8 Facts About Inventory Control Coordinators

Having food processing facilities run smoothly is no easy task.

Making food products in manufacturing facilities is like just cooking a recipe at home but more complicated. Before you start cooking you have to make sure that you have all the ingredients before you been and they are fresh enough to use. As well you, you have to consider the tools and the amount of space you are in.

All these factors are also considered when you are performing massive production runs at manufactures. For example, if the manufacture is creating cookies they have to make sure they have all the ingredients and actually have a place to store it.

It sounds simple enough, right? Store cold ingredients in the fridge/freezer and when the cookies are done store them at room temperature. That part might easy but actually coordinating that storage is another story. It’s easy to move product when it’s just a phrase on a computer but when you transport the physical product mistakes start to happen.

Managing inventory can be a difficult task, especially when dealing with hundreds of ingredients/products that take up physical space and can be quite heavy. This is why companies hire Inventory Control Coordinators (ICC) as it’s too big of a task for production managers to handle alone.

1. Inventory Control Coordinators manage and optimize Inventory

Inventory Control Coordinators are responsible for:

managing and optimizing inventory levels across multiple food processing facilities. They regularly monitor inventory levels to ensure that production planners have the necessary information to make informed decisions about production schedules, inventory levels, and ordering quantities.

In addition to managing inventory levels, ICCs also oversee warehouse transfers for finished goods. This includes monitoring inventory levels across all warehouses to mitigate shortages and overstock planning. They also work closely with other departments such as production, purchasing, logistics, and sales to ensure that all inventory needs are being met.

ICCs overall ensure that manufacturing facility’s inventory are accurate and up-to-date. They accomplish this through careful monitoring of inventory levels, reviewing inventory trends, and conducting routine physical counts. When discrepancies are found, they work diligently to resolve them and prevent them from happening in the future. This again often requires ICCs to collaborate with other departments and other key stakeholders to identify the root cause of the issue and implement corrective actions.

Overall, inventory control coordinators play a critical role in ensuring that a food manufacturing facility’s inventory is accurate, up-to-date, and well-managed.

2. Inventory Control Coordinators physically count items

You would think that in the modern age of sensors, computers and cameras it would be unnecessary for businesses to send individuals to physically count inventory in warehouses. This might be the case in the future but in today’s age many organizations still require this practice for accuracy.

ICCs regularly count all the ingredients, in-between and finished products in a warehouse and check that it matches computer inventory levels. Counting inventory is the process of physically counting and recording the number of items in stock at a warehouse or processing facility.

Sometimes things fall through the cracks because someone didn’t scan a bar code properly or the product was accidentally placed an item in the wrong location. Physically counting inventory helps to prevent stock outs, overstocking and other issues that can affect business operations.

3. Inventory Control Coordinators solve problems

ICCs do more then just counting stock. For example, let’s say during their routine counting run that the ICC found an entire skid of near expiration eggs. If this product was allowed to go past expiration this would be a large financial loss. It’s up to the ICC to alert production and sales/marketing teams on figuring out what to do with yogurt.

Now that they have alerted these teams it’s time to start an investigation and problem solve how to stop this from happening in the future. There are avenues they might go through to explain where this skid of missing yogurt came from. For example, these might include:

  1. Verifying the count: The inventory controller would double-check the count and that they themselves were not the ones making the mistake.
  2. Checking records: If the skid is present in the factory, it’s possible that it wasn’t properly shipped out on an order. They would coordinate with the shipping department that the item wasn’t missed on an order.
  3. Checking with warehouse staff: It is possible that the warehouse staff accidently listed the product as something that it really wasn’t. They might speak with staff to try to get to the bottom of things.

Mistakes happen however and a one off discrepancy is okay. However, issues arise when it becomes an ongoing problem. Therefore, it is up to the ICC to determine problem quickly as this provides more time to figuring out a solution!

4. Inventory Control Coordinators generally have degrees in business and supply chain management

Becoming an Inventory Control Coordinator requires different levels of education depending on the size and complexity of the organization. Generally, a college or bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, logistics, supply chain is required to become and ICC. For this role it is beneficial if the candidate has at least some experience in working in warehouses provides useful knowledge for this field.

However, some organizations may not require a post-secondary degree and only require a high school diploma, as long as candidates have demonstrated work experience at a manufacturing facility. Ultimately, the educational and experience requirements for Inventory Control Coordinators vary based on the organization’s specific needs and the complexity of the job duties.

5. Inventory Control Coordinators work with multiple departments

Like many roles in a manufacturing facility ICCs collaborate with different departments. For example, they collaborate with the production department to ensure that there is enough inventory to meet production needs. By communicating inventory shortages or surpluses to production planners better informed decisions on what manufacturing facilities will be produced can be achieved.  

Additionally, they work closely with the purchasing department to maintain accurate inventory levels and ensure that there are enough materials on hand. ICCs collaborate with the quality control department to ensure that products meet quality standards and are disposed of in accordance with regulatory requirements. Another department includes the sales and marketing department also works with the ICC to ensure that inventory levels meet customer demands and to plan for future sales.

6. Inventory Control Coordinators assist with product movements

Food manufacturing facilities are only of a certain size, and if they are producing a lot of products at one time, they may not necessarily be able to keep everything on their main site. Instead, they may keep items at other warehouses or secondary facilities. Therefore, inventory control coordinators are responsible for managing warehouse transfers for finished goods.

Inventory control coordinators regularly monitor finished goods inventory levels across all warehouses to mitigate shortages and plan for overstocks. They also help staff to determine and improve their processes, training them to properly move items and assisting with operational Standard Operating Procedures where necessary.

7. Inventory Control Coordinators support production reviews

Food products in a facility can often expire due to slow usage or neglect, but inventory control coordinators aim to minimize waste and ensure sufficient ingredient supply for production.

One strategy they use to help achieve these goals is by reviewing inventory trends. Trends are identified by metrics such as:

1. Inventory turns: How efficiently a company is managing it’s inventory
2. Aged Inventory: Aged inventory is inventory that has been sitting in a warehouse or on store shelves for an extended period of time.
3. Excess Inventory: Inventory that company holds beyond what is needed to meet the current demand. It is effects by factors such as overproduction, inaccurate demand forecasting and changes in customer demand.

These metrics inform production planners, allowing them to make informed decisions about schedules, inventory levels, and ordering quantities. Based on these factors, products may be discontinued or prioritized differently. By optimizing inventory management, efficiency can be improved, reducing waste and maximizing resources.

8. Inventory Control Coordinators are strategic, adaptable and are systems thinkers

As with any occupation, there are certain sets of skills which will aid you better than others. For a Inventory Control Coordinator, these skills include:

  1. Strategic Thinking– Inventory Control Coordinator need to have a strong sense of judgement when it comes to carrying out their work. They need to be decisive because going back on a decision can be a costly mistake. Overall, their goal is to optimize inventory levels for production while minimizing costs and meeting customer demand.
  2. Systems Thinking – Manufacturing facilities are large systems where a small change make huge changes down the line. Inventory Control Coordinator need to have a deep understanding of inventory management systems and how they work with one another. They know how to integrate digital tools with the physical world.
  3. Adaptability – Inventory Control Coordinator need to be adaptable to the rhythms and pulse of food manufacturing facilities. Things can change on the dime so Inventory Control Coordinator need to be able to adapt to changes in production schedules and other aspects of the supply chain. Using their experience and expert knowledge they can avoid make decisions quickly to avoid delays in production and shipping.

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