Inventory is of constant importance to almost any business. It is necessary for many businesses to determine overall costs, loss, and profit margins. Some companies, especially small businesses, house their inventory away from their actual location in storage facilities operated by third-party vendors. A supply chain consultant is an expert in vendor and inventory management and can assist in the management of the company’s wares.
When inventory and vendor management becomes a problem or simply requires more time than the company wishes to take, the business may turn to a supply chain consultant. The person in the supply chain consultant role will either take over the management and dealings with the vendor or simply advise the business on how to improve the overall process. A consultant often has years of experience in managing multiple vendors, freight cost management for both incoming and outgoing shipments, as well as experience in procurement and price negotiation. These individuals may even be members of nationally recognized organizations in their region, which generally keep them up to date on the latest in supply chain management practices. Often, there are certification courses within these organizations, which are aimed at improving and updating individuals' logistics and supply chain background on a constant basis.
The greatest skill of a supply chain consultant is normally the ability to immediately assess inventory costs and put plans in motion to reduce their impact. This might involve reducing vendors into a select few to increase purchase volumes and using economies of scale to lower purchase prices and freight on incoming and outgoing parts. Many times, these consultants are experts in vendor consolidation and have the credentials to decide which inventory management practice is best suited to the company’s requirements. Supply chain experts typically try to match an inventory management approach that meets the company’s market, industry, customers and its business philosophy. They provide companies with the tools needed to lower their month-to-month carrying charges of inventory.
A supply chain consultant may have a degree in logistics or supply chain management or may simply have enough years experience within logistics and management to be considered an expert in the field. Inventory is usually an extremely important aspect of operational costs for many companies and must be managed with the most cost-efficient method possible in order to see profits. The consultant must have the experience needed to asses the situation and find immediate solutions.