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Inventory Management and Warehouse Operations.

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The InventoryOps Book Shelf.

My recommended reading list.

Inventory and warehouse professionals are very fortunate to have an extensive library of books available on inventory operations. Unfortunately, all informational books are not created equal. I've purchased my share of useless books that are not worth the price of the paper they are printed on. I've also come across some real gems. The books I list on this page are ones that I have read and feel comfortable recommending. And two of them were even written by me.

I've created my Five Forklift Rating Scale to rate the books.


Why are there no books with less than three forklifts? If I didn't like the book enough to rate it at least three forklifts, I won't list it. I've included links to Amazon.com, and author's sites where available.

Inventory Management and Manufacturing Books

 

My Book

 

Inventory Management Explained: A focus on Forecasting, Lot Sizing, Safety Stock, and Ordering Systems.

Inventory Management Explained focuses on the key planning aspects of inventory management. Forecasting, Lot Sizing, Safety Stock, and Ordering Systems are explained in great detail. The book goes well beyond typical inventory management books by tearing apart the calculations and logic we use in inventory management and exposing the hidden (or not so hidden) flaws and limitations. It then builds on this by showing readers how they can use their understanding of inventory management and their specific business needs to modify these calculations or develop their own calculations to more effectively manage their inventory. The emphasis on practical solutions means readers can actually use what they've learned. Calculations are explained in plain English and through the use of Excel formulas and spreadsheet examples.

For more detailed information go to www.inventoryexplained.com

Available at InventoryBooks.com and Amazon.com

Production and Inventory Control Handbook

Production and Inventory Control Handbook

Materials Managers, Production Planners, Purchasing Professionals.  Put out by APICS this is the definitive reference on inventory management.  With 30+ chapters written by separate authors it covers most aspects of inventory management including product data management, production planning, inventory models, forecasting, purchasing, inventory accuracy, resource management, systems implementation.  Designed as a reference book, you can easily read only the chapters which apply to your operations.  Since each chapter is written by a different author you will find there is quite a bit of redundancy from one chapter to the next.

Looks like this one is currently out of print, but you can still find it at Amazon

Principles of Inventory adn Materials Management 

Principles of Inventory and Materials Management.  

Materials Managers.  I would describe this as a technical book on the science behind inventory management.  Much of the book is dedicated to detailing formulas and models used to determine order quantities, lot sizing, demand forecasting, safety stock calculations.  Real examples make understanding these complex formulas easier.  The book also describes the logic behind MRP and discusses Just-In-Time and Theory of Constraints.  I would not recommend this as an introductory book to inventory management but rather a book for those that already have some basic understanding of inventory management and want to take their knowledge to a higher level.  I expect to be referring back to this book for years to come.  

Available at Amazon

Practical Management Science 

Practical Management Science.

Materials Managers, Operations Managers.  Management Science (also known as Operations Research) is basically the mathematics behind business decision-making.  Historically, management science books have been perfect examples of impossible-to-read college text books filled with complex mathematical expressions very few of us are capable of interpreting (I have several collecting dust on my bookshelf). Practical Management Science is different in that it steps your through all the problems using Microsoft Excel and several Excel add-ins. This way, even if the text is a little unclear on the logic, you can always look at the example in Excel and figure out the logic. I am absolutely convinced this is the best way for most of us to get a grasp of management science. This isn't to imply this is a "dummies" book, which it is not. At over 900 pages (large pages with small text) this is hardly an quick intro. I already own a couple editions of this text and will likely continue to purchase newer versions as long as they keep updating it. It ain't cheap, but you can sometimes find deals on older versions or used books.

Available at Amazon

World Class Production and Inventory Management 

World Class Production and Inventory Management 

Production Planners, Materials Managers, Plant Managers,  I would highly recommend this book to anyone new to inventory management in a production environment.  It does a good job of covering the key concepts behind inventory management and production planning. This book is easy to understand and can be read from cover to cover in a short amount of time. 

Available at Amazon

Material Requirements Planning 

Orlicky's Material Requirements Planning

Production Planners, Materials Managers, Plant Managers,  Without question this is the classic MRP text. Originally written in 1975, this 1994 updated version covers the basic logic and setup of MRP. Though most production and inventory management books cover MRP, they tend to cover it so quickly that if you didn't already understand MRP, you probably still won't after reading them. Orlicky's Material Requirements Planning moves more slowly and provides much more detail. It's also written in an easy to understand style that makes it great for beginners.

