Inventory planners and managers today find themselves engaged in a delicate balancing act. On one hand, they strive at all costs to stay competitive in a marketplace that continues to demand more customized products and faster delivery services. On the other hand, they are still obliged to keep the actual cost of maintaining such complex inventory down to a minimum. Despite the dilemma, however, companies that apply best practices know firsthand how an efficient inventory management system can transform a business. Some have even reported improvements of up to 90 percent in throughput times and defect levels.
There are two main goals that companies with leading practices strive to achieve in the warehousing process: to provide value-added services such as product customization and to move those products through the warehouse into the hands of the consumers as quickly as possible. Companies that achieve these goals follow the leading practices discussed below.
Total quality management requires commitment and persistence. Quality will always have a cost, but many companies are demonstrating that investments in quality always provide returns. Cost-of-quality reporting essentially views costs of quality as "good" costs and "poor" costs. The "good" costs are those incurred by the company in delivering customer satisfaction. The "poor" costs arise from:
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