One of the benefits of using a managed services provider for non-garment items (items like shop towels, bar wipes, etc.) is inventory management. Vendor managed inventory has proven to be a good approach to ensuring appropriate stock levels. But when it comes to a uniform rental program, unique issues surface that may or may not be apparent. Modern inventory management techniques are generally not utilized by service providers in determining the best inventory levels for each point of consumption. For the most part – providers assess inventory at aggregated levels. The problem with this approach is that it prevents you from running as lean as possible. You’re taking on unnecessary cost.
This is not a simple issue to resolve and requires a minimum of data; unfortunately, most customers do not have readily available data – it’s most likely just on a paper invoice somewhere. Additionally, it’s not likely that your provider can give you the right type of data that would help you solve the problem. In order to make a good decision, you’ll need robust data and a sound forecasting method. Can your provider give you those? In a real, meaningful way?
Unirithm understands the complexities of inventory management in the uniform rental industry. We have designed algorithms to help customers manage millions of dollars worth of inventory across thousands of locations and tens of thousands of points of consumption. Does it make sense to use generalities and guesstimates to manage inventories just because the necessary toolkit is absent? Unirithm’s strategy is to remove the guess work and use data to get to the best decision. You could continue allowing your provider to “manage” your inventories, but why do that when there’s a better way?