6 min read

10 Automation Benefits of an Electrical Supply Inventory Optimization System

10 Automation Benefits of an Electrical Supply Inventory Optimization System

In today’s competitive marketplace, the primary focus of many electrical supply organizations is to reduce the costs associated with operations and customer service. To accomplish this, electrical supply companies are embarking on a wide range of process improvement initiatives. One proven method for increasing customer service without incurring additional long-term expenses is to take advantage of new technologies to improve a company’s supply chain efficiencies, including the implementation of an inventory optimization system. The inventory optimization concept has now matured into a collection of time-tested technologies that reduce inventory costs and increase overall inventory management efficiencies. By implementing electrical supply inventory optimization technology with an integrated back-office accounting system, organizations can achieve a higher return on their software dollars and provide the best possible service to their customers.

An electrical supply inventory optimization system can provide an organization with tangible benefits that quickly and dramatically improve warehouse operations and increase material management efficiencies without adding headcount.  There are 10 key benefits we will highlight in this blog:

  1. Reduced picking/shipping errors
  2. Improved inventory count accuracy
  3. Increased employee productivity
  4. Elimination of most warehouse paperwork
  5. Improved space utilization
  6. Reduction of physical inventories
  7. Better workload control
  8. Improved labor management and reporting
  9. Better support of customer EDI requirements
  10. Ability to better prioritize warehouse activities for preferred customers

In this blog post, we will discuss how an electrical supply inventory optimization system can pay for itself through effective inventory management and cost savings, and how it is a key component in the end-to-end business management solutions from Sage Software.

Working with Electrical Supply Inventory Optimization Systems

Every warehouse, large and small, performs four basic functions: receiving and put away, picking and packing, shipping and inventory control. Below are a few functionality highlights that an inventory optimization system offers.

Receiving and Put Away

An inventory optimization system provides a RF-based solution to automate inventory receipt and put away processes. Tightly integrated with the back office accounting software (ERP), an inventory optimization system eliminates receiving errors and short-shipments by matching the receipt of goods (through barcoding technologies) with the original purchase order details while reporting any variance.

An inventory optimization system receipt and put away effectively moves received goods from the dock into the warehouse and the right location, storing these items efficiently in reserve or pick bins. As a result, companies can facilitate timely and accurate order fulfillment by creating an optimized order-picking environment for warehouse staff.

With an inventory optimization system, warehouse managers can assign multiple employees to the receipt and put away of a large inbound shipment. Conversely, multiple receipts can be simultaneously checked-in by a single employee.These features contribute to a highly effective receiving environment and allows for greater control in the allocation of human resources, while eliminating the introduction of transcription errors. Further, with the help of an integrated EDI system that provides advanced ship notifications, warehouse staff can plan ahead for in-coming shipments and allocate required resources.

During receiving, an inventory optimization system allows companies to capture important information on items such as weight, size, expiration date, and so forth. An inventory optimization system can also be configured to store products either in a default location or many locations throughout the warehouse, accelerating the put-away process. An inventory optimization system determines whether to store an item in a primary pick bin or in a reserve bin based on the quantity of unit being put away, and the quantity that currently exists in the primary pick bin. It also monitors the quantity available in a primary pick bin and directs operators to replenish from the oldest unit in a reserve bin when necessary.

The final phase of receipt and put-away processing is the automated update of purchase orders and inventory information into the accounting system. This automation eliminates manual intervention and errors, while providing accurate and up-to-date inventory control information.

Picking and Packing

Since the warehouse should remain focused on its primary task of fulfilling customer orders, An inventory optimization system offers a feature rich and efficient “picking and packing” solution. Taking advantage of RF-based barcoding technologies and seamless integration with the Order Entry module, An inventory optimization system tightly orchestrates the activities within the warehouse, helping to maximize human resources.

Following order receipt, fulfillment is made easy as An inventory optimization system matches available stock to the order, enabling the warehouse manager to see at a glance which orders can be filled immediately. Staff, equipped with RF-based handheld computers, are given explicit direction in picking every order, including verifying “picks” by reading barcodes to confirm the product selected, the shipping carton in which it is placed in and the quantity required. Further, staff may even pick multiple orders during a single “walk” through the warehouse. An inventory optimization system streamlines the picking and packing process through the automatic generation of shipping labels; by indicating the volume of the order; by guiding warehouse employees to the right direction in the most efficient sequence; and through serial number and lot number tracking. As a result, picking speed and accuracy is greatly improved, orders are filled on time and customer satisfaction is increased.

