Inventory management for irrigation dealers is critical for dealer success. Key components include presentation, organization, safety, customer service, and communication. These components allow Irrigation Design and Construction (IDC) to provide services and materials to support the growth of farmers and businesses in various locations.
Presentation and organization in the warehouse are essential daily tasks for the warehouse manager and other IDC employees. When a warehouse is well organized, you can physically see what items you are looking for and find a part in the same space every time you visit the warehouse. It is important items are labeled to ensure anyone can identify them and assure the item is what the customer wants. This also allows IDC retail employees and IDC employees from other locations to identify an item for internal identification, such as pulling orders and counting inventory.
Planning for farming seasons includes ordering supplies and material ahead of time to ensure item availability to your customers. You will want to stock up on certain items such as drip tape, lay flat, tape couplers for the vegetable season. You will want to order these items with at least a month and a half of anticipation because of the lead times.
For the strawberry season, you will want to order drip tape, mulch, pipe, pipe fittings, and oval hose with at least three weeks of anticipation. For greenhouses, you will want to have plenty of poly tubing, emitters, air poly hose, schedule 80 fittings, and pipe, as well as stake manifold assemblies available year-round.
Some vendors will have these items readily available, while it may take you longer with others. Today, all these items are taking longer to reach our stores due to the global resin shortages.
Communication is a crucial factor when managing inventory. Maintaining effective communication with employees, customers, vendors, and sales managers is essential. With employees and customers, you want to establish a relationship by learning their names and getting to know them on a personal level. This will encourage returning customers to communicate what material they need that day and what material they may need in the future. After installing the same item but from different vendors, customers will let you know whether they preferred items from vendor A or vendor B. This is key because you want to keep those items available and stocked during the “in season” period for when they will be utilizing them. With vendors, communication is focused on when materials are arriving, any shortages of material they may have, and any sales, special pricing, or promotions. With sales managers, communication focuses on the projects they are currently working on and future projects, and any material that may need to be delivered to a job site. Knowing these things will give you insight into what materials you have enough of and what materials will be required in the future.
Overall inventory management is key in continuing irrigation services to help farmers grow and feed the world. By maintaining an organized and well-stocked warehouse, you will make it easy for employees and customers to identify and shop for needed items. Planning for different farming seasons will allow you to have items and supplies readily available, which will help keep your customers happy. Maintaining effective communication with employees, customers, vendors, and sales managers will ensure everyone has the items they need.