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Inventory Management: Use Internal Resources or Outsource?

POSTED BY: Ashley Little on 07.3.2014

inventory_management_use_internal_resources_or_outsourceWhen a business has made the choice to conduct an asset inventory, the organization has a number of important decisions to make: in what format do you want the inventory data returned? How will you update your legacy systems with the new data? Before an inventory can begin however, one critical question must be answered: will the inventory be conducted with internal resources or will you outsource the work? Internal inventories may seem less costly on the outset, but could end up costing more in time and resources. Outsourced inventories can come with perks such as increased speed and immediate results stemming from efficient data entry into smart inventory management software solutions. You must weigh the pros and cons; the choice is entirely yours.

To help you decide, we present the three most common scenarios for consideration:

In-house asset inventory

When a company commits to conducting inventories internally, it is making a commitment to not only the execution of the inventory itself, but to the staff assignment needed to conduct it. Employees selected must be able to put in the time and make the commitment. It comes down to priorities. The bottom line: Internal inventories may seem less expensive, but ensuring quality takes time. If inventory is not the main focus of your business (and for most it is not), you may want to consider contracting a third party to perform the inventory—one who specializes in this type of data capture solution.

Outsourcing your asset inventory

A thorough inventory is one that promises to tag, scan, identify and catalog equipment, move excess out, flag useful assets for repurpose, consider min/max levels and in some cases even value items. Completed by a reputable third-party vendor with accurate scanning tools and a robust, connected inventory management solution, the task could conceivably pay for itself as lost items are found, valuable assets are repurposed and redistributed rather than bought in excess, and unneeded equipment is discovered and sold for profit. Turnkey solutions also generally offer hands-off implementation and data collection. Choose a vendor that also uses scanners, collection software and intuitive inventory management solutions for best results. Beware however: outsourcing to a different company every time is not necessarily the most efficient route. Having the same eyes on your assets each inventory creates consistency, reduces error and helps businesses find the most value hidden in their warehouses.

Hybrid solutions

An alternative idea to the above two more typical choices is to create a best-of-both-worlds scenario. Setting a schedule of regular in-house inventories supplemented with third-party inventories that are fewer and further between gives businesses the opportunity to cash in on the frequency of lower-cost internal work then use an outsourced service to compare results. The benefit is an enhanced level of accuracy and detail, plus a potentially valuable chance to double-check data.

Whatever method you choose, the key is to choose to conduct inventories regularly. Nothing streamlines business, creates opportunity for increased investment and simply orders an organization better than a good look at all the parts and pieces it stores to make it work day to day.

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