InTents October/November 2022 - 44

business | management
The Inventory Obituary
Establishing a time of death and hiring a mortician will
help manage old inventory.
by Jason Bader
O
ne of the most common struggles
all tent and event rental companies
A consistent running
of the inventory
obituary will yield
tremendous bottomline
results.
face is managing their dead and obsolete
inventory. It is one of those back-burner
items that no one wants to bring up
for fear that they will be appointed to
deal with the task. Most people like to
employ the ostrich approach to dead
stock-just stick our head in the sand
and hope it goes away.
Several years ago, my business partner
Scott Stratman wrote an article where
he stated, " Wouldn't it be great if dead
stock would just stink? " As inventory
managers, we have a very dificult time
identifying the moment in time when
a product ceases to be part of our turnand-earn
inventory. Our lives would be
ininitely easier if we would enter the
warehouse on the irst day of the month
and a pungent odor, something akin
to dead ish, would tickle our nostrils.
We would be forced to hunt down the
offending item and eliminate it from
the premises. Unfortunately, most of
our products do not emit an odor when
they perish. Our challenge is to use our
software to make them stink.
When I speak to distributor groups, I
usually pose the question, " If I wanted
to ind the dead stock in your building,
I would ask for one piece of equipment.
What would it be? " Several folks
mention the white glove and a dust
mask. Perhaps, but I would ask for a
ladder or forklift. I'm not sure where we
picked this up, but we tend to move all
the dead stock a little closer to heaven.
44 intents oct-nov 2022
It could just be the old out of sight, out
of mind. In many facilities, there is no
discernable separation between the
dead and the living. Both occupy the
same shelf space.
Establish time of death
To help us identify our dead inventory,
we must deine the moment of death.
I have seen some unusual methods for
deining the point at which an item is
classiied as dead. The rainbow method
comes to mind. During an annual
physical inventory, many distributors
use colored dots to mark the items
that have been counted. When a product
displays stickers from all colors of
the rainbow, it is most certainly dead. I
would not suggest that this is the most
effective deinition. In our practice, we
suggest that distributors choose a moment
in time. When was the product
last sold or rented? The most common
deinition for dead stock is: zero sales
or rentals in the past 12 months. Some
companies will need a shorter window.
The paper goods industry uses a much
shorter three-month window. For most,
12 months is a good place to start. I generally
suggest that companies exercise
caution when going below nine months
due to seasonality issues.
Once a deinition has been created,
everyone in the company must know it.
This is not a time to be secretive. When
I work with a private company, it is a
big red lag when I get several different
answers as to the time of death.

InTents October/November 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of InTents October/November 2022

InTents October/November 2022 - Cover1
InTents October/November 2022 - Cover2
InTents October/November 2022 - 1
InTents October/November 2022 - 2
InTents October/November 2022 - 3
InTents October/November 2022 - 4
InTents October/November 2022 - 5
InTents October/November 2022 - 6
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InTents October/November 2022 - Cover3
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