Top 7 Secrets to Turn Inventory into Cash
By Chris Anderson
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What do you and your business need that you have been putting off because you donít have the money today? Letís start with the biggest, most obvious source Ė your balance sheet, specifically inventory. If you are a manufacturer with $300,000 or more of inventory (raw materials, work in process or finished goods) then STOP! We found it. Why? Because inventory is an unproductive asset. Inventory is money, and having it lying around your factory is not where your money belongs. So if we reduce inventory to Just-In-Time (JIT) levels, then we can eliminate 85% or more of your inventory, which translates into $250,000 in cash. But that's not all. You will also save another $50,000 or more in annual inventory carrying costs. With less inventory, there are lower costs of holding inventory. Here are some methods to reduce inventory and increase cash.
- Increase Demand Forecasting Accuracy. We only need enough inventory to satisfy demand, and that is where part of the problem exists. If demand can not be accurately forecasted, then we end up compensating for this unknown with inventory.
- Increase Manufacturing Cycle Efficiency. How well manufacturing resources are used to produce a product determines the cycle efficiency. Defective product, product rework, and long lags between manufacturing cells cause inefficiency, which can be easily calculated. Raw materials should be converted into finished goods as quickly as possible. The speed at which this occurs defines your manufacturing cycle efficiency.
- Increase Supply Chain Turns. Increasing the number of times purchases are made may increase acquisition costs and unit costs because of smaller order quantities. But you will benefit by increasing your cash flow and eliminating the carrying cost of the inventory (warehousing, material handling, taxes, insurance, depreciation, interest and obsolescence totaling 25% to 35%).
- Eliminate safety stock. Safety stock is really just a buffer for forecasting variance and supplier delivery time. While many levels are set arbitrarily in automated MRP systems, your safety stock levels will need to be reduced due to improvements in demand forecasting accuracy, manufacturing cycle efficiency and supply chain turns.
- Reduce purchasing errors. This can reduce overstocking and, more importantly, minimize stock outs that result in expensive expedited purchases. Sell excess and obsolete inventory or return it to your vendor.
- Eliminate delivery variance. Do not allow vendors to deliver early or late and make sure the delivered quantity does not vary from the order quantity. After all, delivery errors cause the need to carry more inventory. Instead, provide suppliers with forecasts of future needs.
- Train purchasing personnel. Provide your purchasing and material management personnel with formal training. This will arm them with better negotiating skills that will result in better prices and terms.
Chris Anderson is currently the managing director of Bizmanualz, Inc. and co-author of policies and procedures manuals, producing the layout, process design and implementation to increase performance.
To learn how to increase your business performance, visit: http://www.bizmanualz.com/?src=ART78
Article Submitted On: January 26, 2005