Inventory Management and Warehouse Operations.


Original Articles on Inventory Management and Warehouse Operations

The following is a listing of original informational articles (white papers) I've authored on topics related to inventory management and warehouse operations. If you like my articles, you may want to check out My Books.


Inventory Management Articles.

 New!  Reorder Point Basics. Explains the basic reorder point calculation.

 New!  Calculating and Using a Seasonality Index. Explains the calculations for Seasonality Indexes. .

Optimizing Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)   Many organizations fail to take advantage of one of the most fundamental inventory management tools available.  This article details data inputs, applications, and implementation of EOQ. Specific detail on Accurate order cost and Carrying cost calculations are key to calculating EOQ.

Optimizing Safety Stock    Determining optimum safety stock levels to provide high levels of customer service while maintaining minimal inventory is possible through the use of statistical based inventory models.  This article focuses on the Standard Deviations of a Normal Distribution Model. Details include calculating Safety Stock using Service Factor calculation, Lead Time Factor, and Order Cycle Factor. 

Dependent Demand (Component) Safety Stock    Covers some options for dealing with safety stock at the component level.

Work-In-Process (WIP) Inventory. Describes what WIP is and how to reconcile the WIP account.

Using Excel's Forecast Function    While not a complete forecasting system, the Forecast Function in Excel (and OpenOffice Calc) can prove to be useful in forecasting trend or basing a forecast on a predictor variable.

Exponential Smoothing Explained. Describes and explains the exponential smoothing calculation often used in forecasting.

 New!  Inventory vs Non-Inventory. Explains the basic terms used to describe inventory.

 New!  Finished Goods vs Raw Materials. Explains the basic terms used to describe inventory in a manufacturing environment.

Consignment Inventory. The pros, cons, and implications of consignment inventory. When does it provide a strategic advantage and when is it just moving costs.

New!  Dropshipping and Direct Shipping  Explains Dropshipping ansd Why/How to use it. 

Vendor-Managed Inventory. Explanation of VMI, and why you should or shouldn't consider it.

Negative Inventory. What you don't know about negative inventory balances may result in your making things worse by incorrectly "fixing it".  This article is an excerpt from my book Inventory Accuracy: People, Processes, & Technology.

Software Selection and Implementation Tips.  Nuts and bolts tips on software selection and implementation, including tips on defining functionality needs, software testing, employee training.

Enhance Inventory System Functionality Through Custom Reporting.   Although software packages continue to get better it is unlikely that software manufacturers in the near future will be able to deliver adequate pre-defined reports to meet the diverse needs of their customers.  Discusses database terminology and various types of reporting tools available.

Backflushing.  Article defines backflushing as a means for issuing inventory in a manufacturing environment, its application, and implementation tips.

New!  ABC Analysis  Applying ABC to your inventory 

New!  Item Profiles and Order Profiles: the keys to everything. Analyzing inventory and warehouse data with profiles.


Warehouse Operations Articles

New! Warehouse Robots are Here..  Robots designed for warehouse tasks.. 

New!  Robotized Lift Trucks..  Autonomous Lift Trucks and AGVs. 

New! Goods-to-Persong Order Picking.  Explains Goods-to-Person order picking and the equipment used to accomplish it. 

New! The Basics of Warehouse Operations.  If you know very little about warehouse operations, this is the place to start. .

Guide to Inventory Accuracy  Defines 11 steps to more accurate inventory operations including emphasis on process evaluation, procedure documentation, employee training, and accountability.

Cycle Counting and Physical Inventories Avoid the pitfalls of the annual physical inventory by designing a more effective custom cycle counting system.  Insights on why you should cycle count, tracking inventory accuracy, blind counts, count timing, and effects of adjustments.

New!  Cycle Counting with a WMS  Covers the key advantage to using a cycle counting within a Warehouse Management System (WMS)

Lift Truck Basics   Lists basic information about truck types and functionality. Details functionality of most common types of vehicles such as counterbalanced forklift, motorized pallet truck, order selector, reach truck, swing reach and turret truck.  Also discusses common lift truck attachments.

The Aisle Width Decision.  Provides more detailed information on Narrow Aisle (NA) and Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) storage configurations and the lift truck designs available including comparisons of reach trucks and turret trucks.

Order Picking:  Methods and Equipment for Piece Pick, Case Pick, and Pallet Pick Operations.  Batch Picking, Zone Picking, Wave Picking, Carousels, Flow Rack, Static Shelving, Pick-to-Light, Bar-coding . . .  there are a lot of choices out there in methods and equipment for order picking operations.  Choosing the best systems requires thorough analysis of the characteristics of your unique operation.

New! Zone Picking.  Understanding zone picking including pick-and-pass and waver picking.

New! Using Bin Locations.  Why you should use bin locations, and how to set them up.

Warehouse Slotting.  Understanding the factors to consider when determining where to slot items in your warehouse.

Same-Day Shipping   The pros and cons of same-day shipping and tips on how to accomplish it.

Warehouse Capacity Explained. Understanding theoretical storage capacity, utilization, and working capacity.

New! Warehouse vertical space.How to utilize overhead space in a warehouse.

Help me Fix my Warehouse. How to improve warehouse operations.

Public Warehouses, Contract Warehouses, and 3PLs. Various options for outsourcing warehouse operations.

Automated Data Collection (ADC) Basics   Intro to ADC technologies including bar codes, barcode scanners, portable terminals, voice systems, pick-to-light.

Multimodal Data Collection  Explains multimodal and why you would combine ADC technologies in the warehouse.

Warehouse Optimization . . . The Little Things.  Discusses the often neglected little issues that affect warehouse operations.

Supervision in the Warehouse.   The missing link between how you want your warehouse to operate and how it actually operates.

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).   What are they?  Do you need one? Describes functionality of warehouse management systems WMS.

Trailer Loading Techniques.   Methods for loading trailers.

RFID Update. The latest on RFID, including the Wal-Mart mandate, EPC, privacy concerns, and more.

RFID Technology Updates. This is from my other website (for my book on Inventory Accuracy) and contains some different information from the above article on RFID.

New!  Kitting versus Work orders with Bills of Materails  Explains software functionality for Kitting versus Work Orders. 

New!  Conditional Formatting  Using conditional Formatting for process improvement 


Warehouse Safety Articles

How Effective is your Lift Truck Safety Program?   Tips on forklift safety and reference to the OSHA 1999 ruling on Powered Industrial Truck Training.

Loading Dock Safety.    Education and Equipment can increase safety in your loading dock. 

Warehouse Fire Safety.  Tips on compliance and the need to go beyond compliance to ensure adequate fire safety.

OSHA’s Ergonomics Program Standard    Original article plus updated info on recent repeal by Congress. 



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