Implementing an effective inventory management process has been shown to enhance strategic business decisions and improve quality customer service.
It provides businesses with real-time inventory management information that enables businesses to plan deliveries to specific customers and make smart manufacturing decisions. It allows you to make wise choices about your shop’s inventory, so you can reduce waste in the supply chain while also ensuring customer satisfaction.
There are many ways to achieve an effective and efficient inventory system so that business owners can have a comprehensive view of their entire supply chain.
What is inventory management?
Inventory management refers to the techniques, systems, materials, and technologies utilized to keep an organization’s products and inventory on hand and in compliance with various industry policies and regulations.
Inventory control helps maintain the cost-effectiveness of an organization as well as its ability to provide quality goods and services to customers. This in turn helps companies manage the business effectively to attain business growth and profitability.
Inventory management is a complex process that consists of five major elements: planning, purchasing, storage, real-time data processing, and information access:
- The planning function of inventory management involves setting up the entire warehouse environment, such as how the merchandise will be priced, how and where they will be shipped or delivered, how they will be stored once they are in the warehouse, how they will be sorted and packaged.
- Purchasing involves the sourcing and acquisition of the merchandise and the actual cost of the inventory.
- Storage involves how the goods are stored in a warehouse and accessed by warehouse staff.
- Real-time data processing involves how suppliers’ goods are received, measured, and submitted to the company for consumption.
- Information access includes reports about the stocks on hand, product performance reports, benchmark comparisons, sales reports, and other data that may be used to efficiently monitor and control inventory.
Benefits of managing inventory.
If you own a retail business and are finding that you’re constantly short on inventory or having trouble keeping track of your stocks, you should reassess your current system to determine the areas they need improvement. Implementing an effective inventory management process benefits your business in several ways:
- Efficient order fulfillment: Managing your product’s stock levels optimizes your ability to fulfill orders that are received. The right fulfillment solutions minimize customer dissatisfaction and reduce operating costs. If the stock levels of your product increase, you can reduce your costs by streamlining your order-filling and logistics processes. Reducing wrong shipments reduces your costs related to production overruns and defective products.
- Multiple location’s capability: A streamlined inventory management system lets you manage your products at more than one location. The ability to process orders from multiple locations at the same time minimizes missed shipping, reduces logistics costs and delays, and maximizes the ability to provide customers with top-notch service.
- Maintaining quality: The right inventory management solutions ensure that your warehouse is storing the merchandise at the right place, in the right quantity, and on its right date. You can be sure you’re always providing quality goods to your customers which will result in happy, satisfied clients.
- Improved bottom line: Managing your inventory efficiently means that there is sufficient product on hand to satisfy customer orders. It also allows you to keep your prices down, which can help increase sales and result in higher profits for your shop.
5 tips for managing your shop’s inventory.
Inventory management is the art of making sure that you carry enough product that customers want, with neither too much nor too little on hand. Your business can meet consumer demand by keeping stock in good quantities or taking extra supply when demand permits. Learn some valuable tips for managing store inventory so that you can achieve important business goals.
1. Keep track of all inventory.
When it comes to running a business, you need to know how much inventory is on-hand and available for sale. It’s essential to have a good understanding of your inventory to prevent any shortage of stock and minimize waste.
- After you order your inventory, you need to make sure that you keep track of it. Everything should be systematically organized and accounted for.
- Monitoring your inventory allows you to know how much you need and when you should place your next order. You don’t want to place too many orders because this is going to cost you money and take up warehouse space. Instead, you should only order enough inventory to meet your immediate needs and some room for future orders.
2. Record all sales.
To effectively manage your shop inventory, you should keep records of your incoming sales as well as outgoing sales. Sales data is essential in tracking product performance and customer preferences. Sales records will help you determine which goods are gaining in sales and which are not doing so well. Aside from understanding the performance of your products, you’ll also be able to adjust your marketing techniques to improve your sales.
By recording all sales, you’ll be able to accurately determine which items you should order and when they should arrive at your store, ensuring your shop is well-stocked all the time. You’ll also be better able to identify problems with products which you can then solve before they adversely affect your sales. To help you with this task, it would be best to employ a proven supply chain software program.
3. Perform regular audits.
Keeping track of inventory levels involves regular audits, usually done once a month. Not performing monthly or quarterly audits is one of the inventory mistakes that you should avoid.
By having an accurate inventory level, you can be more effective at predicting how your sales are going to be throughout the month and will be able to strategically place orders. Regular audits are also beneficial for your business because they may deter theft and prevent spoilage of goods.
4. Invest in a reliable inventory management software.
Every retail business should have inventory management software to make monitoring and controlling stocks less tedious and complicated. A good inventory management software program will allow you to easily determine how much inventory you should order next, as well as what to do with it once you receive them.
Inventory management solutions have special tools and features that can analyze the relationship between demand and supply, as well as determining the optimum date to place an order, therefore minimizing the risk of supply delays.
Inventory management tools are easy to use. Aside from tracking all incoming and outgoing inventory, you’ll be able to determine the exact status and location of all products. An effective inventory management software package can help your business grow. Some programs include performance reporting and forecasting reports, as well as the ability to link your CRM to your ERP so that you can run them simultaneously.
Also, a good inventory management program will allow users to access and download real-time customer and supplier data, which allows your company to build up better and more accurate customer relationship data. These reports can help you determine who is buying, how satisfied your customers are, and what kind of new products or services you should be offering. The information that a reliable inventory management solution allows you to make smarter business decisions, such as what you should be selling and at what prices.
5. Stay organized.
Setting up an inventory management system may take some time to get used to, but your business will benefit from it in the long run.
One of the goals for inventory management is to keep things organized. The way you store your inventory can also make a big difference in how well your inventory runs. Make sure that you keep your inventory in good condition and that you’re storing it in a way that will not damage any of it. If you need to move some of your inventory around to meet customer demands, be sure to carefully pack and store it. Also, make sure to regularly check in with your warehouse to make sure that everything is being handled as it should be and that nothing is being stored incorrectly. Defective products or incomplete merchandise results in customer complaints and even lost sales.
Many businesses have identified ways to save money by cutting back on certain expenditures through effective inventory management. Make a list of individual products, eliminate the ones that you’re not using or that are not profitable, and consider reducing the size of orders you make for these products.
You also must ensure that you properly stock your warehouse. Doing so can increase the overall efficiency of your business. To do this, you must have an efficient warehouse layout — one that has all of your merchandise easily accessible and where goods are stacked according to their capacity. Having your merchandise sorted and labeled can also significantly increase your productivity. It’s important to keep a good eye on your warehouse to avoid downtime for a problem that can quickly cost you plenty of money.
You must also realize that if you’re serious about managing your inventory, you must hire a reliable fulfillment service provider as well as trustworthy suppliers. When operating a retail business, you should choose your partners carefully since they are also instrumental for the success of your company.
Managing inventory is an essential part of running a business. If you want to effectively run your business, you need to be very organized and effective in your methods of controlling your stocks. Fortunately, there are several software programs available today that make this task easy. These systems can help you improve your merchandise inventories as well as improve your warehouse operations. By following these tips for managing inventory, you can increase profits and decrease the amount of time that you spend monitoring your inventory levels.