Managing Your Hardwood Lumber Inventory at Year-End

For any company that either sells hardwood lumber or uses hardwood lumber in their production, inventory management is probably not high on the list of exciting tasks. However, it is a crucial aspect of normal business operations.

Inventory ManagementAs we approach the end of the calendar year many of our customers are taking a close look at their end-of-year hardwood inventory level. They know they need to strike a balance between the inventory they need to fulfill the orders they currently have on file and to also have enough extra inventory on hand to start the new year properly as this year comes to a close. Because everyone knows that if their estimates are off their business could become challenging. No one really wants to be stuck with excess inventory that needs to be accounted for at year-end or tie up valuable warehouse space, and man-hours moving things around during the holiday season among other things.

As a trusted hardwood advisor to our customers, we work hand in hand with them to help them bypass these types of avoidable issues with their hardwood lumber inventory. For example, here are a few areas we try to help our customers with to better manage their year-end inventory. Maybe some of these will be helpful to you as well.

Active Ordering. Order Smart. This principle is essential when looking to manage year-end inventory. First, you will want to think about inventory replenishment. The more specific your order, the better your chances it will not sit in inventory long term. Working with a trusted supplier that offers a wide range of species, both domestic and imported that can be delivered in mixed loads really makes this aspect of inventory management a lot easier. It is common for us to build mixed load shipments of hardwood species for our customers. From Red Oak, White Oak, or Hard Maple to even some tropical hardwood species like Sapele and Genuine Mahogany we regularly have customers request a combination of specific thicknesses, width sorts, and lengths. Especially at year-end!

Analyze your past sales data. Looking over data compiled from your previous year’s sales data can serve as a useful reference for you as you plan your ordering activities. While every year is a little different, it can be beneficial to look for sales trends that are likely to repeat before the end of the year and use this data in your inventory management plan for the end of 2021 and beyond.

Streamline Processes.  Increasing efficiencies where possible is always a good idea. The inventory management process may also be a good time to closely review your entire inventory process throughout the year. Take a look at all aspects, from filling orders to tracking, packing, and shipping your goods. Are there areas where you can eliminate costly inefficiencies? Speed up the pace of tracking inventory and shipping products? Anywhere you find that you are falling short, there is a plethora of online, integrated systems available to manage this process more efficiently and effectively.

Develop an Integrated Inventory Management Plan.  Inventory management is a continuous process. Not something that begins and ends in the warehouse. You’re likely to see better results if you integrate inventory management with your company’s year-round marketing and sales plans. This can be more challenging than ever these days. With all the trucking and supply chain issues the industry has been experiencing of late we have found this to be one of the top areas of focus for our customers.

Our experienced and professional team works tirelessly to help our customers improve their end-of-year inventory management. How can we help you? We feel our unmatched supply and industry expertise, together with our passion to serve, can ensure you access to the right hardwoods at the right price and time!

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you with all your hardwood lumber needs.

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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