I have made some notes below to assist you with your review. I have captured the key details for Sharp Apparel Pty Ltd (Sharp Apparel), so bear in mind this is not absolutely everything in relation to our expenditure and inventory management processes.
The process is a pretty rigorous one, but I am concerned about the increasing inventory costs. If we are going to grow our business in the coming years, we need to resolve any issues now before we expand.
I look forward to receiving your thoughts on our expenditure and inventory management processes and the introduction of Business Intelligence here at Sharp Apparel.
Good luck with your review.
CEO, Sharp Apparel Pty Ltd
Sharp Apparel is a large, listed company, based here in Australia. We manufacture women’s clothing and sell to retailers in Australia and around the world. A majority of our inventory is sourced here in Australia although a small number of inventory items need to be imported. I notice that our inventory costs have been slowly increasing which concerns me. May this be due to changes in the exchange rate?
Our headquarters and admin offices are located in Brisbane, Queensland. Our processing plant where all of our production, shipping and receiving is conducted is located in northern New South Wales (NSW).
Our manufacturing plant has five (5) department heads who are responsible for all inventory purchases. When they think required inventory is getting low, they raise a purchase requisition (PR), which the system sends through to the purchasing team in our Brisbane office.
The purchase team consist of two (2) full-time and two (2) part-time purchasing clerks (clerk). When a PR is received, it is logged into a queue and actioned by the next available clerk. Upon receiving a PR, the clerk is expected to review the contents of the PR to check that the request details are reasonable and that it has come from one of the department heads. Once they have reviewed the PR, the clerk selects a supplier based on who the items were last ordered from and raises the purchase order (PO).
The system emails the PO to three (3) locations:
At the end of every week, the purchasing team have three (3) oversight functions. They are responsible for:
Sometimes there is an overlap between processes two (2) and three (3), as a supplier may have sent us an invoice before one of the clerks has had a chance to follow up discrepancies between the PO and the receiving report. This only occurs when we are really busy and has only inconvenienced a couple of suppliers.
There should be six (6) people in our receiving team, however, we have only had three (3) receiving officers for the last 18 months. This hasn’t been too much of an issue, although I have noticed that the team have worked a lot of overtime over this period of time.
The receiving department gets a copy of each PO. When inventory is received, a receiving officer matches the items received to the PO in the system. Once a delivery has been matched, the receiving officer submits the details into the system and a receiving report is generated.
Any differences between the inventory received and those on the PO are automatically flagged in the system and followed up at a later date by the purchasing team, as noted above.
The inventory received is then stored in the warehouse until required in production.
The warehouse team are very efficient and effective. They never take leave and have the warehouse running like clockwork. All inventory is stored based on the manufacturing process it belongs to. If there are any discrepancies, they notify the department heads immediately so more inventory can be ordered if necessary.
When a tax invoice is received from a vendor, the accounts payable team (AP) match it to the PO and receiving report. Where there is a match the invoice is included in the appropriate payment run and paid via electronic transfer prior to its due date. Where there is a discrepancy, the AP clerk flags this in the system which is later followed up by the purchasing clerks, as noted above.
All payments runs are reviewed and approved by the AP manager before any payments are made. We are really strict regarding this as I have read a lot regarding fraud and how frequently it occurs when businesses make cash payments.
The AP manager reviews the amounts paid in each payment run to the supporting documentation prior to approving the payments run. No payments can be made without the approval of the AP manager. When she is on leave, one the AP clerks steps up into this role so we do not miss a payment run.
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