The book is not perfect, however. I would have liked to see more details on some topics such as planning bills and phantom bills. Though these are covered, I don't think they are given adequate detail. Also the structured approach that would lead you to believe you must have a formal Master Production Schedule (MPS) to run MRP is misleading (this is a common problem with  virtually all MRP books). MRP can run fine being fed directly by the forecast in certain environments. Probably the most important reason to read this book is the simple fact that it is likely the people that designed your MRP software used this book as a roadmap.

Available at Amazon

Shop Floor Manual 

Implementing World Class Manufacturing: A Bridge to Your Manufacturing Survival-Shop Floor Manual 

Anyone associated with manufacturing. This is a great how-to book on implementing manufacturing techniques generally associated with Japanese production systems. Written in an easy to read format with plenty of diagrams, forms, and photos, Implementing World Class Manufacturing takes you step-by-step through the implementation process. For those unfamiliar with JIT, Manufacturing Cells, Kanban, Kaizen, Cross-functional Teams, Total Productive Maintenance, and Setup Reduction you will find this book does a great job of explaining these techniques as well as giving detailed instruction on how to use them. This is one of those rare books that is designed to be used equally by managers and the employees on the shop floor.

Available at Amazon

Flow Manufacturing 

Fundamentals of Flow Manufacturing 

Anyone associated with manufacturing. Though the title states "fundamentals", I think this book goes beyond that in its treatment of flow.  I don't like "theory" books so I was very pleased with the practical approach taken by the authors. Most lean/JIT books cover flow, but rarely in enough detail; Fundamentals of Flow Manufacturing does a good job of balancing adequate detail without overloading the reader. I also have to complement the authors on sticking to the topic and not getting sidetracked into other lean topics.

Of particular interest are the detailed calculations associated with setting up flow lines and kanbans. I also appreciated the discussion of the implications of manufacturing software and flow. This book is very well organized and a moderately quick read. 

Available at Amazon 

  Manufacturing Facilities Design

Manufacturing Facilities Design and Material Handling 

Plant Managers, Operations Managers.   Written for those of us who do not have engineering degrees this book does an excellent job of discussing the concepts behind  facilities design, material handling, and storage in a manufacturing environment.  Making good use of graphics to enhance the text this book presents a complex topic in an easy to understand format.  Anyone considering opening a new facility or redesigning an existing one would benefit from reading this book. 

Available at Amazon

 Quick Response Manufacturing

Quick Response Manufacturing: A Companywide Approach to Reducing Lead Times 

Plant Managers, Operations Managers, Executives.  Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) is a manufacturing strategy for implementing speed throughout the manufacturing process, including often-neglected areas such as quote processing, engineering, product development, order processing.  Although QRM builds on the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM), Just-in-Time (JIT), and others, it takes a unique approach by focusing all efforts on lead-time reduction. At it's core is a move to cross-functional work cells and self-directed teams.   QRM challenges (in some cases attacks) the cost-based decision making, functional departmentalization, and localized performance measurements which have become standardized in business during the 20th century. Since the benefits of QRM are not easily quantified many executives may see the move to QRM as somewhat of a leap of faith, and, to some extent, it is (I'll admit there are at least a couple of statements that made be feel a little queasy ). The author does an excellent job of documenting a variety of real-world examples and gives extensive details on the implementation process. I think this is an excellent book and would highly recommend it to anyone involved in manufacturing and especially to those in make-to-order or engineer-to-order operations

Available at Amazon

Inventory Accuracy

My Book


Inventory Accuracy: People, Processes, & Technology

Inventory Accuracy: People, Processes, & Technology is a comprehensive treatment of Inventory Accuracy and Cycle Counting in distribution, fulfillment, and manufacturing environments. I have long known that many businesses struggle with accuracy and are often unclear as to what they should be doing to improve operations. The interest I have received on the articles I have written related to inventory accuracy inspired me to write what I like to refer to as "the ultimate resource on inventory accuracy." Rather than just writing a little book on cycle counting or bar coding, I decided to write a book that not only comprehensively covers these topics, but also goes beyond bar codes and cycle counts to cover many other key facets of accuracy.

For more detailed information, sample pages, and ordering information go to www.accuracybook.com.

Available at InventoryBooks.com or Amazon.com

Warehouse / Distribution / Logistics Books

  Warehouse Operations Handbook

Warehouse Distribution and Operations Handbook 

Warehouse Managers, Operations Managers, Warehouse Supervisors.   This is cover to cover pure warehousing and material handling, addressing the concepts and methods available for storage and movement of materials within the warehouse. From loading dock, to storage, to order picking, this book conveys facilities design and equipment options in an easy to understand format. Comprehensive, easy to read, and lots of graphics. I have quite a few books dealing with warehouse design, equipment, and operations but this is definitely my favorite.

