Published OnApril 17, 2018It’s 2018. Have you switched to an inventory management and online ordering system for your fulfillment program yet? If not, you’re missing an opportunity
If not, you’re missing an opportunity to speed up your delivery, gain better control over production and usage of your materials, save money and stay ahead of your competition.
A good online system connects the front and back ends of your entire fulfillment operation. When materials are delivered to your fulfillment provider’s warehouse, they’re checked for accuracy and condition, logged in and assigned a SKU. Then they’re placed into inventory and available for ordering – ideally, in eight hours or less. This front-to-back integration means you know exactly what you have available in real time, 24 hours a day.
Because an online system captures every item from time of receipt at the warehouse to time of delivery to your recipients, you also have a complete overview of who’s ordering what, how much they’re ordering, how long each item remains in inventory, how many items are on backorder and much more. This data makes it easier to assess whether a given piece is effective, whether you’re ordering the right quantities of each item from your printer, how often you need to reprint and how far in advance to reorder, among other things. You can also set automatic reminders and reprint levels or even switch to digital print-on-demand when stock runs low, to avoid out-of-stock situations and rush reprint charges. That helps you save money.
Another cost saver: Because you can track usage and costs by marketing channel, business unit or even individual, you’re better able to spot waste and take steps to reduce it. For example, you can limit the quantities or dollar value of materials that any person, office or region can order. You’re in control.
And, while we’re talking about control, if you offer products that can only be sold by certain individuals or functions, you can program the system to limit access to related support materials. This capability prevents situations such as sending materials to the wrong states, regions, markets or individuals or other unauthorized distribution.
Finally, better online systems give you access to tools that help with customization and compliance-related tasks. Iron Mountain’s GroupTrak system, for example, has a template-based design-on-demand tool that lets authorized users access a digital library of preapproved text and images to customize materials for specific markets or customers. At the same time, built-in rules prevent them from “going rogue” with unauthorized content and ensures adherence to brand standards.
GroupTrak also has a variety of compliance-related capabilities, including the ability to automatically insert footnotes, disclaimers and other fine print to documents that require them.
“Saves time! Saves money! Makes life easier!” We’ve all seen marketing pitches like these before, so no one can fault you for being skeptical when you encounter such claims. But, when it comes to inventory management and online ordering, it’s not just talk.
To summarize, the benefits of using an online system include:
- Faster time to market
- Better control over inventory
- Greater efficiency
- Collection of critical data for better management
- Access to tools like content customization and compliance automation
- Cost savings
Remember, “time is money.” If you don’t respond to leads and sales opportunities quickly, you could be losing business to faster competitors. An inventory management and online ordering system can put you at the front of the pack, help you make more sales and improve your profitability through greater efficiency.
Is 2018 the year you make the move to online ordering? Contact Iron Mountain Fulfillment Services and get started today.