There’s a lot that goes into running a successful business. From hiring a productive workforce to balancing the budget, there are an endless number of hats you have to wear in order to keep your company up and running. With so many other tasks to do, it’s easy for some to take the beat seat. One business process that you don’t want to neglect is inventory management.
Effective inventory management is the backbone of any successful business. It not only drives sales and a healthy bottom line, but inventory management also impacts customer satisfaction and brand reputation.
Keep reading to learn about five of the best tips and tricks for successful business inventory management.
- Use Unique Product Identifiers
Every product that you sell needs to be assigned a unique ID number. This can be done using SKU numbers, barcodes, or some other type of product specification that makes it easy to tell products apart from each other.
By taking the time to properly ID each product, it’s much easier to find items, especially in a huge warehouse with hundreds, possibly thousands of different products. SKU and/or barcode numbers should be loaded into your database so that you can properly track an item’s stock quantity. This way, you can easily identify which products need to be reordered or which ones are sitting on the shelf longer than expected.
When creating product specifications, you’ll want to include details such as:
- SKU number
- UPC number (if applicable)
- Product name
Depending on the types of products that you sell, you may also want to list the weight and dimensions. By tracking and managing all of this information in a single location, it’s much easier to keep track of your stock. This is especially helpful when customers ask if a certain product is in stock, when you’re re-ordering stock, and when packaging and shipping items.
- Invest in Quality Inventory Management Software
Inventory management software makes keeping tabs on your stock easier, more convenient, and much less erroneous. Let’s face it; when it comes to inventory management, humans are the weakest link. It’s all too easy to miscount a product or to not conduct stock checks as often as we should.
Miscalculations and mistakes can lead to huge problems, including wasted money on having too much stock of a product that isn’t selling or being out of stock on a product that’s flying off the shelves.
While there are dozens of different inventory management software options to choose from, you want to choose a product that meets your needs. If you want a trusted product that will automate your inventory management while offering a host of other features and benefits, consider using Vend’s inventory management software.
This software makes it easy to manage your product inventory with bulk product imports, product organization, as well as barcodes and labels. Vend’s software also offers real-time metrics, auto-fill orders, inventory counts and control, and stock transfers.
- Don’t Skip Contingency Planning
Inventory management issues can arise at any given time. If you’re not prepared, some of these problems can be crippling. For example, you’ll want to plan for unexpected events such as:
- A spike in sales that causes you to deplete your stock
- Inventory miscalculation
- Slow-moving product that takes up shelf space
- Product being discontinued by the manufacturer
- Cash flow shortfall that leaves you unable to buy re-up on stock
With the right contingency planning, you can be prepared for when problems arise. Take the time to figure out what risks your business is most likely to face and then come up with a plan. It’s always best to be proactive versus reactive.
- Set Par Levels
Inventory management is much easier when you set par levels for each product that you sell. A par level is the minimum amount of product that you need to have on hand at all times in order to meet product demands. By setting par levels, you can easily identify which products are low on stock, which gives you a heads up that it’s time to order more.
While it takes time, research, and upfront decision making to determine par levels, the effort is well worth the benefit. Having par levels makes it easier to make inventory management decisions quickly for you and your staff.
Remember that par levels aren’t set in stone. Every few months you’ll want to re-evaluate levels to make sure that they still make sense for demand and sales numbers.
- Track What & Who
Inventory management is much more than properly maintaining your stock levels to meet consumer demands. Effective inventory management can also provide the information you need in order to better understand your consumers. Using this data you can make smarter business decisions that will benefit you and your customers.
For example, you can track which items are selling the fastest, which customers are making the most purchases, as well as who your repeat customers are. You can also use inventory management data to pinpoint slow months so that you can avoid spending money buying stock that won’t sell.
By rigorously tracking and analyzing this data, you can make better restocking decisions, drive more sales, and save more business dollars.
With effective and efficient inventory management, your business can benefit in so many ways. From ensuring you can always meet consumer demands to being able to make data-driven decisions, there are endless benefits to taking charge of your inventory management.
Be sure to keep these tips and tricks in mind in order to best manage your business inventory.