Part 3 - How did DEAR Solve UC Imports major problems?
Part 3 – How did DEAR Solve UC’s Stock Problems?
Part 2 – Inventory Management
I won’t go into detail reviewing DEAR all the features it has in managing stock per se, however if you wish to have a quick peek at a summary of DEAR, please check it out here.
Another article I have written is a case study in an area which DEAR dominates and that is food processing industry, due to the fact that you can set expiry dates, and track inventory with batches and serials. So please feel to have a look at that as well.
Rather than go into detail about every feature in DEAR, I will go into the specifics that really helped UC in the major system challenges they were facing, that were causing a lot of problems in a business that is primarily stock and sales driven.
One of the biggest issues was the difficulty in using the current system, and how cumbersome it was to analyse information. To many this would seem to be a side issue on paper, but where the rubber meets the road is how well staff pick up a tool and use it.
With the vast amount of stock lines that UC has, it is often hard to monitor what stock is currently running out and requires ordering, the current system had no automated manner in which to garner this information. It did however provide a re-order report however it was extremely hard to use and as it didn’t constantly bring this to your attention it was very easy to miss critical stock re-order points.
DEAR provides a very simple re-order and minimum stock order system, which can be set by product or if required you can do a batch update of all your stock by class or category. This also applies to any updates like costs, pricing tiers, locations and so forth.
When minimum orders are exceeded, DEAR automatically displays the SKU on the starting dashboard, which you can see as it comes up, you can then automatically generate a PO by supplier for all items or just individually select items if you so choose.
Depending on your requirements you can wait to fulfill a container load, or if its an emergency air freight the SKU’s over urgently.
With DEAR incorrect stock levels should be a thing of the past, like any system, the system is as good as the individuals driving it, and also the information that is entered into the system. Reports are very easy to use and customise, the reports have pivot table, sorting and filter functionality that are as easy as dragging and dropping headers and changing appropriate headers to drill down to the information required. The export into excel is also great, and keeps a really simple format that is easy to apply formulas to analyse further.
As such it is very easy to export out by class, category or brand of SKU and clearly identify top moving SKU’s, and also understand by historical information slower moving SKU’s that assist management decision making in moving stock.
So issues of not understanding inventory movements are really a thing of the past. Dear provides all the necessary reporting tools to have a very thorough understanding of your inventory, however complex it might be.
Stock Control and Locations
With the current issues with inbound stock control, Dear can greatly assist in this facet, as it is compatible with just about any scanner, including an iphone or android phone with a scanner app. So it is very flexible and easy to use. As with any scanner, a scanner is just another input device that saves you a lot of time hand typing information and greatly increases speed and also minimizes user error.
Bar codes can also be used to identify locations. The main purpose is for warehouse staff to find orders quickly, rather than wasting hours looking for one item. Bin locations can be very easily changed or updated in Dear to allow for future growth and consolidation of stock.
Another purpose for bin locations is so that inventory can be easily found by any staff member, not just warehouse staff, but sales staff who might want to quickly pick stock for an over the counter sale or for admin staff who want to do spot checks on inventory and stock availability for purchase officers.
With such a large amount of SKU’s it is often hard to do a complete stock take as all sales and warehouse staff are focused firmly on selling. However accounting and purchasing departments often could assist in completing rolling stock takes or spot checks if they could locate the items. By enabling a simple stock bin location in Dear, this will only further tighten stock controls and ensure stock validity.
Other issues revolve around the dependability of the server and the ease of access for external sales representatives on the road. With Dear this has been relegated a non-issue. Dear is hosted on Amazon servers (the largest and most reliable in the world) with bank level security features, the likelihood of the system going down is very small to non-existent. Access can be from any device that has an internet connection and browser, and is only limited by the speed of your internet connection. With even mobile access now reaching speeds of almost 40Mps, external sales reps can check stock on the road, as well as create sales orders and send picking lists to the warehouse to pack and send whilst still visiting clients. This can be done with such ease and accuracy, it is almost laughable at what you used to have to deal with in the past. With dial up access, VPN’s, and then logging in and hoping your connection wouldn’t drop out or the server kick you off for some reason only Microsoft could explain.
The savings as a result of using Dear for UC is quite massive, with an internal and external consultant used to maintain a server that is often fraught with issues.
18 full users were required to run Dear.
Dear comes with 3 full user access for $150, with additional users costing $25 per month. The total cost for UC on a monthly basis is $525 or $6300 annually. UC paid the entire year in advance and as such saved another $525 or a months’ worth of access. So the annual fee came to $5,775. Which is cheaper than the external consultant used to maintain UC’s internal servers.
Included in the above pricing is all system updates (done automatically), trouble shooting (24 hour support).
Training is completed by cloud integrators or specialized external training, pricing can range from $130hr to $275hr and you tend to get what you pay for.
DEAR has such an intuitive and easy to use interface, that follows a very simple but thorough workflow and logic.
It should be noted however even though the interface is simple and easy to use, that does not mean the software isn’t extremely powerful and versatile.