Inventory management is an essential part of doing business, whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a mom-and-pop shop. It will come as no surprise, however, that the majority of small and medium-sized businesses don’t operate best practices when it comes to their inventory. To say that current practices are on the sloppy side would be polite.
Many businesses fall into the trap of overstocking items, just in case there is a sudden glut of demand on the market. The problem with this is that it worsens the condition of the balance sheet while at the same time, forcing you to increase the space that you dedicate to storing stock. Overall, it pushes up your costs and makes your firm less competitive.
In this article, we’re going to investigate how you can get inventive with inventory. So, let’s take a look.
Get A Third Party To Track Stock
If you run a small business, then the chances are that you don’t have the time or resources to develop your own stock tracking system, allowing you to see what you’ve got in stock and what’s on order at any given moment. The good news, however, is that you don’t need to do any of this yourself: it can all be overseen by a third party.
Take dental practices, for instance. Many track dental purchases using a third-party system rather than attempting to do it themselves. Not only does this help bring down costs, but it also improves the patient experience. Customers no longer have to worry about not getting the items that they need. It’s all automated, reducing the chance of error.
Be Consistent With How You Manage Incoming Inventory
Large businesses make sure that the way that they manage incoming inventory is the same every time to avoid things like shrinkage and double counting. But small companies don’t operate at the same level of rigor. Often each individual in the firm has their own way of receiving new inventory, creating tracking issues. It’s a good idea, therefore, to develop a standard system with your staff so that each person in your organization knows how they should receive stock in the future. Doing this will help you verify that you’ve received the right items, saving you money in the long-term.
Update Inventory Totals Daily
It might seem basic, but many small businesses don’t update their inventories at the end of the working day. This is a problem. If you don’t track sales, then you won’t know what’s sold and what needs to be ordered in larger quantities. Tracking sales allows you to see seasonal variations in demand, as well as day-to-day demand fluctuations which could help you better manage stock overall.
Conduct An Inventory Audit
Do you know what’s in your inventory? Or have you just been guessing for the last few months since you last took stock?
Many successful businesses audit their inventory on a daily or weekly basis. Not only does this allow you to match up the real levels of your stock to what you think you have, but it also shows you which products are your most popular.