How to Devote More Time to What Really Matters in Business

Business leaders have a lot to worry about every day. It’s easy to let little things sidetrack you and take you away from the core areas of your business where you would do best to focus, such as selling your products, making them better, and improving customer service.

Inventory management software lets you devote more time to core areas of your business, QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogInventory management is one area of business that can easily bog down even the best business leader if they’re not careful. You don’t want to let it take you away from your core competency, and you don’t have to as long as you have the right tools.

Advanced inventory management software will take a lot of the weight off your shoulders by:

  • Empowering employees to place orders, receive shipments, and perform other inventory tasks
  • Automating the reorder process, so you don’t have to do everything by hand
  • Generating reports that show demand trends, areas for improvement, and many other useful data points
  • Always having up-to-date information when you need it on product quantities, locations, shipments en route, and more
  • Allowing you to use barcode scanners and other tools to increase the speed and accuracy of your inventory management

And these are just some of the ways inventory management software helps. Learn more about what it can do for your business by clicking the link above.

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What Is Missing in Your Business?

Is your business struggling to grow right now, but you’re not sure why? You have popular products, you’ve hired talented employees to help you, and you’re getting the word out through marketing, but still you’re not seeing the results you’re hoping for.

What is preventing your business from running at full capacity? QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogSomething Missing

Perhaps something is missing – something that could dramatically boost your efficiency, cut costs, and improve your ability to meet customers’ expectations.

What is this missing link? It might just be inventory management software.

Make Sure Nothing Is Missing

Inventory management software helps you make sure nothing is missing in your inventory.

It helps you have the ideal number of products on your shelves. If you keep too many products in stock, you wind up tying a lot of capital up in inventory and running the risk of spoilage and damage. If you keep too few, you risk disappointing customers and losing sales.

With inventory tracking features, you can quickly find items and prevent them from getting lost.

You can also set up automatic reorder points on all of your parts and products so that you’ll be able to keep the right number flowing into your warehouse(s) to cover the items that are flowing out.

Don’t Miss Out

Stop missing out on the benefits of inventory management software. You can fill the needs of your business and customers by using software that allows you to keep a close eye on everything going on with your inventory.

Sign up for a Web demo to see how inventory management software can help your business.

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The Importance of Communication in Supply Chain Management

Someone recently told me about a horrible experience they had with a supplier. They had ordered a large number of items to be put in a large container and shipped across the ocean from China.

Communication is an important part of having a healthy supply chain, QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogHowever, the supplier discovered that all of the items wouldn’t fit in the container they had agreed upon. Instead of alerting their customer to this problem, they simply indiscriminately removed a large number of products and did not ship them at all without giving any warning of what they had done.

Fast forward a little while and when the container was finally delivered to the customer, they discovered that many badly needed supplies were missing. This meant that they had to disappoint their own customers who had been waiting for them.

This bad situation could have been resolved before it ballooned into a major problem if the supplier had just called, texted, or emailed their client. If there was no way to get another container, the customer could have at least worked with the supplier to prioritize the most important items they needed to get as soon as possible.

Communication Is Key

The need for communication in supply chain management cannot be overstated. If a shipment is delayed, unfulfilled, or otherwise disrupted, it’s up to the supplier to inform the company they are supposed to ship to that there is a problem. This might be painful at first and it could even cost a customer or two because of their disappointment. But over time, this kind of honesty and communication builds credibility and trust.

If a supplier spends more time worrying about getting blamed for delays than they do solving the problems that cause those delays, they’re more likely to keep upsetting customers and making customers wary of doing business with them.

But if a supplier keeps their customers in the loop about their processes, they can work together to come up with a solution when something unexpected comes up. Admitting mistakes is never easy. In fact, it can be quite painful. But there’s no other way to enjoy long-term success.

Monitoring Suppliers’ Performance

You can use inventory tracking software to monitor your relationships with each of your suppliers. If you notice a pattern of late shipments, unfulfilled orders, or short items, you can give those suppliers warnings or find new suppliers, if they don’t change their ways.

Relationships are important when doing business. Your customers need to trust you in order to want to buy your products or services, and you must trust your suppliers in order to continue getting parts and products from them. If there are weak links in your supply chains, you can work to fix them with or without your suppliers’ help, but it’s better if you can work together in a mutually beneficial way.

Open communication facilitates relationship building. Keep the channels of communication open between you and your customers and suppliers so that you can prevent misunderstandings and disappointments from creeping in.

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Engaging Your Employees Might Just Save Your Business

Companies don’t need to wait for a stimulus from the government to pull this country out of the economic doldrums. They have plenty of untapped power hidden within them that they could use to raise themselves up if they only knew how to unlock it.

Engaging your employees can yield hugely positive results for your business, QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogWhat is this untapped power? Unengaged employees.

According to a 2013 Gallup poll, the U.S. economy could be generating $450 billion to $550 billion more every year if its workers were all engaged and fully committed to their jobs.

What keeps employees from being engaged? It can be many things:

  • Poor managers
  • Overly negative corporate culture
  • A lack of focus on employees’ positive contributions
  • Excessive hours required on the job

Seventy percent of American employees are unengaged at work, according to Gallup. If we could get that number close to zero, employees and businesses would likely enjoy lower healthcare costs, better overall health and wellbeing, fewer absences and injuries, less job turnover, and higher productivity.

