There are many types of arrangements aka vendor contracts you can enter into with your suppliers. If you are looking at employing a partnership philosophy, one to consider is Consignment Buying. What is consignment buying or vendor owned inventory? A definition of vendor owned inventory or vendor managed inventory (VMI) is when a supplier (the company you purchase from) maintains an inventory bank in the buyer’s facility which is under the buyer’s control. The buyer assumes responsibility for perpetual activity or accounting for withdrawals or usage of stock from the consignment inventory, payment for quantities used and notification to the supplier of the need to replenish inventory. Verification of quantities remaining in inventory is jointly done at periodic intervals.
This strategy has advantages for both the supplier and buyer. The buyer benefits by having reduced inventory investment which can free up funds for capital or other investments and the supplier is assured supply or captive volume. This type of partnership arrangement is often used in the distribution industry.
Some of the other benefits the buyer gains is it removes or eliminates the risk of obsolescence. Obsolescence is often overlooked and it is when the inventory no longer meets your requirements and therefore is returned or sold as surplus. Under a consignment arrangement, the Vendor still owns it therefore they assume the risk.
There is a cost associated with tying your vendor into a consignment arrangement. You can be assured that you will be paying more for your inventory vs a spot buy for the same goods but as a business owner you have to weigh the pros and cons and make your decision based on your existing financial and staffing requirements. For some, the opportunity of using your capital elsewhere, eliminating dealing with obsolete stock, managing the inventory surpasses the extra cost incurred or paid for vendor inventory.
What should a consignment contract look like? What should be included? Stay tuned or subscribe to our feed as the next post will answer these questions and provide further insight on sample consignment or vendor managed inventory agreements.