The discovery served as a reminder that even big companies can lose track of their product or carry too many items.
In this case, says Schrieberfeder, the on-hand quantities in the computer system did not agree with what was actually on the shelf. So there was little choice but to overstock to ensure that orders could be filled.
Stamping out sloppy inventory practices helped get inventory back in line. Among the trouble spots:
* Providing samples without recording their removal.
* Substituting product without recording what was removed.
* Taking items from the dock before the stock was processed.
"Unless you have effective policies and procedures in place," Schriebfeder says, "no software is going to help."
More from Jon Schriebfeder, including how to tie pay to inventory accuracy appears in the February issue of Distribution Center Management.
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