# INVENTORY MANAGEMENT: ANALYZING INVENTORY TO MAXIMIZE PROFITABILITY

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1 INVENTORY MANAGEMENT: ANALYZING INVENTORY TO MAXIMIZE PROFITABILITY Jon Schreibfeder Effective Inventory Management, Inc. Sponsored by

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5 much emphasis on gross margin? Is it a true measure of corporate profitability? Again, let s look at an example: Market conditions require ABC Distributors to sell Product #A100 for \$25.00 each. The product can be purchased in three quantities: Quantity Cost per Unit Gross Margin 50 \$ % 100 \$ % 250 \$ % Demand for the part is 50 pieces per month. Salespeople pressure the buyer to purchase 250 pieces at a time. They want the 26.0% margin. But will buying 250 pieces at a time maximize the company s net profit? To determine which purchase quantity results in the most profit to the company, we have to compare the discount received at each purchase level to the cost of carrying a larger quantity of the product for a longer period of time. Assume that ABC Distributors annual cost of carrying inventory is 24%, or 2% per month (24% 12 months).* This means that it costs 24 cents to maintain a dollar s worth of inventory in ABC Distributors warehouse for an entire year. What is the cost for carrying each possible purchase quantity for the length of time it takes to sell the entire shipment? First, determine how long it will take to sell the entire quantity and the average quantity you will have on hand during that time period: Purchase Quantity Month s Supply Average Qty on Hand Net Cost per Unit Average On-Hand Value \$20.00 \$ \$19.00 \$ \$18.50 \$2, The average quantity on hand during the time it takes to sell the entire purchase quantity is half the purchase quantity. Why? Because in most cases half the time you ll have more than half the purchase quantity on the shelf, and half the time you ll have less than half the purchase quantity in stock. The cost of carrying each purchase quantity is calculated by multiplying the average on-hand value by the monthly carrying cost by the number of months any part of the shipment will remain in stock: Purchase Quantity Average Inventory Value Carrying Cost per Month Number of Months Supply Cost of Maintaining Shipment 50 \$ % 1 \$ \$ % 2 \$ \$2, % 5 \$ By dividing the cost of maintaining each shipment by the purchase quantity, we can determine the cost of maintaining each piece in inventory. Adding this amount to the net unit cost, we can determine the total cost of buying each piece and maintaining it in inventory before it is sold: Purchase Quantity Cost of Maintaining Shipment Cost of Maintaining Each Piece Net Cost per Unit Total Cost per Unit 50 \$10.00 \$0.20 \$20.00 \$ \$38.00 \$0.38 \$19.00 \$ \$ \$0.93 \$18.50 \$19.43 Notice that due to the high cost of carrying the 250- piece shipment in stock during the time necessary to sell the entire shipment, the 100-piece, or middle, quantity results in the lowest total cost and therefore the highest profitability. Many distributors are surprised to learn that inventory turnover is as important to overall corporate profitability as gross margins. Inventory turnover measures the number of times you sell your average inventory investment each year and is calculated with the equation: Cost of Goods Sold Over the Previous 12 Months Average Inventory Investment Over the Previous 12 Months Another way to express inventory turnover is the number of opportunities you have to earn a profit for every dollar you have invested in inventory. For example, if the total cost of goods sold over the past 12 months is \$10,000 and the average inventory value is \$5,000, the annual inventory turnover is 2.0 (\$10,000 \$5,000). The average value of \$5,000 is sold twice in the past 12 months. If the total sales price of the material is \$13,000, the company earned an annual return of \$3,000 on an average investment of \$5,000. If the company bought small quantities more often and reduced the average inventory investment to \$2,500, it would have earned the same \$3,000 with half the 3

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