Visiting an installer's main warehouse a couple of years ago, I noticed boxes of inverters, coated with dust, and relegated to the back corner of their sizeable warehouse. They were inverters, two years old, and becoming less valuable by the day. “We stocked up for a big job, then the permitting got delayed and by the time we were ready to install, the customer wanted the latest technology. We’re stuck with them and we’d really rather not install them as the newer models are more reliable, but it’s tying up a stack of cash so we need to move them.”
The installer tried to make a sensible choice, but by buying too soon, they ended up with an inventory albatross. Inventory management is a balancing act: too little and you have a crew unable to work productively, too much and you tie up cash in inventory that may lose value before it is used.
The benefit of savvy inventory control is that you not only avoid being stuck with depreciating assets to free up more cash, but that you also may be able to streamline your operations enough to cut back on expensive warehouse space. Add to that the benefits of being able to find what you need, when you need it, and it’s a clear win-win.
The next chapter of the Solar Survival Guide draws on Japanese “Just in Time” management tools, best practices shared by installers, and trends observed by distributors to give you tips and tricks for managing the balancing act like a pro. Download the next chapter and kiss those dust-covered boxes goodbye.