Tom Loveitt, Design/Sales, Canfield Systems, submitted what is surely the oldest piece of gear for our very first Oldest Gear contest, in which integrators scoured the backs of their shelves to find the product that’s collected the most dust. He says it’s been sitting on Canfield’s shelves since well before he joined the company in the early 90s.
“The best that I can figure is this product was one of Telex‘s early forays into assistive listening. These days, we do assistive listening systems either with RF distribution or infrared distribution. This was, of course, none of those — and is inviting folks to strap these clamshells onto their head and plug the feed cable into an existing outlet. It’s more like a set of headphones than anything else. I have never seen it installed anywhere.”
But, Loveitt says, I’ve noticed it on the shelf since I came to work with this company in the early 90s.
In this episode of the CE Pro podcast, we’ll hear from Loveitt about what this product does — but we’re also using this as a good excuse to discuss something we fear many integration companies would rather put off: inventory management.
For that, we got TigerPaw Software on the line.
James Foxall, CEO of TigerPaw, says that inventory management problems don’t have to be so serious for most integration companies, regardless of their size.
“It’s critical from a cost perspective and a time perspective — buying something that you never sell is a problem, and buying something that you’ve already got is also a problem.
“But you also have time issues when you need to fulfill an order or an install for a client, and you’re waiting on an item that because you don’t have it in stock, because you don’t have a smart enough system to anticipate that. Or maybe you thought you had one and it’s gone, whether that was from shrinkage, or you used it on a job.”
How Much Inventory at One Time?
“Just in time is a viable option for a lot of items, but not everything,” Foxall says.
“There are those items that you know when they fail at a customer location, you need to have one available. It’s going to be unacceptable to tell your client you know High Net Worth client that, you know, it’s gonna take me three weeks to replace that thing.
“My feeling is not so much the dollar amounts, it’s a blend of what can I get easily, quickly, and cheaply. And what are the items that are much more important and much more critical that when I’m ready to go, and I got a client who wants to give me money? I can’t wait three or four weeks for that I sell regularly.”
We’ll hear more on that from Foxall in the pod, as well as some of the most common mistakes he sees firms make when it comes to managing their inventory.