Tender information for outsourcing inventory
The development of company specialisation and concentrating on a main activity is increasingly common in company business management. Inventory, as momentin’s main activity, is increasingly outsourced by commercial, logistics, and production companies in Hungary, as well.
The task after making the decision is the responsibility of the procurement team: they have to prepare the right call for tenders.
This is generally a new form of challenge, and in absence of experience and professional information, many companies grope in the dark for the data, parameters, and information necessary for exactly defining the task specified in the tender.
Momentin has had the opportunity to participate in a number of tenders recently, and we would like to share our experiences with our readers. The inventory does not necessarily require a thorough familiarity with the products in question, though it is essential to define a number of factors that are necessary to “just” count them. Accordingly, we have gathered the most important data and information that should be specified when announcing an inventory tender and classified them into four groups:
The tender should define the inventory process and method. It may happen that from a professional perspective, it is not the method requested in the tender that is justified, but using the “apples to apples” principle is definitely an advantage for comparing offers.
The frequency of performing inventory activities, and the stability of cooperation. It is always good if the tenderer sees that there is a potential for long-term cooperation in the implementation of the project, especially if its plannable, as that may lead to a partnership form of cooperation.
Specifying the inventory time preference
- On weekdays or weekends
- During the day or at night
- During opening hours/operations or during sterile closing hours
If an evaluation is required, a description of its desired process. What format are the comparative data available in, what level of evaluation is required (inventory differences at the item level or the identification of the reason), etc.
If the goal is merely objectivity but the recording processes are the same, it may be important to know how many workers performed the inventory for how many hours before, and how many people can work effectively in the given area without getting in each other’s way.
- Use a few examples to provide an exact picture of the products to be inventoried (the number, weight, length, volume, extreme dimensions, etc. of the products)
- The variety of the products to be inventoried (the number of types of items) and the number of items (to be counted): the best solution is if the customer provides a table with items and numbers, which shows whether there is a lot of certain products or whether there are similar quantities of a lot of different products
- The identifiability of the products (item number written with marker, printed item number on a standard sticker, EAN code, code128, Data matrix (2 dimensional “barcode”), RFID tag, etc.) It is important to allow the inventory service provider to calculate with the technology to be used.
- The structure of the current product records (item-level inventory information for the sales area or warehouse, storage location-level inventory information, electronic or paper-based, etc.)
- The size of the area to be inventoried (square metres, highest storage height of products to be inventoried, number of storage levels [if not reachable by hand])
- Inventory conditions (temperature, humidity, outdoor/indoor, lighting, internet, access to electricity, etc.)
- The number and addresses of inventory location (at least the city)
- Whether the order of inventory the various locations is important/random, extraordinary inventory (the customer should not even know about it)
- The number and type of handling equipment provided
- Whether the inventory has to be performed using the IT infrastructure provided by the customer (software, mobile data collectors) or will the inventory service provider be providing those
- It is recommended to provide a possibility for personal inspection or a test run (depending on the specificities of the project) before submitting an offer
In possession of the information grouped above, we can prepare a task description that is precisely defined, resulting in a win-win situation that avoids unnecessary rounds of consultations over the phone and by email. Every inventory service provider that provides an offer in a responsible way has to ask these questions, so collecting the data is just a matter of timing. It is better for the announcer of the tender to be prepared than to seem inexperienced. We don’t guarantee that more questions won’t arise if you announce a tender after thinking it through based on the above, but we guarantee there will be less. Now let’s go inventory!
By: Eszter Puskás & András Takács