What is Vendor Managed Inventory?
Vendor managed inventory (VMI) is an inventory management strategy that businesses implement to allow their warehouse to be used in the most efficient way possible. Vendor managed inventory is when suppliers manage their customer’s inventory for them. This can occur either through a physical count or by using the customer’s data. Once inventory levels reach designated reorder points, vendors automatically refill their customers’ stock for them. Here, we’ll go over vendor managed inventory benefits and how it can help your business.
Vendor managed inventory helps your business eliminate common issues with packaging by ensuring that you always have what you need when you need it. When your packaging supplier manages your inventory levels, you can rest easy knowing you won’t need to be placing any emergency orders because your vendor already knows what you’re in need of.
The goal of this solution is to reduce costs and be more efficient with time. Vendors are more likely to be able to effectively manage inventory than their customers because it’s their main focus. Customers have many other responsibilities that come with running a business and are more likely to make mistakes that can prove to be costly. Being able to manage your packaging inventory is critical in ensuring you’re able to process orders in a timely manner. Inefficiency when managing inventory may lead to incorrect orders, lack of available material, and unnecessary spending.
Often, businesses will make the common mistake of overstocking their warehouses in an effort to avoid running out of material, but this method proves to be both costly and an inefficient use of your warehouse space. Instead, better packaging inventory management is attainable. With a vendor managed inventory (VMI) system in place, you can eliminate unneeded costs, wasted space, and lost time by letting your packaging vendor keep track of the packaging inventory for you. This lets you focus your efforts on other important parts of your business like sales.
Common Inventory and Packaging Management Challenges Companies Face
Lack of Inventory Knowledge
Not knowing where your inventory levels stand in real-time can have a negative impact on your business. Companies struggle with knowing what’s in stock, what material and how much of it is being ordered, the size of orders, and what items need to be replaced. This creates confusion, reduces productivity, and creates other inefficiencies.
Lack of Efficient Processes
Companies are wasting time and resources by using inventory management systems that have long been outdated. The more that companies continue to use these outdated systems, the more resources (time, money, and so on) that are wasted when they could be better prioritized elsewhere thanks to a more automated, efficient system.
Understanding and Meeting Customer Demands
Customer needs are in constant flux. It’s important that you’re able to remain flexible when it comes to their requests. To do so, you must understand their expectations so that you can meet them efficiently and on time. A vendor managed inventory solution streamlines this process by allowing your vendor to monitor the history of the usage of your materials and make recommendations over time.
Management of Your Warehouse
Companies are mismanaging their warehouses, resulting in issues like a lack of storage space and incorrectly stored materials. With a vendor managed inventory in place, companies can properly allocate space for their materials and rest assured that they won’t have to make adjustments to their floor layout or processes in order to store unexpected amounts of material.
Jamestown Container’s eVMI Solution
Now that you know what a VMI solution is, we can introduce you to Jamestown Container’s Electronic Vendor Management Inventory (eVMI) offering. Our vendor managed inventory benefits your company immensely because your warehouse stock levels are visible at all times. We can track those levels and make sure you never run out of packaging materials.
Unlike a “non-electronic” version where an account manager will come directly to your warehouse and perform a manual count of your inventory and packaging supplies, our eVMI solution works through proprietary barcode inventory management software.
What this means is that all your packaging orders will arrive with specific barcodes that stay with them until you are ready to use the materials. We provide you with a hand scanner to scan the barcodes each time you take a skid of cartons down from the shelf. When a barcode is scanned, the stock levels of your packaging supplies are updated on a web-based system, and we’re notified that the item has been used. This allows us to either release a delivery that will replenish that used inventory or plan for an upcoming order.
The data we receive from the scanned barcodes allows us to do more than just replenish your inventory. We’re also able to determine and predict your expected usage of materials in order to help you place orders more efficiently.
Benefits of eVMI with Jamestown
Manage Less Information
There’s no need to worry about keeping track of your stock levels or determining what you need to order and when. The eVMI software updates automatically based on your usage, allowing us to use the information we receive to send out orders on a timely basis, ensuring your inventory never falls below a set amount.
Only pay for what you need. By outsourcing your packaging inventory, you only have to pay for the supplies that you require and nothing more. Gone are the worries of paying for safely storing overstock or covering stopped production lines.
Real-Time Stock Updates
Tracking your inventory is as easy as scanning the load tag on the skid that is being pulled for use. This scan updates the new stock levels in the system in real-time and notifies us to send an order if needed. Our eVMI solution doesn’t require you to manually count and update your inventory.
Since we keep constant track of your stock levels, you don’t ever have to worry about scheduling deliveries again. As needs arise, deliveries will automatically be placed.
Easily Accessible Information
We won’t just know what you need, we’ll also be able to begin predicting how you’re using your stock. This allows us to plan ahead and replenish your packaging materials as needed, eliminating the risk of ever running out.
Realize Vendor Managed Inventory Benefits Today
Ready to explore vendor managed inventory benefits? Start by working with a packaging vendor you can count on. At Jamestown Container Companies, we provide our vendor managed inventory as well as our eVMI service, both complementary, to our clients to help them maximize the space in their warehouse and put more of their time back into what matters. With over 60 years of experience, a dedicated team, and industry accreditations — including ISO 9001 certifications — we are the perfect partner for your vendor managed inventory needs. Contact us today to learn more!