Advanced kitting functionality of An inventory optimization system directs the assembly of kits on demand, reducing the need to keep finished goods in the warehouse. Kitting allows An inventory optimization system to manage multiple inventory items as a single-unit. Instead of placing an order for individual sub-components, only the assembled item is ordered.

An inventory optimization system then, based on the bill of materials, performs the “explosion” to guide the picker to pick the required sub-components needed to build the assembly.

Whichever picking style works may work best for a particular warehouse wave, batch, simultaneous or sequential zone, an inventory optimization system manages the process efficiently. Picking inventory in a warehouse that is managed by an inventory optimization system means never having to look for “missing stock” or “walking around the warehouse” to fulfill customer orders. Whether you are picking items that expire in the next seven months or picking items with pre-allocated serial/lot numbers, an inventory optimization system guides staff through the warehouse in the most efficient way.

Furthermore, an inventory optimization system offers the ability to maximize the productivity of a company’s warehouse staff. By maintaining detailed information on the flow of inventory from both a “pick” and reserve bin, warehouse staff can be assured that when they are directed to a specific bin the item will be there. Requests to replenish empty bins may be managed during off-peak hours or coordinated to run simultaneously with picking activities without interruption.


Sending the wrong package or items to the customer may be more than just embarrassing—it may cost a company a customer. In addition, it may cause a client great expense and downtime if they are counting on this particular organization to deliver the right product…on time; and with additional compliance fines and the violation of service level agreements, and it becomes clear that the shipping dock is the last chance to ensure shipments are perfect every time. An inventory optimization system eliminates these errors and helps deliver the service excellence customers deserve while keeping shipping costs under control.

An inventory optimization system provides a streamlined shipping solution that produces packing slips, carton content labels and shipping labels before the carton is packed, eliminating errors in transcription from the customer order. It also automatically calculates shipping weight and keeps track of cartons shipped for an order. When integrated with a multi-carrier shipping system, An inventory optimization system offers companies the ability to shop for the best shipping rate, potentially saving thousands of dollars annually. Additionally, An inventory optimization system can generate the required labels for hazardous materials and customs requirements, packing slips and generate Advanced Shipping Notifications (ASNs).

An inventory optimization system saves on labor costs by significantly reducing the need for dedicated shippers and checkers, freeing up warehouse personnel for other activities. Upon completing an order, pickers merely verify the package weight, tape up the box and put it aside for the carrier. With An inventory optimization system companies know exactly what’s going out the door and can give customers immediate information about when their shipment will arrive. Equally important, the Inventory Control module is immediately updated, ensuring everyone across the organization, from the warehouse staff to the customer service staff, have complete access to all order shipment information.

Inventory Control

An inventory optimization system provides accurate and immediate information on the quantity, location, condition, status and history of any item in the warehouse at any time, eliminating transcription errors throughout the warehouse operations process. Fully integrated with your existing ERP, An inventory optimization system ensures complete control and flow of information between the back office and warehouse floor, while a browser-based interface provides the ability to generate reports and track inventory movement across the enterprise.

Complete control over inventory including up-to-the-minute notification of when replenishment is needed and a full audit report of every product moved through the warehouse enables a clear picture of what is going on in the warehouse and reduces reliance on “just in case” inventory levels. With less capital tied up in inventory and the possibility of reducing the amount of needed warehouse space, this can amount to considerable bottom-line savings. Also, with complete inventory control management (down to the contents of particular bins), pickers are no longer sent to an empty bin - increasing productivity and saving on labor costs. Precise up-to-the-minute inventory control helps you keep up with the fast-pace of e-business, enhancing the effectiveness of Web store operations and overall customer service. An inventory optimization system supports FIFO (first in, first out) and LIFO (last in, first out) stock rotation, serialized inventory and lot and expiration-date tracking, ensuring complete control over the shipped product.

When it comes to physical count of the inventory, An inventory optimization system supports by-date, product or bin cycle counting2. An inventory optimization system dramatically improves the accuracy of cycle counting by taking advantage of RF-based barcoding systems, eliminating transcription errors. Automatic updating of inventory information with An inventory optimization system further improves efficiencies across the enterprise.


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