What Does an Inventory Planner Do?
Any warehouse, factory or even retail stores that stock products in inventory typically employ an inventory planner. The primary responsibilities of the job is to forecast, track and reconcile the inventory of the products or materials that the warehouse, manufacturer or retailer keeps in its stock.
For example, assume the planner works for a manufacturing company. Assume the manufacturer makes leather sandals. The inventory planner first needs to forecast the number of leather sandals it expects to sell on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. Once the planner determines this, he then needs to forecast how much of the materials the manufacturer needs to make to keep the sandals in inventory. These materials include the leather, the rubber soles, the suede insert, thread, embellishments, sewing machines and any other materials the manufacturer needs on hand.
A person in this position is also responsible for tracking the inventory. Again, the tracking may involve the materials to make the product, the product itself or both. For example, an inventory planner for a retail store would not need to forecast or track raw materials like a manufacturer does. A retail store would only be forecasting and tracking how much inventory it has of the finished product.
The inventory planner tracks the materials or products, so that it can reorder the materials or product when it reaches a certain level. This is to ensure that the manufacturer, warehouse or store always has enough material and product on hand to sell to its customers.
Reconciliation is another duty of an inventory planner. As materials get used up and products move in and out of the warehouse, manufacturing plant or retail store, the inventory level changes. The planner periodically checks to ensure that the amount the computer says the company has in stock matches what is actually in inventory. Typically, this requires the inventory planner to manually count the supplies and products that sit on the inventory shelves and match this amount to the amount the computer inventory system says.
When inventory levels reach a level where more materials or products are required, some inventory planners order the materials and products to bring the inventory levels back up to the minimum amount that it keeps on hand. Other planners work with the buyers of the company to let them know which materials or products need to be ordered and inventoried.
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