Inventory Management

Distribution Operations

The prime objective for all supply chains is to provide clients with what they want, when they want it. Inventory management plays a central role in every supply chain’s need to satisfy its clients.

Why Inventory Management is Important to You

Despite its importance to the supply chain, methods for inventory management and lowering inventory costs are not well understood. Inventory is seen as both a positive and a negative — as an economic asset to a non-income-producing use of capital funds.

Only when considered in light of all quality, client service and economic factors — from the viewpoints of purchasing, manufacturing, sales, and finance — does the whole picture of inventory management become clear. No matter the viewpoint, effective inventory management is essential to supply chain competitiveness.

Recent industry reports show that inventory costs as a percent of total logistics costs are increasing. Despite this rise, many organizations have not taken full advantage of ways for lowering inventory costs.

There are a number of proven strategies that will provide payoff in the inventory area, both in client service and in financial terms. Some of these strategies for lowering inventory costs involve having less inventory, while others involve owning less of the inventory you have and only having inventory when and where it is needed.

Why Tompkins is the Best

Tompkins International helps companies develop an effective approach to inventory management. We analyze the impact of internal and external factors to integrate inventory with purchasing, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and sales to create inventory policies that make sense. Tompkins solutions take into account:

  • Client needs and their influence on in-stock/fill rates, lead time and accuracy
  • Costs incurred from purchase transaction expenses, manufacturing set-up/changeover expenses, and more
  • Operations changes driven by promotions or recalls and SKU proliferation
  • Technology and its ability to provide trend, profiling and seasonality-based forecasting, trading partner visibility and planning collaboration
  • Corporate goals, whether revenue, unit sales, or RONA/GMROI or A/P increase

We look at every area impacting your inventory to create a comprehensive inventory management strategy that will enhance financial performance and client satisfaction.  Learn more:


Managing Inventory

For over 35 years, Tompkins International has helped companies and supply chains:

  • Assess inventory management practices
  • Improve forecasting accuracy
  • Create more logical stocking (and non-stock!) policies
  • Manage cycle stock to reduce costs
  • Establish dynamic safety stock levels based on client service
  • Cross-dock, cycle count, transfer, and discontinue SKUs effectively
  • Reduce purchase transaction and manufacturing set-up/changeover costs
  • Continuously improve inventory performance

More on Inventory Management

Client Success Story

Inventory Optimization and Distribution Network

A national tire distributor wanted to optimize its distribution network in order to reduce costs and improve service.


Finished Goods Inventory Management: Comparing Past Results to Today’s Outcomes

My history teacher used to tell me it is important to understand the past to shape the future. I didn’t know it at the time, but the same rule also applies to supply chains. Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium’s latest report on finished goods inventory management compares past and present outcomes, which lets us see how…

Client Success Story

Distribution Operations Transition Assessment and Planning

A specialty cheese company wanted to transfer its retail deli business into its primary distribution operations with potential effects across the organization.


Has Inventory Really Gone Out of Style?

There are some fashion trends that I hope never come back in style. I’m sure you could guess a few (I’m looking at you, plaid bell bottoms). Just like fashion trends, the way we do things often shifts and changes. With supply chains, we’ve seen a major shift in inventory to historically low levels. Inventory…

White Paper

Leveraging Supply Chains for Increased Long-Term Value

Supply chains have the potential to create long-term value for companies that act upon it. Tap into new areas of innovation through the value creation framework that is outlined in this white paper, including profitable growth, margin improvement, and capital efficiency.


Linking Sustainability with Financial Outcomes (PDF) from Supply Chain Brain

Read the entire article in the PDF version of Supply Chain Brain’s January issue!

White Paper

Consumer Products at a Crossroads: Major Changes Ahead as Consumer Products Manufacturers Reach Tipping Points

Download the white paper.

White Paper

Improving the Consumer Electronics Supply Chain: Applying Demand-Driven Practices to Reduce Lead Times

Download the white paper.

Client Success Story

Rapid Growth Requires Additional Distribution Capacity

A distribution network analysis helped this rapidly growing retailer achieve immediate and long-term storage goals, expand facilities and increase throughput capacity.


Demand-Driven Supply Chains to the Rescue

Food and beverage retailers are facing a transformative marketplace dominated by changing consumer preferences, improved technology, and new types of competitors. Companies that understand how to adapt to this new business environment and innovate towards a more flexible, demand-driven supply chain will be the most successful. Read more about challenges and solutions in this article.

Client Success Story

Major Contract Research Organization – New Facility Strategic Design

Tompkins was asked to provide a strategic design of a new facility used for distribution support for the clinical testing.

Client Success Story

Benchmark Assessment Identifies Latent Costs

Through a warehouse benchmark assessment of similar companies, this apparel company found nearly $40 million in savings.

Client Success Story

Warehouse Concept and Alternative Assessment

Learn how Tompkins re-evaluated warehouse operations and updated operational planning for one of the world’s largest healthcare companies and a global leader in consumer products and animal care.

Client Success Story

Design, Implement, and Support a New DC

Challenge: Consolidate and optimize operations. Solution: Utilize vertical space, create fluid sortation, implement three-level pick modules, and integrate a new WMS.

Client Success Story

Transportation and Distribution Network Analysis

The transportation and distribution analysis helped the global manufacturer streamline operations and significantly cut costs.

Client Success Story

Supply Chain Transformation

Tompkins solved the client’s significant demand-supply problems by initiating a complete global supply chain transformation from demand planning through supply management.


Cycle Counting Beats Physical Inventory Count, Hands Down

For those of you who still shut down your facility once or twice a year to review inventory, I have to ask why. With cycle counting, there is no need for such disruption. The best way to ensure inventory accuracy is to continually count your products – part of your inventory every day and each…


Sizing It Up: How Inventory Levels Impact Customer Satisfaction Is Whole New Ballgame

Carry less inventory; make customers happier. It is not that simple, but it is in essence of what many of the most successful companies are doing today. While reading the Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium’s new report, Finished Goods Inventory Management: Presenting Growth & Adaptation Through Metrics, it is very interesting to note that customer satisfaction…


Improved Fill Rates and Increased Sales (While Lowering Costs)? It Can Happen Through Collaborative Distribution

I have asked Bill Loftis, a supply chain and transportation operations expert who recently joined Tompkins International, to talk to us about horizontal collaboration once again. He has conducted a number of development and implementation initiatives for clients involving collaboration for improved distribution and transportation. Take it away, Bill!   In my last post, “Horizontal Collaboration:…

Client Success Story

Restoration Hardware: DC Capacity and Improving Business and Technology Processes

Challenge: Increase capacity and improve business and technology processes. Solution: Develop a long-term strategic plan to improve fulfillment and distribution operation. Procure new facilities, implement better processes, and upgrade technology.

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