Available at Amazon 

  World Class Warehousing

World-Class Warehousing and Material Handling

This  book quickly covers the most common methods and equipment used to receive, move, store, pick, and ship materials within a warehouse environment. Much of the book focuses on the order-picking process, which makes it a good choice for fulfillment operations.  Of particular interest is the detailed info on slotting as well as an objective discussion of the pros and cons of automation.  The size of the book (only 233 pages) results in somewhat brief treatments of the various topics.  On the plus side, this makes it a quick read for someone wanting to become familiar with warehouse operations, on the minus side you may find that you need to go to another resource to get more detailed info on a specific topic. The book is very up to date on technology issues including mentions of RFID, voice, and virtual reality systems.  Consultants and material handling professionals should find the reference to "Captain Carrousels" amusing.  Although I disagree with a few of the author's conclusions, I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to upgrade or improve current warehouse operations or those designing new warehouses.  

Available at Amazon

 Warehouse Design

The Time, Space & Cost Guide To Better Warehouse Design

his is a rather unique book on warehouse design in that it combines some basic warehouse design content with highly detailed information related to costs and time standards. It's this cost and time standards content that sets this book apart from any other warehouse design book I have encountered. Certainly a valuable resource for anyone with responsibilities for running or designing a warehouse. Available at Amazon

Warehouse Safety 

Warehouse Safety: A Practical Guide to Preventing Warehouse Incidents and Injuries. 

Warehouse Managers, Warehouse Supervisors, Operations Managers,  Plant Managers, Safety Committee Members.    I just can't say enough good things about this book.  Highly comprehensive in dealing with a broad range of safety issues within a warehouse environment, Warehouse Safety is an excellent source for information on safe operating procedures.  Like many other other warehouse and plant managers, I had struggled over the years trying to accumulate enough relevant safety information to ensure I was providing a safe work environment.  The more I learned, the more I realized how fortunate I have been in not having any serious accidents during my "ignorant years".  Knowing how long it took me to build my knowledge and awareness of safety issues makes me appreciate even more the value of a book like this.  The author does an excellent job of not only covering potential hazards but also providing suggestions on physical and procedural methods used to reduce or eliminate these hazards.  Every warehouse should have this book available to its supervisors and staff and I strongly encourage managers and supervisors to read the book in its entirety as well as periodically reviewing the book to keep safety issues fresh in their minds.  There is much more to warehouse safety than a forklift training program and I feel confident that those new to warehousing as well as experienced professionals will find this book enlightening. 

Available at Amazon .

  Practical Guide to Transportation and Logistics

A Practical Guide to Transportation and Logistics  

Shipping personnel or anyone with responsibilities related to shipping/transportation would be will served to read this book.  As with previous editions of this book, the newly released 3rd edition does not disappoint. I came across the first edition years ago while searching for a “shipping 101” type book that could be used as an educational tool to those new to shipping/transportation. This excellent updated version quickly covers the topics of what you need to know about shipping and receiving product, and does not waste time on some of the more obscure theoretical topics related to logistics. It's very obvious that the author, Michael B. Stroh has extensive hands-on experience in operating a traffic department and does an excellent job of translating that experience into this easy to read yet comprehensive guide. Of particular value will be the tips on negotiating rates and discounts, auditing freight bills, and export documentation.  

Available at Amazon  or Author's Site 

 Wareshouse Management Software Selection

Selecting Warehouse Software From WMS & ERP Providers  

This book should be the first step in your WMS project. With the variety of functionality now offered by WMS providers it can be a daunting task to try to understand what a WMS does and (more importantly) what a WMS can do for your operation. Not only does the author cover standard functionality of WMS, he takes it a step further by pointing out “Differentiators” and “Common Deficiencies”.  These insights can prove to be incredibly valuable during the selection and implementation processes. The book is essentially a detailed report on WMS functionality with an additional section on the selection process (including step-by-step instructions and sample documents). The format makes it easy to simply open the book to a section on a specific type functionality and quickly get up to speed on key issues related to that topic.

Yes, it may seem a little pricey, but in the context of the overall costs associated with a WMS project, it’s a minuscule price to pay to increase your chance of getting it right..

Available at Amazon or Author's Site

 

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Inventory Accuracy Inventory Management Explained





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