Paper or Plastic

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Long Line of Explanations

It is common to hear “paper or plastic” options at the grocery store. When purchas­ing human anatomy posters from ClinicalPosters, you similarly see options for Heavy Paper or Hygienic Lamination. Why does paper always appear to be on backorder?

This website is built upon the Shopify platform. Outstanding as it is, Shopify shares the same “flaw” as most e-commerce solutions: Inventory management requires physical products. They can be either in-stock or backordered unless inventory management is disabled for specific products. This does not sound like a flaw until you apply it to the poster options at ClinicalPosters. Skip to summary.

Managing Inventory

Posters are delicate items that may damage easily during handling and shipping. With premium packing techniques, Clinical­Posters strives to deliver the most damage-free posters in the industry. Most competitors have not mastered this art.

The labor to sort, file claims, return, and reship is not really worth the small profit margin for unlaminated paper posters. Storing stacks of laminated posters with grommets proves problematic. The metal rings (grommets) leave impressions on adjacent posters when stacked. Grommets also snag and bend corners.

Paper posters are lighter and easier to stack. ClinicalPosters stores unlaminated posters in-house within plastic bags inside of boxes to protect against humidity. Premium finishing options are applied during order fulfillment. The amount of merchandise on hand depends upon what is likely to ship within a reasonable length of time. So there are occasions when additional posters need to be transferred from manufacturers to fulfill orders.

Poster Finishing Options
  1. Heavy paper
  2. Hygienic lamination
  3. Laminated with 2 grommets
  4. Laminated with 4 grommets
  5. Laminated with Black Pocket Frame
  6. Laminated with Silver Pocket Frame
  7. Laminated with Black Flip Frame
  8. Laminated with Silver Flip Frame
  9. Paper with Black Pocket Frame
  10. Paper with Silver Pocket Frame
  11. Paper with Black Flip Frame
  12. Paper with Silver Flip Frame

For the inventory system to work with all these options, in-stock posters need to be divided by 12. Hence, 24 items become 2 of each. But what if someone wants to order 10 posters? There are enough in stock but the system would indicate 8 are backordered. As stock is moved back and forth, inventory quantities are manually adjusted. This defeats the purpose of an automated inventory management system.

Fortunately, software has been installed to automatically manage inventoried products like frames. Grommets and lamination are not precise enough to track so they have infinite quantities. Now, variations 3 through 12 are no longer an issue.

Line For Two Items or Less

This brings us to the last remaining options: paper or plastic. Rather than divide inventory in half, all inventory is counted as laminate. (Either way requires manual stock adjust­ments.) This allows customers to access the full amount of posters in stock. For easily replenish­able products, customers can order beyond what is in stock.

Your eyes probably glazed over somewhere above. Suffice it to say, it is easier to track laminated quantities and adjust inventory for paper. Lamination is better than paper because germs can be wiped clean, so this is what we most often ship to customers.

By ClinicalPosters Staff

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