Zero Inventory is a process set-up in a business where the firm maintains a very low amount of inventory or no inventory at all to reduce the possession and storage costs.
This also facilitates the business to enjoy more liquidity which will help in the expansion.
It acts as one of the goals of the just-in-time inventory management system and in fact, both the terms are used interchangeably.
Zero inventory advantages
- The firm can enjoy the reduced costs that are wasted in storing the goods and can make use of the same for other business activities. This will help the company to shift the focus to business expansion or extension rather than wasting time on inventory forecasting and scheduling.
- The warehouses where the company stores its inventory and finished goods can be utilized for other purposes or can even be rented out to ensure that the firm is making that extra money with the existing resources. The storage of goods may be outsourced but will not reduce the costs to the company.
Few disadvantages to be taken care of
Zero Inventory has its own set of potential risks. In an unexpected production plan, the firm might be unable to get immediate stock which upsets the whole supply chain management.
The prices quoted by the suppliers in the short-term are generally high and this might add to extra costs to the company.
If there are long-term orders the smooth process of the supply chain ensures that the overall cost of production is borne by the customer which might not be the case in this scenario.
This system is also beneficial to huge companies where they have a regular set of vendors whom they deal with but small businesses might not profit from this as their vendors might change and their production plan is not interpreted and is quite unexpected.
Zero Inventory Example
Flip kart and Amazon are the best examples of zero inventory practicing companies. They are web-based business companies.
They take up the orders from the customer through their website and link that order to the original manufacturer through the online inventory management system and ship the product to the customer. In this way, they avoid physical warehouse and reduce their warehouse cost.
Is the zero Inventory model successful?
Yes, It is a very successful model. It is inexpensive, constructive, and flexible than holding on-hand inventory. Today most business companies and enterprises use technologies to market their product or services.
So these companies operate using a zero inventory model. Generally zero inventory suits industries like fashion, industries that produce more variety of products.
How to achieve zero inventory
To achieve zero inventory, it is necessary to have a proper supply chain management system for the company. The company should have a proper track of raw materials, inventories, and product demand.
Just-in-time inventory is one of the management strategies adopted by companies to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Toyota is the first company who adopted this system. Hence it is also called as Toyota Production System(TPS).
In this system, a company purchases raw materials only when it needs them for production. To achieve just-in-time inventory company needs to have constant production, good quality machinery, well-experienced employees, and genuine supplier.
Below image shows the just-in-time inventory process
Benefits of Just-in-time inventory
- Production runs are short, hence it is easy to stop the production of one product and switch over to the production of another product to meet the customer need
- Helps the company to reduce the cost of raw materials. Because company orders the goods enough for the production of ordered product
- This system fails when the supplier is unable to supply the raw materials in time. This leads to the late delivery of product to the client
Get more definitions about zero inventory and other ERP related terms here.