Inventory Insights 5: Use Advanced Shipping Notices to Solve Pain Points

Brought to you by… Eternity Wireless

One new feature that has helped ease several pain points created by today’s complexities of inventory management is the increased use of advanced shipping notices.

After making a purchase order of 10 phones, for example, the advanced shipping notice is a communication from the vendor that tells you in advance exactly which 10 phones are being allocated to you. This notice is linked to the original purchase order and, when the order arrives, the retailer can see exactly which phones they were supposed to receive. And if shipping efficiencies call for a larger delivery of, say, 100 phones, the retailer can see which specific 10 phones they are supposed to take out of that shipment, while the others are transferred on to other stores.

James Ingold, Product Owner — Inventory at iQmetrix, said, We are using advanced shipping notices more and more… It offers additional security, so that associates can’t scan in a random IMEI that doesn’t apply to a real product, and then pocket a phone. It also brings a new level of inventory reconciliation that we haven’t seen before, where the records accurately reflect how much money I’ve expended and exactly what I’ve gotten for it — there’s a symmetry.”

He added, It’s really important to fully understand how a product goes from a supplier right through to the customer who gets it in their hands — where something has come from, where it ends up, and where it was in between.”

Combatting Product Theft

Advanced shipping notices are just one of the ways that inventory management can help reduce fraud and theft in telecom retail. It’s essential to have an efficient inventory management system, including blind counts and surprise audits. Another tip is to open boxes during inventory counts to ensure the phone is in the box — it can often look like you have an item when you only have its packaging.

Jared Ellis, Sales Engineering Lead at iQmetrix, said,​“You have to count all your phones and accessories however often, and scan them all in. But if there is a variance, have a manager come and check it. Plus it’s important to have random counts. If you’re always counting these high-end phones on a Thursday, then people start thinking about when they can commit fraud. Added to that, you should have external audits, for example by a district manager, who you don’t know when they’re going to show up.”

Serialization (more on this in Inventory Insights edition #1) also gives retailers a powerful tool for combating theft and other forms of fraud. Retailers can maintain a record not only of where the item is at any given point — received, in a back room, on the sales floor or sold — but also who has handled the item at each stage. If a product goes missing, the unique identifier makes it easier to determine whether it was broken, misplaced, or stolen. And when employees are aware that each item is identified within a retailer’s inventory system, they may be deterred from even attempting a theft. 

Retailers can supplement the serialization provided by manufacturers with inventory solutions that assign unique identifiers to a wider range of products, including accessories. Assigning serial numbers to high-ticket items (i.e., those priced at $50 or more) also simplifies functions such as store-to-store transfers and re-integration of returned items.

This edition of Inventory Insights was brought to you by…

Eternity Wireless

Eternity Wireless’ number one goal is to support the success of retailers by being a one-stop-shop resource for superior quality products for cellular accessories. Not only that, but it aims to provide customers with the best service in the industry, so they have what they need to succeed. Retailers can also count on Eternity Wireless for competitive pricing year after year — the company aims to make thriving in the industry achievable for a business of any size.

Eternity Wireless has been a leader in the market for the distribution of OEMs, branded accessories, and aftermarket complementary device products for more than 20 years. It carries a wide range of brand name accessories including Case-Mate, Pelican, Gear4, Ghostek, ItSkins, Prodigee, Speck, Spigen, UAG, TekYa, Zagg, Fortress, Gadget Guard, iFrogz, Blue Parrott, Jabra, Urbanista, Mophie, Scosche, NiteIze, and so many more! Its unbeatable combination of products, expert staff and an extensive range of items means Eternity Wireless can offer exactly what a retailer needs to support the sales of their cellular service.

For more information, go to the Eternity Wireless partner page.