Applications & initiatives

IMPROVING INVENTORY PRECISION AND LEVELS FOR BETTER PERFORMANCE

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The past is an indication of the future. By acknowledging that by the time a production run is over and in inventory, anything you undertake to correct an issue equates to reacting to a past issue. As such, a precise understanding of the wood you have in inventory is critical to planning, scheduling, production, and the overall performance of your wood mill.

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A lack of information can kill you

Still too few wood mill operators and managers understand how improving the quality of inventory data is an easy way to improve performance at a relatively low capital investment.

For example, let’s say you, like many mill operators, have a somewhat fuzzy picture of the products you have in inventory along the entire production chain. Not only you don’t have an exact count of what’s ready to sell, you likely have no precise idea of what’s in your pipeline. In other words, you can’t tell exactly what you have to sell, in what quantities, or even when you’ll have enough and when, figuratively cutting the ground out from under your sales team’s feet. When opportunities crop up, the team can’t make trustworthy promises.

That may sound harsh, but in our high-tech world, “gut feeling” is still how many wood transformation mills across North America operate.

READ HOW BEN HOKUM & SON IMPROVED ITS OPERATIONS BY DEPLOYING AN INVENTORY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Better inventory data equals more seized opportunities

Deploying the right technologies in your mill (e.g., labelling, scanners, data management systems) enables you to:

  • Trace lumber packages produced by each line.
  • Locate packages in your yard, regardless of their stage in the production cycle.
  • Have an exact count of the lumber in your yard.
  • Have a clear picture of lumber movements in the yard.

BÉNÉFICES 

From an operational standpoint this has several benefits:

More reactive sales

With tools such as PMP WeTrack™, your business development managers (BDM) always have up-to-the-minute information. This enables your BDMs to provide customers better lead times, determine whether products are available, and seize opportunities as they arise with confidence.


Your sales team will be in complete control.

Efficient, effective communication

With better inventory data, sales and management gain the flexibility to communicate their needs more effectively to operations. Availability becomes a known factor, production times are better assessed, and requests to operations are more realistic. Knowing where your wood is in the yard also accelerates moving it, which increases efficiency.


An added benefit of this new situation is to reduce tensions often present between corporate and operations, improving morale.

Better control over your inventory levels

Some wood mills maintain high levels of inventory, some don’t. The decision is rarely driven by hard data. High inventories require large areas and mean there’s a lot of money sleeping in your lumber yard. On the other hand, low inventories mean you may be unable to fulfill orders under acceptable delays, forcing your operations to react, which has a slew of other implications.


Insights and embedded analytics from an inventory management system such as PMP WeTrack enables data-driven management. Your teams will discover trends and patterns highlighting what levels you should raise / lower, which improves responsiveness and streamlines the volumes of wood sleeping in your yard and production planning.

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