Taking Stock: Successful Stock Management for Wholesalers

Posted by Ian Newcombe on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

Discover how wholesale software improves stock management, saving costs and boosting picking rates for wholesalers. 

Taking stock: successful management for wholesalers

Good stock management is at the heart of every successful wholesale business – whether you are a delivered wholesaler or a cash & carry. Not enough stock means poor availability and unhappy customers, while too much stock can mean increased wastage. How effective is your stock management? Is it helping you to improve efficiency, service and sales?

With technology racing ahead – there are constantly new developments in wholesale software that are helping wholesalers to improve the way they run their businesses.

How voice technology saved one wholesaler £400K

One of the most popular stock management tools at the moment is voice technology. Voice order picking is specifically designed to improve the speed, accuracy and productivity of order pickers by using speech recognition. Pickers wear a wireless headset and microphone that directs them to the relevant location within the warehouse. Wholesalers can confirm picks directly without having to input information manually. Glasgow-based J W Filshill recently invested in a range of productivity measures, including voice order picking software, in order to reduce operating costs and improve efficiencies. As a result of these investments the company reduced pick time by 30% and reduced operating costs by £400,000.

Another wholesaler to benefit from voice order picking software is Northern-Ireland based Savage & Whitten, which improved picking rates by 35% and achieved a return on investment after just ten months.

The end of missed sales opportunities

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of wholesale software is that, with voice picking, there are no more miss-picks and no missed sales due to lack of availability.

Fork lift drivers are sent ‘replenishment alerts’ when stock goes below a certain level. Once the new stock is in the pick face, a message is sent out for the goods to be collected so the picker is always kept moving. The results are better efficiencies, better sales and happier customers.

CASE STUDY: breaking into the ‘chilled chain’

Efficient stock management can also help when it comes to diversifying into new sectors.   Development of a user-friendly web portal helped Ireland’s Barry Group expand into the chilled distribution market, also known as the 'chill chain'. This is a difficult sector to manage because produce has to be kept below a certain temperature until it reaches the customer.

Barry’s customers place orders for chilled products via a user-friendly web portal using iPads. The orders are then processed via a third party distributor, Cuisine de France, at its chill facility in Dublin, with goods delivered promptly the following morning. The web portal solution was a key success factor in their expansion into chilled distribution.

Is the future of stock management Radio Frequency Identification technology?

So what’s the next step for stock management? With technology moving so quickly it’s only a matter of time until there are even more options for wholesalers to choose from.

One suggestion is that the future will be about Radio Frequency Identification technology. Imagine a chip placed in a product as it goes to ‘goods in’, removing the need to scan all items. Instead, everything is identified with laser scanners, even on mixed pallets. The technology is used in the US now. It might be a few years away for the UK, but it could be closer than you think.

Three reasons to invest in stock management:

You save money – Glasgow-based JW Filshill recently made a yearly saving of £400K after adopting a range of productivity boosting measures including voice technology, while Northern-Ireland based Savage & Whitten improved picking rates by 35%.

It pays off fast – it’s not easy to know how long it will take to see a technological investment to pay off but for some wholesalers, it was as little as ten months.

Expansion becomes easy – stock management has helped some wholesalers to expand into the chilled market. Consider how it could help your business to further grow and diversify.  

Discover how to sell more, save money and improve customer service by downloading: Wholesalers: 5 Reasons to Offer Your Customers Online Ordering.

Wholesalers: 5 reasons to offer your customers online ordering

Topics: wholesale software