Property managers for organizations and corporations are charged with maintaining inventory of physical assets. This is no easy feat if your company deals with hundreds or thousands of products or uses a variety of tools and physical resources to provide services.
The end of one year, and the beginning of the next, is an even busier time for those in the property management field. Determining year-end inventory, depreciation and losses for tax purposes while simultaneously making inventory budget predictions for the following year can quickly get messy and complex without a solid asset management system in place. Here are 10 ways to prepare for 2013.
- Analyze last year’s inventory usage. Most companies like to have a view of the budgetary picture moving into a new year. Unless you plan and provide documentation and evidence of the funds you’ll need for 2013, you could find yourself short on cash midway through the year. The best way to make these predictions is to analyze inventory utilization for the current year and compare that data to trending usage patterns, such as increases or decreases over time or during seasonal periods.
- Commit to quality management. How many orders did you place in 2012, and from which vendors? Which vendors deliver lower-cost products or provide better service? Did you run into trouble with delayed deliveries? Trimming costs can be as simple as taking a look at what works and what doesn’t. Stick with the more efficient providers and spend less on inventory. Implementing an evaluation and assurance system will help you measure potential vendors before you ever do business with them.
- Redefine optimal inventory levels. In addition to vendor and inventory quality management, the optimal inventory level is a critical factor in the success of a company. Too much inventory on hand ties up working capital and drives up holding or handling costs, greatly restricting the company from moving forward. Too little inventory results in a host of problems ranging from unhappy customers to lost productivity in product development or production areas. The optimal inventory level balances both aspects and permits forward progression.
- Clear out unusable inventory. If you’re holding onto inventory with quality issues, it’s doing little more than taking up otherwise valuable space. Monetize unusable inventory if possible or clear it out by donating or recycling it.
- Schedule a regular maintenance plan for 2013. Property managers are not only in charge of controlling inventory, but ensuring that equipment is functioning properly to avoid losses in productivity. Property managers are not only in charge of controlling inventory, but ensuring that equipment is functioning properly to avoid losses in productivity. Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) are an easy way to collect data for work order tracking or conditions monitoring. CMMS asset tags with bar codes make gathering this information faster, less expensive and more accurate than manual data collection.
- Take stock at preset intervals. If you’re in charge of maintaining inventory and there’s suddenly a shortage, guess who’s to blame? Mixed up shipments, incorrect orders, replacement products and even the unfortunate reality of employee theft can wreak havoc on your numbers. How can you keep your products more secure in 2013? Taking stock more frequently can help pinpoint minor losses before they become major problems.
- Ramp up security precautions. It’s an unfortunate reality that theft is an ever-increasing problem in terms of inventory control. But utilizing security labels on each piece of inventory—or at a minimum, higher-value items —provides a foolproof way to track the location of every asset. There are different types of tamper-evident labels available which can be a deterrent to potential thieves.
- Re-assess your tracking system. How are you keeping tabs on your inventory, including how much heads out the door and when? If your company is just starting out, you may not have a fine-tuned inventory management system in place. There are dozens of software applications you can use to do so. Investing in a proven system now will save you plenty of headaches later.
- Evaluate your software vendors. If you’re already using some type of computerized inventory management system, how complex is your current setup? Are you using different programs for different aspects of inventory management? If you’re compiling data from programs tracking accounting and physical counts separately and using Excel pivot tables to analyze your data and make predictions, there’s an easier way. Some inventory management systems handle multiple facets of inventory management and have built-in analytics tools.
- Get a firmer grip on each piece of inventory. If you’re using a manual tracking system, human influence can play a big role in mishaps. Using an established system of asset tracking with asset tags or barcode labels will alleviate a level of human intervention, providing you with both accuracy and efficiency. Combined with a solid asset and inventory tracking software application, your job will run like a well-oiled machine in 2013.
Property managers are always looking for better, more efficient ways to handle the many aspects of their jobs. Asset tags and asset tracking systems provide the foundation for reducing overhead and other operating costs, driving up revenue through increased productivity and quality improvement and also provide a clearer picture of the overall organization and pinpoint the decisions that will help move the company forward.