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Blog March 2022 Updated March 2023

Five Inventory Management Best Practices for Scrap Metal Recyclers

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Conor Dowd Product Marketing Manager

‘’Scrap recycling is an inventory-based business, so the best companies understand all the dimensions of their inventory as it is critical to driving profitability’’ says Mark Valdes-Dapena, scrap industry veteran and Senior Product Consultant at AMCS. 

‘’While purchased scrap remains unsold, it is just tying up valuable working capital and occupying premium yard space. A scrap recycler needs to understand the exact levels of inventory it has, it’s status (raw material, work in progress, finished goods), location and cost valuation. A modern software-based inventory solution makes it possible to have this information available in real-time at your fingertips so you can take smarter decisions.’’.

Despite widespread acceptance of this view, many scrap companies have no automated inventory system or are managing it with a combination of manual, paper and spreadsheet processes. This is inefficient, increasing the likelihood of recording errors leading to poor outcomes in revenue and margin leakage and slow inventory turnover.

Automating your inventory management should be your starting point and these best practices will give you the best chance of success. 

1. Automation, Automation, Automation

Automating all inventory management processes reduces manual error, increases visibility and control 

The challenges of scrap inventory management demand a fully automated and robust solution that has been designed for the specifics of the sector.

The base automation functionality should include:

2. Track scrap inventory through your recycling value chain

Accurate real-time inventory management is now possible using digital technology to track the progress of your inventory from receipt at the scale, initial grading, and inspection, through  processing and into finished goods. This tracking is made possible through use of barcodes and digital mobile applications

These solutions make it possible to track and audit all transfers, re-grades and transfers into finished goods that are available for sale. The result of this is being able to locate your stored scrap easily when a buyer wants it, or you want to process it.

Download the Mobile Workforce brochure below to learn more.

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3. Use Analytics to get valuable insights into your inventory and its valuation 

‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’ – Peter Drucker

Business Intelligence tools and standard inventory reports can provide you with detailed insights into accurate inventory position and valuations, re-grades and transfers as well as finished goods.

These insights are invaluable for all your purchase, sales, and operations teams.

It gives you knowledge of what affects your cost build up and margin including assessment of margin rates when prices are rising or falling. This means you can recognize times when margin might suffer and make adjustments that benefits your revenue.

Reporting tools also help you understand your inventory levels, enabling you to analyze seasonal trends and impacts on levels. This helps you make decisions on when you might need to buy or sell to optimize your inventory.

You can also get data on your suppliers and customers, including those who are most profitable to buy from and sell to. This gives you hard data to analyze and adjust sales and purchasing strategies.

Download the Analytics brochure below to learn more.

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4. Embed inventory management best practices across your recycling chain

Inventory management is critical to all scrap recycling functions but particularly purchase, production, and sales functions. 

Accurate inventory records will allow you to understand in detail what has been purchased, from whom, for how much and at which yard locations.

A comprehensive automated inventory system will also allow you to record the costs (both landed and production costs) to arrive at the cost of the finished goods which informs your pricing and margin strategy for sales.

It will provide you with robust processes to transfer materials across yards, re-grade classifications and put them into finished goods. Finally, a complete understanding of available finished goods for sale will allow you to accelerate turnover of inventory and streamline your sales and outbound shipment processes. 

5. Carry out regular cycle counts

Regular and scheduled cycle counts will ensure that your inventory counts are accurate and up to date. It will also   pinpoint any areas for improvement in your inventory management processes.

Cycle counting can be readily facilitated using digital mobile applications designed for this purpose. 

Download the Mobile Workforce brochure below to learn more.

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Understanding all dimensions of your inventory, performing regular cycle counts, using automation and the most advanced analytics tools will give you full visibility and control of your inventory and all connected business processes. However, this can only be realized with a fully integrated inventory management system forming part of your enterprise management solution. 

The AMCS Platform for Metal is an enterprise-grade cloud software platform designed to automate and optimize all the processes of a scrap recycling company including, dispatch purchases, compliance, scales, grading production, inventory management, sales, brokerage and outbound logistics. 

Please come and visit us at Booth #901 at the 2022 ISRI conference in Vegas on the 21st-24th of March – book an appointment with us here.

Download the AMCS Platform for Metal Recycling below to learn more.

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To learn more about the AMCS Platform for Metal, please click here

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