The means to store and manage stock data can be physical (hard) or electronic (digital). According to the needs, both means can be combined and used complementarilyto compliment each other. In case of using both systems simultaneously it is highly recommended to keep one of it as “master a“master file”, and the other as back-up.
Digital records, similarly to physical archiving, must be kept under certain order and logic. Folders and files related to inventory management should follow an agreed standard in terms of name and location, enabling the search for a specific file or group of files. Furthermore, the people accessing the data and the how they use they made of it must also be convened and controlled.
As preliminary step, a consistent, unique and well-organized set of descriptions for the per inventory function should be designed and agreed, including: covered geography, relevant stakeholders, locations, type of stored items, etc. Critical elements to be identified through codes should be outlined. Avoid over-coding: not all the fields above mentioned are always relevant to be coded.
Used labels Labels and codes should be easy to read and unambiguous. Harmonization , and harmonization with other departments and other supply chain units within the organization or key partners should be contemplated. Finance An agency's finance department may be a key collaborator in this task.
The use of codes should be central to inventory management; therefore , specific mention to it , should be included in inventory management procedures. In addition, the staff should be trained to know and how to follow them, making consistent the way inventory is handled and records are kept consistent.
Inventory management can be central for timely implementation of humanitarian relief operations. For a successful and valuable stock keeping, inventory activities must be synchronized with other activities from stakeholders external to the storage facility: suppliers, transporters, clients, other departments, etc. Key information must be regularly gathered and delivered from and to relevant stakeholders.
Inventory management should support the ordering process, providing information on stocks levels, expiry dates, consumptions rates, etc. Monitoring past consumptions consumption can help to estimate future needs.A close
follow up of transit Transit inventories should also be granted, closely followed. This can be done by gathering information from suppliers or supply chain managers on the current status of local, national and international orders. This will allow preparing the planners to properly prepare a given storage facility for shipment reception or to alert clients on the imminent delivery of a pending request or a Backback-orderorder.
Whenever possible, coordination should also help to anticipate intensive use of the inventory (i.e., during emergency responses, distribution periods, etc.). In such situations, extra resources such as increased labor or extended working hours should be made available.
Potential spikes or steady increases or reductions of demand should also be prevented. Operational information such as new activities, an increase in the number of people in need or access restrictions to deliver in a certain area, are critical in this sense and can help to prevent situations of stockstock-out or over-stockouts or over ordering.
Data from inventory management can also serve to quantitatively monitor quantitatively the delivery of relief operationssupplies. Increased or decreased demand patterns in relation contrasted with expected consumption can provide information on the humanitarian situation or outline changes in the management of a particular activity.
Coordination should especially be granted during start and closure of beginning or ending of projects. Particular donor requirements related to stock keeping must be communicated, with especial attention to specific reporting mechanisms and dealing with remaining stock.