Do you feel like you’ve learned a lot about how to manage your school nutrition operation’s inventory over the past several weeks? We’ve covered so many facets of inventory management (Need a refresher? Click here for a list of all inventory related posts) that I wouldn’t blame you for getting a little glossy eyed at this point!
Don’t worry – this week’s post is a good one. In fact, I’d say it’s the most important yet! Today, I’m covering all the checks and balances you should have within your operation to make sure that all the money you have tied up in assets ends up in its proper locations. You want to ensure that your financial investment has the capability to create positive returns for your district.

Reconciliation Process

Throughout the entire warehouse ordering, receiving, and delivery process, a series of checks and balances must be in place to ensure that all items arrive at their intended destinations. The post-delivery reconciliation process acts as one of those checks and balances. A reconciliation process ensures that all items picked for a site actually leave the warehouse and are delivered to that site.
Other situations that might require a post-delivery reconciliation adjustment include when a site rejects a product and sends it back to the warehouse (it does happen, believe it or not!), or when a product is dropped or severely damaged during transport and delivery to the point where the product (and it’s asset monies) are now wasted. Through use of the reconciliation process, the warehouse ensures that it is keeping accurate perpetual inventory records of its goods, thereby making future incoming orders simpler to fill.

Secondary Aspects of Distribution

Yahoo! We’ve made it through the entire warehouse inventory process – from ordering to distribution. Before we say goodbye for this week, I wanted to bring up a few processes that will occur sporadically throughout the distribution process.

Bin Replenishment

Earlier I discussed picking bins and how they are used in the warehouse. Something to remember is that they always must remain stocked with product to be effective. That is where the bin replenishment process comes into play. Bin replenishment moves products from bins on higher shelves or in back rooms to the picking bin area, so these items can now be distributed to school locations. The replenishment process, which should be done on slow days if possible, allows the picking process to go more quickly and smoothly.

Hotshot Deliveries

Quick and smooth distributions are great… when you can get them, but inevitably emergencies are going to arise. For example, say a school needs several more cases of a product to finish a serving session, because some of their planned food burned during cooking. A “hotshot” delivery from the warehouse fulfills that school’s need. While hotshot deliveries should be avoided, they are a necessary event to be prepared for in a central warehouse.
Thanks for taking this walk through inventory management with me these past several weeks! Next week, we’re looking at a topic that could make or break how efficiently your warehouse operation runs. You won’t want to miss it. See you then!