We could go from tepid to explosive growth if employees were fully engaged and motivated to do their best at work. You can’t control what other businesses do, but you can control what you do in your own business.

If you want to rise above the competition, unlock your workers’ hidden talents by:

  • Choosing managers by their abilities instead of seniority
  • Offering positive reinforcement of good behavior rather than just punishing bad behavior
  • Showing employees you appreciate what they do
  • Being flexible with employees’ schedules

Don’t wait for the economy to improve. Make it happen by changing the way you do business.

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10 Game-Changing Manufacturing Tactics

Manufacturers can bring their business practices to a whole new level with manufacturing inventory software. Here are 10 game-changing manufacturing tactics you can use with the right software:

Manufacturing game changers, QuickBooks Manufacturing Blog1. Automatically track shipments and send customers emails with the estimated time of arrival for their packages

2. Monitor production processes to find areas for improvement, such as wasted materials and slowdowns

3. Update inventory numbers in real time so you always know what you have in stock

4. Map out your warehouses(s) so you know exactly where each part and product is, down to the shelf and bin

5. Use handheld devices to scan inventory in and out of your warehouse, helping you avoid data-entry errors

6. Know the condition of your products at each stage of the production process

7. Standardize your receiving, ordering, picking, packing, and shipping operations to increase efficiency and effectiveness of employees

8. Integrate your inventory and accounting software to eliminate double data entry and make sure your records all match up

9. Set up automatic reorder points on all of your parts and products to keep them from running out

10. Use multilevel work orders and bills of materials on jobs that require several steps to complete

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Achieving Green Inventory Management

A business that makes the best use of its resources is saving a lot more than just money. There are only so many resources to go around, so it’s a good idea to have as much efficiency as possible to prevent waste. That’s what wise stewards do.

Achieve green inventory management for a healthier business, QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogWhat can you do to achieve green inventory management? Here are a few ideas:

  • Use inventory tracking software to automate ordering and receiving processes
  • Train as many of your employees as possible on how to use inventory-related hardware and software so they can help keep the business running smoothly
  • Use a Just in Time (JIT) model to get just the right amount of parts and materials in stock when you need them
  • Study your customers’ buying trends to plan for surges and declines in sales so you don’t keep a huge safety stock all the time
  • Work with local vendors to reduce wait times for new orders to arrive
  • Make the best use of your warehouse space by putting popular items close to the receiving door and grouping similar items together

This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are plenty of other things you can do to improve your company’s efficiency and save money and resources. But these serve as a good starting point.

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5 Inventions That Could Radically Change the Way Companies Manage Inventory

New technology is both useful and disruptive. As companies struggle to adapt to an ever-changing environment of one innovation after another, they should prepare for things that could have a huge impact on how they do business.

How will new technology affect inventory management? QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogHere are five inventions that could radically change the way companies manage their inventory.

1. Smartphones/Tablets

The world is going mobile. Instead of expecting an accountant or warehouse manager to sit at a computer and crunch numbers, businesses are starting to free them up to walk through a warehouse and check inventory counts, correct errors, and reorder items with a smartphone or tablet.

If each employee could use their own personal device to do inventory management tasks, that could also save the company money and save the workers time they would otherwise have to spend getting used to new hardware. This may present some data-security issues, but I’m sure they’ll get worked out.

2. 3D Printing

Imagine paying $50 for a prosthetic limb instead of $40,000. Or building an entire house without contracting the job out to a huge team of workers. What if you could manufacture replacement parts for your vehicle rather than going to a shop and waiting for deliveries to come in?

We’re just scratching the surface of what is possible with 3D printing technology. Brand-new organs created from someone’s cells could eliminate the need for donors, and printed food could be quicker and more cost-effective than growing it. How many lives could these save if they ever became practical?

And all of this would seriously change the way companies operate. Doctors, pharmaceutical companies, construction companies, repair shops, and many other businesses would have to rethink their roles in consumers’ affairs. They would likely become more advisers than providers, lending their expertise on implementation rather than production.

3. Google Glass

Google Glass, or something like it, could eventually turn into a hands-free barcode scanner. Imagine verbally asking for inventory counts on products you’re looking at and seeing real-time stats pop up to the side of your vision. Speed and accuracy without worrying about dropping expensive hardware – that sounds like a giant leap forward in warehouse management.

4. Drones

I talked about this extensively in another blog post. If deliveries could be made via drone rather than plane and truck, this could completely change the way companies handle supply chains, warehouses, and other aspects of their business.

Customers would learn to expect packages in hours or even minutes instead of days. This would speed everything up, forcing companies to automate many processes. It would be virtually impossible to keep managing inventory the old-fashioned way if drones became the main way to ship products to customers. Greater efficiency would be the name of the game.

5. Car Sharing

While not technically the invention of a new product, car sharing is a twist on the old concept of car ownership. Rather than purchasing a vehicle and maintaining it, some people prefer the flexibility of simply borrowing a car when and where they need it and then returning it when they’re done.

There are three main types of car sharing: Peer to Peer (individuals rent their cars out), B2C (companies rent their cars out), and Co-op (cities or other local organizations rent cars out). In all of these cases it is quite a logistical challenge to keep track of all of these vehicles and get the right vehicle into each customer’s hands exactly when they need it.

For rent-a-car companies, this is a significant change to how they’ve done business in the past. The idea continues to catch on in many countries, so it looks like companies with fleets of cars to rent out will need to keep upping their game.

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