of alerts is to note exceptions to normal customer buying behavior. Say a customer who normally purchases every two weeks misses a purchase. The system alerts sales people who can call their customer and inquire into customers situation. This can be an early warning system helping sales people win back a customer who is giving a competitor a try.
Up to the minute status
A final example is reporting new orders. A report can be sent with figures for all sales that occurred within the last hour so managers can stay up to date with sales activity and take immediate action if it varies from the norm.
Managing by exception
In general any “exception” – expiring inventory, missed shipments, delayed orders and the like, can be spotted, flagged and alert managers to the need for corrective action. The final result is that the business doesn’t operate for long outside of normal values.
If you have a dynamic business and keeping everything running normally feels like a constant wrestling match, we can suggest ways to help you get – and stay –on top. Call Zev at (845) 371-1975