Professional => The office => Topic started by: stimpy on January 21, 2019, 10:00:50 AM

Title: Inventory
Post by: stimpy on January 21, 2019, 10:00:50 AM
Hi guys.

It's been almost a year since i went from hobby, to official part-time gearmaker.

But a lot have changed sinds then, all the paperwork etc.. things that i didn't need to take into account when it was still a hobby.

I am trying to figure out how to make things more efficiently now.  I have the invoices and shipping figured out. But 1 thing that needs to be streamlined is the inventory.

Nothing sucks more then looking at my orders and realise i am missing items for an order. While i just ordered at a supplier the day before. Most cheap things like plastic hardware are always in stock. But how do you keep track of the more expensive stuff. Like cobra buckles, cordura, and webbing. ?

Often i look at a roll of webbing and think, i'm still good. But then i run out quicker then expected and have orders waiting because i need to re-order. (And hopefully the supplier has everything in stock) how do you guys keep track of things? I know you can make a complete inventory, and deduct everything used after every order. But isn't that too timeconsuming? After all time is money also... ?

Title: Re: Inventory
Post by: Migo on January 21, 2019, 10:23:02 AM
Solution is very simple. :o You need ab ERP System. A little warehouse management, BoM, Orders in System etc.
Complex topic, but i todays world quiet easy possible out of the cloud as SASS (Software as a Service).

- Migo
Title: Re: Inventory
Post by: stimpy on January 21, 2019, 11:31:22 AM
Hi migo,

Thanks for the reply, but that sounds like chinese to me 😂

You are talking to a guy that justblearned how to make invoices in excel
Title: Re: Inventory
Post by: Migo on January 22, 2019, 05:09:23 AM
So you better first start learning invoices with Word.
Just kidding

If you have a system, that has your stock on fabrics etc. ...
and if the the system had your BoM (bill of material) keyed in ...
then you could set production orders and match the needs for production to your stock.
Title: Re: Inventory
Post by: Gear Dynamics on January 22, 2019, 12:41:00 PM
Tracking on-going consumption of inventory, especially in terms single pieces and yards, is very difficult. With a large operation, you could implement a barcode system, and every time materials are pulled, they get scanned. this would give you a realtime count. To do this as a small operation would be very time consuming. Some things that may help you:

- At year end, you should be doing a total count of everything you have, and recording this in some manor. This can be useful throughout the year to see how much stock of a particular item you started with, coupled with a quick estimate of what you think you've consumed based on orders sent out. For example, if we started the year with 50x 45mm Cobra Buckles, it would be easy to quickly open up your spreadsheet for orders received and do a quick search for all the products sold that would use that part.

- Another recommendation is that you keep your inventory organized and visible on shelves, at least what you routinely consume. For example, we made plywood shelves with little cubbies, and have all of our buckles in clear plastic bins. Only 100 parts at a time are dumped into these bins so it's easy to judge at a glance what is left. Any surplus parts, say for example we had 200 pcs of a particular buckle, would be stored in a tote, but could easily be checked in our inventory. When parts get down to the last 50 or so, it's time to reorder. Same goes for Velcro, thread, and webbing. I recommend doing a quarterly assessment of all of your inventory, just to see what could be topped up, and what you just aren't selling.

- As a small outfit, nothing wrong with using Excel. It's cheap and easy, and you can use all kinds of formulas in your spreadsheets to help with calculating. At a minimum each year you should maintain three documents: revenue, expenses and inventory. All of these easily be done in Excel. If you'd like to see some examples, PM me.
Title: Re: Inventory
Post by: essal on January 23, 2019, 10:32:59 AM
A good inventory system requires a lot of other things to be aligned and connected to each others. All products would require a BOM, and your point of sales (webshop) needs to speak with whatever software that has your BOMs to not allow orders unless all points in the BOM are available. How? No clue. It would have been nice to have a system like that, to allow for build-on-demand products without being scared of out of stock raw material. I would hope that some webshops have an BOM inventory feature, but I haven't looked. This is where PLMs and ERPs come in, and unless you're a big business aiming for ISO 9001 I wouldn't bother even thinking about it.

Another way, it does require some heavy excel engineering, is to do a multi page file that has your inventory and all BOMs. We have talked about material calculators and stock here before, so do a quick search. Basically page 1 would be your stock and total orders of each SKU sold, and page 2-99 would be different BOMs for different products (maybe even SKUs, I'm no Excel wizard). The stock on page 1 needs to pull all the data on consumption from page 2-99 (and calculate waste). Then you need to figure out what is your pain point for each material and hardware, I can't think of a good way to do this except for SWAGing based on your order history. Simple colors are always good to have; Green is good, yellow means it's going on the next order and red means you've fucked up. Shouldn't be TOO hard if you know your way around Excel or can watch tutorials on Youtube ::)

Last way, which might not be desirable if you're into running a tight ship, is to simply have more than you need on hand. If you want 1 roll of 1" webbing, get 2. When you're down to 1 roll, start planning your next order. If it's a high consumption material or hardware, only put 75% in a bin and keep the rest as backup. When you're low in the bin, start planning your next order.
Title: Re: Inventory
Post by: WhiskeyTwoFour on January 23, 2019, 05:28:18 PM
Is there a cultural aversion to QuickBooks? QuickBooks Wholesale and Manufacturing does this and more.  Single user license is $350.  Expand as necessary with barcodes, RFIDs, and more.  Communicate professionally with accountants.  Make your life easier.
Title: Re: Inventory
Post by: stimpy on January 25, 2019, 05:45:10 AM
Thanks for the replies guys, really appreciate it.

I kind of rolled in to this, making stuff for me, then co-workers. And it grew and grew over the years. And am now almost a year officially a side-bussines next to being in the army.

But i still keep growing. And really am on the point that i need to streamline things, such as productio, planning, and accountancy. Stock is building up pretty good. But i never kept track of what i use. When i see that a roll is almost finished i buy a new one. Just don't have the cashflow yet to keep multiple rolls of everything in stock, an thats the problem, since i am not keeping track of what i use, i sometimes have no idea how much is left on a roll, when i am at home i could do a rough estimate by the eye.

But in the army i'm sometimes gone for a week or 2, in that time orders build up. Lets say 10 cobra buckle belts as a simple example. And after those 2 weeks i come home and see i only have 8 buckles and enough webbing for 7 belts.
I then need to order a new roll, more buckles or fabrics etc... while i could have done those orders while i am away from home. If i could check my inventory from the phone or laptop. That way the turnaround time for the client doesn't get to long. And i can do better workplanning myself. Now i have weeks that there few orders coming in. And i have time to spare.
but waiting on suplies for other open orders. That could have been made in that spare time if i had better resource management.

But i got some ideas combined from your replies that could work at the level i am at now.
 So time to do some inventory now i guess

Thanks again

Title: Re: Inventory
Post by: SR Tactical on February 07, 2021, 02:19:42 AM
I know this topic got quite old, but it is still an issue...

We decided to fully inventorize our raw materials and started doing BOM's for everything we manufacture. The BOM also takes into account how much material is wasted. Every time material is pulled from the shelf, it will be registered manually. That makes no sense if you just make one or two pouches, but it does when you are making ten or 20. In the end, I have a perfect excel sheet that shows me what we have in stock and what it's worth. That way it even helps me calculating product price.

In the manufacturing process itself, everything is documented with kanban cards. Next step, once all the BOM's are done, will be linking the BOM's to our order system. At that point we will be looking at an ERP system, as it will then become too complex for excel to manage.